Julie Ho and Nicholas Andersen started CONFETTISYSTEM just over a year ago, and since, their line of handmade party decorations has graced the windows of Opening Ceremony and Bergdorf Goodman, Karen O's birthday party and United Bamboo's runway show. After previous collaborations with Urban Outfitters—including an installation at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles, and Kuau'i by CONFETTISYSTEM, a jewelry line—they've now created PARTYPARTY, a complete collection of party supplies that includes hats, ornaments and a spinoff of their coveted piñatas. We recently stopped by their studio, in the top floor of an East Village walk-up, to see where the magic happens.
SHOP THE COLLECTION
Photographed by Jessica Williams
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Julie: "We met through our friend Karlo, who I went to college with and who Nick grew up with in Hawaii."
Nick: "We hung out a lot and started making stuff together for friends' birthdays and parties, and it kind of started from there."
Julie: "We liked the idea of creating new objects inspired by the concept of traditional party objects. Then we decided to create a line with that idea in mind."
Julie: "We cut and build everything by hand, all the fringe is done by hand. It takes a long time, it's very methodical, sort of meditative."
Ho and Andersen recently moved into a studio, sharing space with friends at Studio Lin, where there is now more room to create their large scale work.
A silk charmeuse and leather twist necklace from the CONFETTISYSTEM jewelry collection.
Nick: "Even though the idea is really simple, they took a long time to figure out how to get the drape and weight we wanted."
Julie: "A lot of our work is about the idea of permanence and impermanence. They are piñatas and they are meant to be broken and that's part of why we make them."
Julie: "Fabric and paper are simple materials, but you can transform them into anything."
Nick: "Paper can be fragile but its also really strong, it just depends how you use it."
The confetti archive, which include bits from past projects they've done, including really early confetti specked with metallic fabric.
Julie: "It's fun when people we don't know order them, you know it's for something special but we don't always know what happens to them, like if they break them or just keep them."
Ho holds a PARTYPARTY packaging prototype, which was inspired by vintage factory packaging and remnants they've found at party and dollar stores.
Nick: "This is one of the first necklaces we did, inspired by the tradition of leis in Hawaii. We had a party and made one for everyone who came."
Julie: "I like all of it, but I really enjoy creating installations and working on new design projects and events we get comissioned for."
Nick: "I like making confetti and also creating and changing spaces for special projects we work on. We've been designing a lot of private parties recently."
Filling the piñatas with confetti is the last step.
Nick: "You don't even know if people are going to see it. We like the idea of the confetti sitting in there for years and years and then maybe someday it gets broken."
CONFETTISYSTEM makes the cardboard structure for each piñata by hand.
Nick: "They're sturdy piñatas."
Julie: "But we've tested them with our friends, because you want to have the right balance, where it doesn't break too fast and a few people get to hit it, but you don't want to get frustrated if it takes too long."
Ho holds up a PARTYPARTY poster.
Nick: "Lately our work has been more about creating installations, it's fun to think that people can create their own installations with our PARTYPARTY supplies."
Julie: "We hope people enjoy the line!"
Nick: "One of the first big orders we had was Karen O's birthday party."
Julie: "But the first was United Bamboo. Thuy and Miho asked us to create something for their spring '09 show."
Nick: "Our large garlands kind of developed from that project."
Julie: "Our color palette was exactly the same as theirs that season."
Nick: "It worked so well and really inspired us to make more."
Julie: "We're really busy during the holidays, but after that, we really want to get working on the next collection of items."