Amy Zerner is a quadruple threat. She can easily be described as an artist, an author, a fashion designer, and a jewelry designer. “They all spring from the same source,” says Amy, who studied at Pratt and considers herself to be an artist first and foremost. “I like to put my art on everything. I want people to have my work in all different forms, says Amy, who came from a family of artists. “I merged the fine art of my grandfather Clayton Spicer, who studied with Robert Henri, with the commercial art of my mother, Jessie, who illustrated children’s books.”
Zerner is also somewhat prescient. Since the pandemic, everything seems to be out East, but Amy, born in Pennsylvania, has made the Hamptons her home since the late ’60s. Amy and Monte Farber reside in The Springs. Farber, a psychic and astrologer, is also Amy’s collaborator and husband of 46 years. Together, they have authored 50 books on the realm of spirituality.
The prolific duo wrote three books during the pandemic selling 3 million books worldwide, and are well known in the Mind, Life, and Spirit category, which is especially popular with young people. All their books, which are sold internationally in 18 languages, are illustrated with Amy’s work. Amy does the art first, and her husband writes about it. “It’s not a religious thing, nor is it black magic. It’s normal to develop and connect and understand who you are and who other people are,” says Zerner who had her first tarot deck in the ’70s.
While Amy was not trained as a designer, she always loved fashion, and as a little girl, Amy would draw pictures of fairies and princesses and create garments for them. In 1969, Amy and her friends sewed their own clothes and made original outfits out of vintage clothing from the ’40s. She has admittedly carried the feeling of peace and love, which was really permeating the air at the time, in her artwork.
For the past 21 years, Amy has been selling her unique designs on the 4th floor of Bergdorf Goodman. It all began when she was exhibiting her artwork, using mixed media collages, in the galleries. Amy made garments for herself with the tapestries and put them on the back of her jackets to illustrate her craft.
One day, Amy ran into someone from college who was a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman (Elizabeth Miller). Miller loved what she saw and told Amy she could sell it at the store. Miller brought Amy’s designs to her buyer, who immediately placed them in the Artisans Gallery alongside the work of other artisans (Carter Smith, Cathryn Bacon, Mary Jane Sarvis). Amy is the only remaining artisan there.
While the Artisans Gallery no longer exists, Amy’s designs can still be found in the Evening Department on the 4th floor. There is a room of custom couture they call “The Cocktail Room.” Amy has four racks there at the moment. Other designers in that section are CD Green, who does elaborate short and long beaded dresses, and Robert Danes, whose gowns are architectural. Amy focuses on skillful detailing, luxury fabrics, classic cuts, vintage inspiration, and romantic adornments. She is passionate about creating investment pieces for women with an eye for art and a love of craftsmanship.
Ms. Zerner says that people collect her designs because they are like “works of art.” Elizabeth Taylor had many pieces, and one Saudi Princess (Princess Maha Al Ibrahim) has collected 80 of Amy’s one-of-a-kind caftans. Other high-profile fans are Oprah Winfrey, Shirley MacLaine, Patti Labelle, and Simon Kirke. The legendary rock drummer performs in Amy’s shirt designs.
Rihanna is a fan of Amy’s empowering jewelry, which is based on imagery from her books. Priced from about $100 – $400, it is generally made of bronze with 14K and 18K overlays and natural gems. For six years, Amy sold her bestselling astrology jewelry at Bergdorf Goodman. Currently, all the jewelry is available on amyzerner.net.
Amy’s “flowy, comfortable, and unique” designs range in price from about $4000- $5000. A couture caftan can cost between $4500 and $5000. Amy proudly states that she designs for “real women.” “21 years ago, many designers would stop at a size 12. I am a size 10, 12, so I was designing clothes for myself, and other women liked them too.” “My flowing jackets can fit a size 8 – 16,” says Amy, who recently designed a raincoat because she couldn’t find one that she liked.
All of Amy’s designs are made in her studio in Easthampton. Because she is always creating seasonless one-of-a-kind pieces, the pandemic didn’t really affect her business. That being said, Amy reports that she has had a burst of activity all of a sudden in the past few months. Amy has never had a runway show but indicated that she would love to have a “wonderful magical event” with music and 30 models in the future.
In October, Zerner will be having an exhibition of her art, “Goddesses Here & Now,” at the MM Fine Art Gallery in Southampton, www.mmfineart.com. “The Wild Goddess Oracle: A 52-Card Deck and Guidebook, Divination and Ritual for Living an Empowered Life” is coming out in September, and then “Enchanted Worlds: The Visionary Collages and Art Couture of Amy Zerner” comes out in November. Amy says the art and fashion book is a retrospective of everything they’ve done, and she refers to it as an “inspirational.”