How Famed Photographer William Eggleston's Daughter Turned His Doodles Into Clothing
"If anyone can inspire me creatively, it's my dad," says Andra Eggleston, daughter of William Eggleston, widely regarded as the father of modern color photography. With that thought in mind, three years ago, the textile designer began traveling weekly from her hometown in Nashville, Tenn., to nearby Memphis, Tenn., to visit her father. While she had hoped to find inspiration, she wound up discovering an entire collection of his never-before-seen drawings. "I was trying to salvage everything," Andra said. "They were everywhere ... on napkins, in address books. One time, he pulled one out of his back pocket!"
But as she combed through the Eggleston archives, Andra found that there was little information about when or where the scrawlings were drawn—until she uncovered one print labeled "Havana, 1983" on the back. "He was commissioned to do a photo shoot there for Vanity Fair," she said. "The photographs were so similar [to the drawings]," she said. "One was of a group of Cuban dancers, and the drawing was so similar in the flow and movement of the image. I had a real personal discovery of how he sees things."
Andra Dress, $465; agnesb.com
Fast-forward three years, and Andra has developed her own brand—called Electra Eggleston after her father's first-choice birth name for her—and teamed up with French designer Agnès B. on a capsule collection of clothing from her fall/winter 2016 collection, including a cotton dress (pictured above), a jersey top, pants, a skirt, and a shirt, all emblazoned with the famed artist's cheeriest doodles. "It's so reminiscent of his vibrant and saturated prints," Andra said. "This one is really calming and soothing to the eye."
The collaboration couldn't have been more fitting. Ten years ago, when Andra was fresh out of school at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising), she met with Agnès Troublé, who helms the label, at her father's behest (Troublé is a close friend and collector). "I was totally star-struck," Andra said. "She very carefully looked through my portfolio, then handed it back and said, 'Best of luck.' It was one of my greatest memories, but also so crushing. I realized then that doors could open for me, but I needed to walk through them myself."