Artist Ashley Longshore Welcomes FGI to SoHo Gallery for Women’s History Month Party

NEW YORK — Ashley Longshore’s SoHo gallery is covered with the artist’s colorful paintings and it was also filled with plenty of vibrant guests at the Fashion Group International celebration of Women’s History Month on Thursday night.

Longshore shared the hosting duties with Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo, Fern Mallis, Teri Agins and Veronica Webb. FGI’s president and chief executive officer Maryanne Grisz welcomed 100 people during the course of the night including Marylou Luther, Patricia Underwood, Amy Rosi, designer Andrew Yu, Sharon Graubard, Chris Lavish and jewelry designer Julie Lamb.

More from WWD

Saluting women is something that FGI has been rooted in since its inception. The organization was conceptualized in 1928 at a luncheon of 17 like-minded women, who each had a job of consequence in the fashion business, and believed that the industry — and women’s roles within it — needed greater awareness. FGI became an organization in 1930 and WWD’s Louis Fairchild provided its first office space on East 12th Street.

Longshore, an Alabama-born self-taught artist, was the first female artist to have a solo show at Bergdorf Goodman and she was honored by FGI’s Dallas chapter last year. “I wasn’t just honored in Dallas but the most important thing is getting money from people who believe in emerging talent and fashion designers. We raised $100,000,” she said.

Veronica Webb
Veronica Webb

Noting how the event celebrated WHM and FGI’s legacy, Grisz said, “Ashley is a very generous supporter of FGI scholarships throughout the year in raising funds and we will be announcing future partnerships moving forward.”

With 30 years of experience, her ties to fashion are many, having walked on the runway for a few of her designer friends like Christian Siriano and Dennis Basso. Attuned to Pop Art and consumerism’s impact in her work, Longshore has also worked with Gucci, Maybelline, Porsche and Judith Leiber. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, as well as Eli Manning, are among the collectors of her paintings.

Social media has allowed Longshore to let people know that she is a self-represented artist who is going to make it in her own way, “without going through the traditional system of gallery representation, giving up 50 percent of sales and not knowing who my collectors are,” she said. “By working with organizations like FGI, I’m giving young creatives the inspiration to understand, ‘You can do this in your own way. This is a lot more than just my art, or what I’m wearing — or not wearing’ It’s about the inspiration for the continuation of the creativity that we all so desperately need and want.”

Wearing a sequined minidress with hot pink tights and coordinating platform heels, Longshore polished off her look with a floral appliquéd jacket from Francesco Risso’s latest Marni collection. “This is just off the Marni runway and my friend hand-carried [it on the plane] back from Paris. Even though I’m literally dying right now — my feet hurt, my back hurts and I’m sweating like a pig. But, honey, I’ll do anything for fashion.”

Ashley Longshore
Ashley Longshore’s SoHo gallery in New York.

After opening her Crosby Street gallery six months ago, the artist now divides her time between Manhattan and her farm in Louisiana. “What I love about New York is that you meet other creative people, who are strong-willed, know who they are and they just go for it. That’s the energy that I want,” Longshore said. “Self-expression is so important now, when we’re dealing with all of these really heavy — which is an understatement — things that we’re seeing in the news constantly. Being able to realize that maybe the weirdest thing about us is the best thing about us is so important, and then having the balls to go out there and just express yourself.”

“Not in New York for the lawyers or the hedge fund guys but for the creatives and the arts,” Longshore said she is reveling in the shows on Broadway, and the city’s poetry, music, fashion and the arts. As for the advantages of her farm life, Longshore said, “There ain’t nothing like being topless and barefoot on a golf cart headed to my studio with my dogs. But I need that and I need this. I need drag queens. I need my feet to hurt in the morning from high heels. I need to sweat like a pig, when I get on the runway. I don’t know — I just love it.”

Best of WWD