Person

Bonnie Brownfield

Grayscale photograph of two men and one woman posing together

I met Willi on the first day of registration as design students at Parsons School of Design—then located in an old factory-like building on East 54th Street. He asked me to lunch, and lunch ran into dinner.

From that day on, we shared our lives, loves, families, summerhouses on Fire Island, and all the drama through the years. I remember one time in the seventies, Willi was to receive an award from a large retailer in his hometown of Philadelphia. He invited me to go along for support. He rented a limo—Willi did not drive—and on his way to pick me up, he tripped, fell, and sprained his ankle. We spent the whole ride with him lying on my lap and his foot out the open window to keep his ankle from swelling any further. It was hilarious. We laughed the entire ride with me “reading” him the whole time. I loved him. I know he loved me. Friends forever.

Grayscale photograph of two men and one woman posing together

Willi Smith, Bonnie Brownfield, and Bobby Breslau at event in New York City, photographed by Bill Cunningham, ca. 1970


Grayscale photograph of Willi Smith backstage with models

Willi Smith backstage after the presentation of the WilliWear fall 1978 collection, photographed by Sing Schwartz.

This photo was signed by Willi Smith and addressed to Bonnie Brownfield with the inscription: "From this day on, I love you, Willi"


Front of postcard with color image of windmill

Postcard from Willi Smith to Bonnie Brownfield


Postcard back

Postcard from Willi Smith to Bonnie Brownfield (Back view)


Willi Smith and friend Bonnie Brownfield share a kiss on a deck

Willi Smith and Bonnie Brownfield on the deck of summer home in Fire Island Pines, ca. 1970


Postcard

Invitation from Willi Smith to Bonnie Brownfield to meet Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, 1986


Grayscale photograph of Willi Smith with a handwritten note stating "All my love to Bonnie, Willi Smith"

Publicity photograph of Willi Smith, signed “All my love to Bonnie, Willi Smith”


Grayscale photograph of Willi Smith with a handwritten note stating "Friends forever, love Willi"

Publicity photograph of Willi Smith, signed “Friends forever, love Willi"


Sketch of a woman

Sketch of Bonnie Brownfield by Willi Smith, ca. 1965


Illustration of a figure wearing a brown jacket, brown short skirt, cream long-sleeve turtleneck, hat, and long scarf with flows in back

Fashion illustration designed by Willi Smith


Illustration of a figure wearing light brown jacket with brown tie, wide-leg pants, and white long-sleeve shirt; a light brown fabric swatch is stapled next to illustration

Fashion illustration designed by Willi Smith


Illustration of a figure in a red bell-bottom jumpsuit with a white collared blouse and bow necktie; three fabric swatches in pink, black, and red and white polka dots are stapled beside illustration

Fashion illustration designed by Willi Smith, ca.1970


Illustration of a figure in a red romper. Red and and white fabric swatches are stapled next to illustration

Fashion illustration designed by Willi Smith, ca.1970