The design duo behind Cheairs digitally manipulated 14 images from The Piano for this unique print.
Film buffs, take note: There’s more to Cheairs than meets the eye. Look closer, and you might spot New Zealand wildlife or a girl dancing around sandcastles.
Cheairs (pronounced “chairs”) is the label of two International Academy of Design & Technology graduates with a knack for creating curious silk prints by digitally layering scenes from their favorite films. “It’s almost hidden pictures,” says Francesco J. Lowe, who, along with his best friend and business partner, Harrison Luckett, launched the line in 2007. “The more you look at the prints, the more you’re likely to see. It’s like a dark undercurrent—or a little secret.”
For their fall collection, Lowe and Luckett used stills from The Piano, Jane Campion’s haunting 1993 drama. For one shirtdress, the duo manipulated 14 different scenes from the film, including shots of the New Zealand wilderness and a young Anna Paquin in her Oscar-winning role.
Their soon-to-be-unveiled spring line fuses stills of flowers and Scrabble tiles from Rosemary’s Baby. In an exercise in contrasts, the pair took memorable scenes from the horror film to create a fun and adorable print. “The devil is in the details, truly,” jokes Luckett.
The friends liken their style to an uptown-meets-downtown vibe. Lowe, 34, who worked at Gucci and Louis Vuitton on Michigan Avenue before moving to Farmington, Connecticut, to be a stay-at-home dad, balances the creative whimsy of Luckett, 28, who lives in Logan Square and works for Kaplan University. (Cheairs is Luckett’s middle name.)
Like the beloved films that inspire them, the pair want their art to attract a devoted following. So far, the collection is sold solely at Elements in Dallas, but come September the designs will be available online (see whoischeairs.com for updates). “There are people who find it fascinating,” Luckett says of the prints and their unique origins. “But some just find it pretty.”
Photograph: Jeff Harris