“I feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone,” a bewildered Legends Santa Fe employee says as he stares at a wall where work by Project Runway alum Patricia Michaels’ exhibit hung.
Michaels was the downtown gallery’s main attraction during the past Indian Market, during which she offered a $500 course sharing her “secret” fashion techniques, as well as an opening reception celebrating her latest in jewelry, limited-edition posters and a T-shirt line.
According to gallery brass, Michaels marched into the gallery today “under false pretenses” and “stole” her own inventory from the locale—inventory that included pieces already sold over to Indian Market weekend.
Clear stickers with the artist name are still placed on the gallery walls, but the pieces they accompanied are gone.
Gallery staff, who asked SFR not to be identified, estimate the value of the missing pieces at $20,000.
Michaels says the gallery’s claim is bogus.
“That’s hilarious,” Michaels says. “I was picking up inventory so I can fulfill orders.”
She brushes off the incident, saying it’s simply a miscommunication. “I made a lot of new product, I’ve got orders on jewelry and I’ve got orders and scarves—and in order for me to fulfill my orders—I have to have the prototypes.”
Furthermore, she says, she was planning on delivering pieces to cover the gallery’s orders tomorrow, before the whole thing blew up and the cops were called.
“There’s nothing that I wasn’t supposed to take,” the Taos-based designer says. “The show is over. I took down my show and I’m working on fulfilling orders.”
Not so, says the gallery. Staffers there claim plastic cases that were placed atop pedestals and contained sold jewelry pieces were also taken by Michaels, only to be returned empty after the designer got a locksmith to open them up or her.
“That’s crazy…what they’re saying? I should sue for slander,” Michaels responds.
Waiting for the police to show up, gallery director Leslie May is still in shock. “I was a mentor to her,” she says.
More on this story as it develops.