From green styrofoam hands, to a window bombarded with stuffed animals, Peggy Noland’s storefront has seen it all. With childlike energy and joy, the American clothing designer and installation artist turns everything she touches into explosive, colorful works of art.
Peggy is mostly known for her unique fashion creations (worn by the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna) but her tiny shop in Kansas City deserves the same sort of attention. At different points it’s been transformed into an out-of-control corner shop, and a women’s bodybuilder club. One time, the storefront was covered with so many balloons, it was almost impossible to enter the boutique.
For Peggy, it’s important that she doesn’t plan out her projects too carefully. “If I overthink it, I talk myself out of it because of all the potential things that could go wrong,” she says. Besides, her best ideas often come once she starts on something. “There is always an improvisational element. Even when I don’t want there to be,” she laughs.
Interestingly, Peggy didn’t plan on being an artist. For a long time she lived a pretty regular American life, and almost pursued a major in religion studies. Her life changed radically after she accepted an out-of-the-blue offer from a former boss to help set up a clothing line in India.
She “fell in love” with Delhi, which was a world away from her Kansas City upbringing. “The way I was assuming people were judging me, looking at me, and criticizing me, went completely out the window”, she has said.
Returning to the US, Peggy decided she’d gathered enough knowledge to start her own clothing line, and open her own shop. Today, whether she’s making clothes, films or storefronts, she creates whirlwinds of delightful chaos. As if to reflect her restless creative energy, her hair color switches depending on her mood, from oil-black to white blonde.
For someone who once said that, “Somebody who wears my clothes likes to be looked at,” Peggy’s work is actually less about the finished product than you might imagine. “When a project is done, I feel like I am at its funeral, which shows me I am very process based,” she says.
“The real joy for me is using my hands and making the thing. Whether it’s pattern making, sewing a garment, carving a sculpture, or stirring the cake mix… I want my hands in it!”