Pret-a-Reporter

H.D. Buttercup Throws Party for New Downtown HQ

Courtesy of H.D. Buttercup
Evan Cole and wife Lilly Cole.

American Apparel founder Dov Charney, director Edward Berger and actress Nele Mueller-Stoefen feted the unique furniture store's latest installation by H.D. Buttercup CEO Evan Cole and gallerist Michael Fuchs.

Fictional characters are the lifeblood of Hollywood. Few of these imagined beings, however, get their own apartments. Evan Cole, CEO and founder of H.D. Buttercup, has now changed that with the installation of a lush urban pad for the mythic namesake above the brand’s new downtown L.A. headquarters.

An eclectic mix of attendees came out Thursday night to the new location, including Dov Charney, embattled former CEO and founder of American Apparel; director Edward Berger and actress Nele Mueller-Stoefen; chef Ori Menashe of neighboring Bestia; Mozza co-owner and chef Nancy Silverton; artists Zoe Crosher, Susan Philipsz and Eoghan McTigue; and gallerist Michael Fuchs. 

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The collaboration between Cole and Fuchs began when the two met three years ago at Fuchs’ Berlin apartment. Asked if he met the elusive H.D. Buttercup himself, Fuchs said, "Yes, I’m the only person in the world who has met him. He came to Berlin — he saw my space and said, 'That’s exactly how I want to live.' It was his idea of collecting art, living with and collecting design, and he invited me to come and do his apartment." The creative chemistry between Cole and Fuchs was immediate. 

According to Cole, "I fell in love with him in about 20 seconds. We knew that we were cut from the same cloth and we needed to do things together." He went on to say, "My aesthetic and his aesthetic are dead-on. Maybe it is not the aesthetic that people are used to in Buttercup, but it is a personal aesthetic that I share with him. I had to wait for the right real estate, the right circumstance to bring Buttercup out into the open. And this building came up and I just went crazy for it. I cried when I saw it. And I said this is where we are going to do something amazing."

The concept for the apartment space mixes art from a wide range of prices and periods with home furnishings in an intimate environment. With a nod to the salons of impresarios like Gertrude Stein in fin-de-siecle Paris, Cole and Fuchs are experimenting with a new way for a wider audience to experience art and design in a commercial environment. Cole has a clear vision for the new program: "My long-term goal is to bring a different kind of gallery experience that crosses over with home furnishings rather than a strict single-artist-type gallery show. There are pieces in there that are low priced and pieces that are high priced, but in the same environment. And I think art shouldn’t be about the price alone — it should be about whether you love it or not."

The apartment space is an extension of the second floor of the furniture showroom on 2118 E. 7th Place. The entrance is adorned with playful painted architectural details and a seemingly handwritten wall text introducing the fanciful home world of the fictional Buttercup. Entering the main room of the apartment, viewers are met with a mix of artworks displayed above arrangements of modern and antique tables and chairs. There is an air of highly refined domesticity, with low lighting and tactile surfaces of leather and wood. Artworks range from the 1970s realism of a Philip Pearlstein painting to conceptual sculptures by Douglas Coupland to the macabre photography of Gregory Crewdson.

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In addition to the pioneering commercial aspect of the project, this venture is also a personal endeavor for the normally reclusive Cole: "I’ve been under the radar for a long, long time. It’s kind of my coming-out party. We never really let anybody in our house. It is absolutely how I live, and it’s great to actually make it come to life, you know, in a commercial way."

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