Fashion Designer Brings Historic Hotel’s Paintings To Life

By Trevor Keller | September 3, 2019


Stephanie Schultz is a fashion designer and the tenth artist-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. “I’m working on high fashion garments inspired by the Victorian paintings that are here at the hotel,” says Schultz.

The year-long program gives a local artist a stipend and studio space on the Pfister’s first floor. In return, the artist incorporates the historic hotel into their work. The Pfister opened in 1893 and claims to have the largest Victorian art collection of any hotel in the world.

“I often think about if these paintings could tell us all these different stories of everything that they’ve seen throughout the years. Just think about all the different stories that are here at the hotel,” says Schultz.

With her passion for fashion, eye for design, and skill at pattern-making, she cuts into expensive fabric. She’s creating garments for a fashion show to mark the end of her residency. Schultz meticulously plans every detail of the show.

“It’s important for me to be able to express myself creatively. And sometimes it’s not fun, because it’s hard and it’s challenging, but it’s important.” Schultz explains that putting together a fashion show is a lot of work; she designs the garments and finds a team of models and artists to make her vision a reality.

Schultz’s show – the culmination of 12 months of work – is a smashing success. For one night, the history of the Pfister has come alive. “I want to create a unique experience for people who want to come to this show, and give them something that they’ve never seen before. That satisfaction that you get from working on something for so long, and seeing it come to fruition, and knowing that you can do it. You know? That’s, that’s what I enjoy about it,” says Schultz.

Trevor Keller

Trevor Keller

Trevor Keller is Executive Producer of “Wisconsin Life” for PBS Wisconsin. He loves photography and is always looking for a new Wisconsin park, trail or scenic overlook to explore.

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