Here’s What Went Down at Beepy Bella’s First Surrealist, Shoppable Pop-up in New York City
“Day Dreams” took attendees on a visceral journey through the world of Beepy Bella.
On July 2 and 3, the wondrous world of Beepy Bella descended upon New York City in the form of a surrealist, shoppable dreamscape as part of the handcrafted jewelry line’s first-ever “Day Dreams” pop-up. As a manifestation of Isabella Lalonde’s wildest fantasies and harnessing the self-taught practice of world-building, the designer and artist created a parallel universe on the Lower East Side that took notable attendees such as Alana O’Herlihy, Gus Dapperton, Blue DeTiger, Coral Johnson-McDaniel, and Tyler Omeed Mazaheri (to name a few) and patrons of the beloved brand on a visceral, euphoric journey through the depths of the visionary creative’s inner mind.
Upon entering the brilliantly-cultivated space, guests became immersed in the multi-sensory experience that was heightened by a psychedelic display of flowers made to resemble a fairy garden, a fantastical tree with branches adorned with never-before-seen pendant necklaces, and new, exclusive Beepy Bella hats that were strung from the ceiling alongside giant cotton clouds. Throughout every twist and turn of the dreamy space, friends and fans discovered vintage keepsakes from Isabella’s personal collection like brightly-colored mushrooms, mini and large-scale frogs, a smattering of strawberries, a lifelike deer, and a dollhouse that all acted as magical props to house the designer’s experimental, fantasy-driven jewelry that included an abundance of sculptural necklaces, earrings, glass rings as well as exclusive frog keychains made in collaboration with a digital artist from Munich.
To gain a closer glimpse into the fantastical intricacies and planning that went into the creation of Beepy Bella’s first pop-up, HYPEBAE sat down with Isabella Lalonde to discuss the preparation that went into launching “Day Dreams,” the artists she commissioned from within the Beepy Bella world to decorate the imaginative space, the experience of meeting with her community in such a personal way, the one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces she put on display for the pop-up and how she harnessed the art of dressing to fuel the tangible, surrealist dreamscape.
What was the turning point that led you to launch your first pop-up and what was the process like in terms of preparation and getting everything set up? Was the outcome everything you had hoped for?
I’m obsessed with set design, especially as an artist who is interested in world-building. For me, the idea of a pop-up kept crawling into my mind as I was craving a way to bring my intangible fantasy into reality. The process of creating this installation was magical. You can only really prepare for what your upcoming event is going to be like, before it happens. We only had two days in person to install. Part of me realized that whatever was going to happen, would happen. There is a very fascinating and fruitful spontaneity that occurs when your control is limited to preparation. You can’t predict what the execution of your vision will be like. That spontaneity and risk-taking is the gray area where really good art occurs.
Truthfully, the outcome was so much more than I had hoped it would be. There’s something so unique and irreplaceable about meeting the people who love your work, and whom you love back, in person for the first time. I will never forget it, especially since my art is very introspective and focuses on self-discovery. Beepy Bella is a catalogue of my inner mind. So, to meet others, who understand what I’m trying to do at the core of it, feels euphoric. To think that my work, something I spend endless amounts of time on, could mean so much to someone other than myself is what I would imagine success feels like.
What artists did you work with to create the commissioned artworks sprinkled throughout the space? And what was the creative process like when collaborating with each artist?
Working with artists is an integral part of my brand. I find it interesting to share my laser-focused creative vision and watch how other creatives interpret it on their own terms. Benjamin Langford, who made the giant wall decorations, was on my mind forever because I admire the scale of their work. It’s very surreal. We selected the flowers together in the hopes it would make the space resemble a fairy garden. Naylia Wright, one of my close friends, made the hanging clouds with cotton. A few years ago, I was invited to a wonderful tea party at her house and she had made these clouds just for fun. I immediately saw potential and wanted to integrate them into an installation of mine. Michal Cihlar made the amazing candy purple chair. His furniture work is amazing. We decided to include his purple chair as it complimented the colorful environment of the whole set up. Sean Kennedy, who collaborates with me on many of my graphics, illustrated whimsical hot pink vinyls for the storefront windows.
Every artist I included had a part to play in the world building of this event. When you build a fantasy world from scratch, every detail matters. You are quite literally responsible for every aspect of the existing environment. So when I was compiling artists, placing props in the space and creating the visual imagery around this landscape, I channeled different energies corresponding to every sense a human has.
The Beepy Bella community is an integral part of your brand and the universe you’ve been able to build. What has the experience been like being able to meet and interact with your community in such a personal way?
It was truly beautiful. One of the most magical parts of world building is that I can share it with others. You can literally walk into my fantasy. It’s naturally psychedelic. Every person who came to the pop-up was a part of the overarching art piece. They were the secret ingredient. Being a naturally introverted person, I’m completely fine building something like this and having it just be for myself — an introspective moment and a little world I can hold in my heart. So the fact that I was able to interact with others in this space blew my mind. As an artist, it was the most successful project I’ve worked on.
Talk to me about the fantastical graphics that adorned the entrance of the pop-up, tote bags, Beepy Bella’s Fairytale Soundscape vinyl and the logo created for “Day Dreams.”
Sean Kennedy created all of these charming graphics. Sean’s work is magical, but slightly twisted. Their work compliments my brand effortlessly, as we’ve been working together for many years. It was super fun and new to test out different mediums that showcase their graphic designs, such as store windows and tote bags. We worked on the creative vision for these elements closely together.
How did your sister Ines play a role in the pop-up and what was it like being able to collaborate with her in this setting?
My sister, Ines Lalonde, and I collaborate all the time on original music for my brand. She was able to fly out from Los Angeles to help make this event possible. Being a musician herself, Ines was able to curate a playlist specifically for the space. We even placed a scannable barcode on the outside of the store windows so people could download the space’s energetical soundscapes (via Spotify).
Each guest in attendance received a polaroid and a custom Beepy Bella frame. What inspired this idea and how did it come to fruition?
An important goal I had in mind for this art piece was to make it memorable emotionally. Something ephemeral, similar to a reoccurring day dream. I hoped to freeze these escaping moments with a physical token to give to my audience who visited the space. We live in a fast-paced world, filled with endless distractions and constant stimulations. I aspired to allow my visitors to experience something unique that would break the relentless chaotic cycle of modern life. Many of my visitors said this pop-up changed their mood, and gave them a profound sense of deep joy, which made me so happy. Polaroids are a true memento, an exemplification of this mentality. I want everyone who cares about my art to feel beautiful, welcomed and loved unconditionally. I literally love anyone who interacts with my work, because it means they are seeing me at my core and choosing to respond to it. That’s powerful and not something I take lightly.
What was the intent behind releasing the one-of-a-kind, jewelry pieces you created exclusively for the pop-up?
I’m a very spontaneous and sporadic type of person, so my art very much reflects this behavior. I have a thirst and boundless curiosity for newness and the unknown. I feel like I am on a quest with my art, like I am a conqueror of my own imagination. Due to this, I experiment a lot, which means that I design many diverse jewelry pieces for my brand, some of which never see the light of day. I used this pop-up as an opportunity to showcase pieces I had been keeping to myself and see how others interacted with them.
I released several new enamel one-of-a-kind pendants and some glass rings. I also released a new bell bucket hat, which was exciting. The picnic gingham hat was the “secret item” for this event. It was so cool to watch people try on my new designs. In addition to jewelry and accessories, I also integrated many of my personal vintage ceramic and knick knack collections, which were available to purchase. The idea is that this installation would be a shoppable dreamscape, in which hats hung from cloudy ceilings and necklaces were tucked away in a vintage tin doll house.
Let’s talk about your personal style. Each outfit stayed true to the ethereal nature of the pop-up while masterfully playing with elements of romance, whimsy and pure, unbridled fantasy. What was the overall vision or process when deciding what to wear each day of the pop-up?
The way I dressed myself was as if I was a character from my fantasy world. Funnily enough, a lot of the outfits I had previously worn in some way or another, but the context of being physically surrounded by my art gave these outfits a new meaning. It gives others the knowledge of where I am pulling from. I played with makeup and wore a purple lizard eye contact for the opening night. I paired that look with a vintage Dior lace robe, and Simone Rocha ballet platform flats. Think vampire meets Tim Burton’s corpse bride on a full moon by a musty swamp with croaking toads. That was the vibe of my look.
One of my favorite parts about dressing myself and using it as an art form, is that I am forced to practice it everyday out of necessity. Sometimes, I’ll get in creative ruts with other mediums that I work in and I have the liberty to take a pause or break from them. However, with clothing, you have to dress yourself everyday. So even if I am in a rut, or if I don’t feel like it, I can’t help but evolve this art form of mine daily. You don’t need discipline to practice it. That’s what makes style so personal to me. It’s one of the most vulnerable art forms. The way I dress reflects my inner fantasy, it lets people know who I am at the core of my human existence. Obviously, it’s an art form I don’t take for granted.
What were some key learnings you took away with your first pop-up and what were some highlights or memories you’ll take away?
Generally, the feeling of tenderness will stick with me forever, especially as a designer hosting my first in-person event. I think the biggest learning I took away from this is people will feel your intentions going into the project. I put so much warmth, passion and complicity into the design of the world. And every single detail was appreciated by my visitors. Dream big, and don’t ever get roadblocked by what you think your limitations are. You make the rules for your art. I felt so appreciated by all of the incredible friends who came to support me. I also really enjoyed meeting all of the people who follow my art online. Someone made the cutest plush doll based on one of my character drawings — the berry fairy. One person drove all the way from Philly just for the pop-up. It made my day. Every conservation I had was my highlight. Just seeing people walk through the door made my heart jump every time.
Watch the video above and see how Beepy Bella’s “Day Dreams” pop-up came to life.