The 76-Year-Old Venice Artist Who’s Become McQueen’s Latest Muse

Is that a Chuck Arnoldi you’re wearing? The local septuagenarian, known for works incorporating stick constructions, moves to the front line of high fashion

Venice abstract artist Chuck Arnoldi is famous for incorporating nontraditional materials—like parts of trees—into his paintings. But now, he’s branching out into a new medium: schmattes. The 76-year-old Guggenheim fellow was recently approached by British luxe label Alexander McQueen for collaboration on its spring/summer 2023 line.

“They’d seen a painting of mine and wanted to use it to create dresses for women and suits and T-shirts for men,” Arnoldi says. “I had no idea who or what Alexander McQueen was. Didn’t have a clue.”

But Arnoldi’s wife, novelist Katie Arnoldi, explained who the late designer was and how his company is still producing high-end fashion, and then Arnoldi received a packet of sketches from McQueen’s design team.

“I said to Katie, ‘This stuff looks pretty good.’ I told them, sure, they can use it,” he says. “They offered to pay me – but I would have done it for free!

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