*****I owe a great deal to Creatures of Comfort in Los Angeles for introducing me to Isabel Marant, my new favorite designer. Marant creates an artful balance between comfort and beauty, conservative and sexy. The materials she uses, such as washed silk, are relaxed enough to be worn on a day-to-day basis, but unique enough to be worn to a wedding. In fact, Marant’s clothes are far too precious not to be worn on a daily basis. Imagine a white silk tank dress with a drop waist. Imagine that the gathered, pleated skirt falls just above the knee. The entire bodice is covered with white embroidery, all displayed in a large circular shape. Now, imagine that the dress is completely backless, scooping down within inches of the backside. Classy, but provocative.
*****Every item from the spring 2007 collection reminds me of something I’d throw on some carefree morning en route to the beach, let’s say Venice Beach, my favorite. The kind of day you wake up with little attention to any past or future. As the afternoon progresses, it comes time for a nap on a grassy hill near the sand, in full view of the colorful everything going on around me. With zero hesitation to the gorgeous frock I’m wearing, I sprawl out on the grass, getting wrinkled and a bit messy all the while. What I’m trying to say is that while Marant’s clothes are delicate and lovely (perfect) they are also meant to be lived in. They are clothes that deserve a good life. An adventurous life. A history.
*****It was during a recent semi-argument, with a psychologist no less, that I debated the validity of fashion as an art form. As I defended my interest (obsession), I tried to paraphrase a vogue article on Paul Poiret, an eccentric designer from the early 1900′s. Poiret said, “I want women to be as different in their dress as they are in their personalities.” Yes! Exactly! Ideally, fashion designers generate the tools with which to apply Poiret’s philosophy. Fashion is superficial in that clothes rest on the exterior, but to say it is not a daily art is to ignore the fact that humans are processing cultural references continually through dressing. As our interests develop, as our minds evolve, our self expression changes. We are individuals, some more than others, and if one out of 100 women has figured it out, that inspiring balance, than perhaps Poiret can R.I.P. More importantly, maybe Marant and her followers can help spread the gospel of how exciting it can be to live a little more, every single day, through something as accessible as fashion. click here
Now, here is an excerpt from the September 2010 issue of InStyle magazine in which Marant discusses her philosophy:
"I have a strong personality. . . So as a woman I want you to be interested in me first - not my wardrobe. I also don't feel the same every day. Or every hour. But whatever my mood is, I am still the same person. For a wardrobe to be realistic it has to offer contrast, unity, and endless possibilities. That's why it makes perfect sense for me as a designer to combine crochet and denim, or shiny leather pants with a plain T-shirt. . . It's easy to make magic on a red carpet - except just how many of us live that life? But how do we make it happen every day on the sidewalk? That's why I love to design."
I feel that what I wrote in 2007 captured, in some way, the essence of Marant's recent statement. I saw a good thing coming. . .
We first encountered each other at a fashion show in New York in 1986. He was 38 at the time and the fashion editor of Women’s Wear Daily. He was confident and handsome in a way that made him almost unapproachable. His stare was so intense that it completely unnerved me, and when the show was over I literally bolted out the door and down the street to avoid him. Ten days later, my employer, Cathy Hardwick, sent me to the office of Women’s Wear Daily to retrieve some clothes. I was directed to the roof where they were being photographed, and as the elevator opened, there was the man with the eyes the color of water. He rushed over and introduced himself as Richard Buckley and told me that the clothes were actually downstairs and offered to take me down to what was then called “the fashion closet.” He was adorable, and he was a complete fool. He was sort of dancing around, flashing his eyes at me, and trying so hard to be charming. He seemed so together. He was so handsome, he was so connected, he was so grown-up, so he was very intimidating. And he really chased me — not that he had to chase that hard. It excited me but it also scared me, because I knew he was different and that whatever it was I felt with him was very different from what I’d felt before.
I love Sundays. I always manage to do a million things & the day goes so easy. Today I found the ELLE UK article on Garance Dore, who just so happened to be in my dream last night. Again. She pops up quite often... It was another fashion design dream where I found myself sorting through piles of vintage clothes, which are really products of my imagination and versions of ideals. Garance was on her way to a party held in her honor. She was wearing a trench coat over a dress with knee high socks and converse sneakers. I have never seen her in converse in any photograph online, so that was quite the fun quirk. Then today, I opened the magazine and on one of the pages there is a photo of a pair of her converse! With a love sticker on the toe. I adore her.
The other day I found this birthday card given to me by my husband. It must have been the year he gave me an ipod. It is such a sweet card and a very spot on rendering of our little clan.
Nosdam toasts. When we lived in Spain, our friend Dave came to visit us and to visit his grandmother (who lived in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Barcelona). He taught us how to make one of his grandmother's recipes. The recipe calls for a baguette, tomatoes, avocado, olive oil, salt & pepper. You smash the tomato into the bread, douse it in olive oil, add avocado, salt and pepper and bake for as long as you like. It is delicious. We call this snack Nosdam toasts in honor of our friend. Making them reminds me of Dave and reminds me of Spain.