All Grown Up
I fell in love with a navy twisted bow-back bomber back in 2008. I’m not exactly sure what sidebar write-up or backwater blog I was reading when I stumbled upon it, but it was perfect. I immediately tracked down the designer’s sparse website (now totally redesigned), a recent fashion graduate of Kingston University, and sent a lustful email trying to track down her jacket.
The young designer emailed me right back, spurring a pleasant back and forth, in which she offered to sell me said jacket whose limited run was sold out at b Store, one of the few sites to sell her first line.
Like scoring a phone number and never calling, I am still kicking myself for ultimately deciding not to buy the jacket.
The designer was Sophie Hulme, who now sells her handbags at the likes of Harrods, Neimans, Bergdorfs, and Net-a-Porter. She has moved from clothing to accessories, awarded the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent in Accessories in 2012. I was all smiles when I first saw her bags at the little Barney’s in DC, though I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t go back and forth with me on Gmail these days and I wish she’d make more jackets.
Gigi Burris is another young designer whose achievements and designs I’ve been so happy to follow from afar. I first met Gigi in New York in 2009, shortly after she graduated from Parsons. I remember Gigi as one of those shining personalities that is both as classic and fancy as her hats. Her Autumn/Winter 2013 collection is my favorite, dark but soft.
I still remember when I received the note from our mutual friend saying she was featured in Italian Vogue. It’s hard to explain, but there are some people you just want to win. Now she has been written up in Elle, W, and many other publications, as well as nominated as a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist.
Around this same time, I remember sitting with then up-and-coming stylist, Zara Zachrisson, whose current work for The Last Magazine is absolutely captivating. She was talking, at a now long ago rooftop barbeque looking out on the lights of the Lower East Side, about the relatively frivolous nature of fashion as compared to other professions, how worrying about nailing the latest Balenciaga look was so seemingly unimportant. I responded that even in the face of war and country collapse and whatever else is “important,” what she does is aspirational: the luxury to pursue beauty and art and expression is why we strive in other realms. I meant it.
It’s wonderful to watch talent unfold and see the creations of those you admire take hold. It’s such a fulfilling experience to connect with a person – through a note, a sweet smile, or a memorable moment – and also to connect with their designs, with the tangible manifestations of their intangible selves.