Color Me Warhol
Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 4/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Before Campbell's soup cans, Chelsea Girls, and Marilyn Monroe, there was the Edelman water buffalo. This coy and chunky bovine was the work of an unknown commercial illustrator named Andy Warhol, who met husband and wife leather suppliers Arthur and Teddy Edelman in 1957. From 1958 until 1964, Warhol worked as a graphic designer for the Edelmans' company, which then provided skins to such fashion designers as Halston, Rudi Gernreich, and a young Calvin Klein. (The couple moved from python pumps to cushion covers when the U.S. fashion and shoe industries declined.) "He was a quiet kid," Arthur Edelman says of the pre-Factory artist. "But he worked like magic." Besides the company's ads, Warhol designed a coloring book featuring all the Edelman beasts that gave their hides to fashion: snakes, lizards, crocodiles, an exotic calf, and a water buffalo. Callaway and Simon & Schuster rereleased the coloring book in 1990. Since then, the Edelmans have made the drawings available for several color-the-Warhol contests, drawing the entries of everyone from Manolo Blahnik to John Malkovich.