April 05, 2016 • All / Behind the scenes / Process

I’ve never been a warm weather person. I’ve written before about how I prefer fall and winter - I’m much more at home swathed and wrapped in layers. To say I’m uncomfortable with my body is a bit of an understatement - it’s not always been that way, and it’s not a weight thing. There’s just an internal reaction to my skin being exposed that is hard for me to shake. I quite literally never wear shorts or anything above the knee, and rarely wear anything sleeveless. These feelings most certainly contribute to my affinity for the cold and the bundling that accompanies it. And yet, despite all that, my most fond memories are of times spent in the sun and heat.

The sunlight has a way of burning away the unimportant, the frond, the excess. When I’m on vacation with family at the coast, I often intend to work while I’m there, but never manage to get any of it done. It’s just too difficult to squint at a laptop screen in the sunlight, too dangerous to bring an iPad to the beach. Instead, I read real books. Play in the ocean on ridiculous whale floats, and watch our dachshunds chase the waves. Laugh with my husband, try to drink whiskey with my dad. I just sit, and feel the sun stinging my shoulders. When we pile into the car to head out for dinner, it’s with salty hair and makeup-less faces. Summertime vacations in the mountains are endless sun-filled, green car rides in my memory. Feet on the dashboard, windows down, sunglasses on, the radio all the way up. Hiking, exploring, picking up rocks and searching for just the right walking stick. Even trips to the city seem longer and more full when the weather is warm. Traipsing through Central Park, sweating and hot, stopping at a street vendor for the most refreshing, cold drink. Seeking refuge in a museum, likely The Met - feeling the chilled air-conditioning raise the hair on my sticky shoulders and pink neck.

Forgetting travel altogether, sunny spring days are when I clean my house, shaking the dust from the rugs and unearthing forgotten artifacts from dark closets. Purging the unwanted, reliving fond days passed, familiarizing myself with my possessions, shaping what I want my tomorrow to look like. Even the most mundane springtime Sundays spent here at the warehouse are a romantic sensory experience - the quiet whir of a fan, bare feet on the cool concrete floor, the hot dry fur of one of our dog’s back, napping in the sunlight.

It seems, in my mind, that there is simply more real living to be done in the bright, warm, light of day. The dark, short, cold days of winter lend themselves to hours wasted on the computer, on the phone, in front of the television, asleep. The dissonance between my self-proclaimed love for the winter (and there are indeed many things to love - twinkling lights, family-filled holidays, a season meant for sharing and giving) but my very startling realization that I’ve enjoyed the Spring and Summer seasons in a very rich and raw way was the motivation for this collection. I’ve been searching for a way to bridge the gap between my enjoyment of the season and my discomfort with dressing for it.

How can I make myself, and other women like me, feel at home in their own skin and able to freely enjoy the incredible experiences these warm seasons have to offer? What are we lacking, what have I longed to dress in on those trips I remember so fondly?

Comfort, first. Fabrics that are light, breathable, and look good worn and perhaps a bit dirtied. Shapes that stand away from the body, for those hot days when you just don’t want anything to touch you. Cuts that move with you, breathing and flowing with airy ease. Pieces that let me feel the warm touch of sun on my back and shoulders, but that flatter my arms and don’t make me feel uncomfortably exposed. Something I can wear loose and big and eat more than my fill of lobster and steak frites in, but that I can also cinch at the waist and change the silhouette if I choose. I want to look gamine and effortless, and ready for anything from a romp on the beach to a night gallery hopping - mostly smart and modest but with a dash of allure and adventure. Annie Hall with a smidge of Sophia Loren, right?

Working through this collection, trying to meet all of these ends, I found myself sketching the same things over and over again. Simple shapes - cocoon shaped spheres, triangular trapeze cuts, boxy rectangular pieces. I’ve always been influenced by shape, but this felt more obvious, more sincere. Shapes that would comfortably stand away from the body, but that could be wrangled and transformed into alternative silhouettes with a piece like the Elodie Work Belt. The Elodie is nothing more than a triangle itself, used to bring curve to the rectangular cuts of pieces like the Caftan, or to divide the spherical shape of the Olina. The arithmetic of these simple shapes accentuate the natural female form, skimming curves and drawing suggestive lines without becoming tasteless - like the Inez halters with their beautiful open, dipping backs but demure, high necks and flattering shoulder line. The Inez is made with a single pattern piece in fact, with only two seams. Achieving the silhouette of that garment with such construction only adds to its magic. Everything I worked on was of simplified form and strongly geometric, and ultimately for good reason. These basic shapes are foundational, natural, essential. I think of some of Picasso’s most inspiring sketches of the female form - many are nothing more than a few simple shapes strung together with the stroke of a pencil.

Triangles, rectangles, circles. I firmly believe that these shapes are the most powerful, and the most flattering. On the sun-drenched  west coast, where I see these pieces being worn and where I formed some of the memories that inspired them, you can see all of these essential shapes represented in the landscape. The triangular peaks of impressive mountains; the rounded, time-worn curve of rocks and boulders; the smooth, steady rectangular horizon line. They’re not only in nature, they’re in all the work that we create. In cities - the buildings we construct, the art we produce, the shadows cast by the things humans have made. These shapes have no beginning or end, they are not referential or exploitative, they are not inspired by a trend or of the moment. They are so simple it almost feels too easy, too obvious. How can it be that this is where I’ve found my answer? I must remind myself to continue to return to this root of design, to constantly strive to reduce every idea to its essence, and only stop when it can be simplified no further, for therein lies the greatness and strength of nature itself.

I have never hungered for a season like I do for this summer. I am ready to tan my shoulders, to feel the sun and breeze on my back, to revel in the swirl and breeze of full skirts and swinging folds of fabric. I welcome the sunlight, the heat, the damp skin and tangible air. I’m ready for the warmth of the coming months to clear my mind, to bring forward things that matter to me, and to wash away the shadows of things that don’t.

See more of our behind the scenes posts here.