There are a lot of designers that I love and admire, but these are some of my all-time favorites:
Dries Van Noten - the first “real” designer clothing that I ever bought for myself was Dries Van Noten. This was 1995 and I bought a crimson tweed car coat from Barneys newly opened on Madison Avenue. That was when I first discovered him, and I went crazy for the corduroy jackets from the next collection… I had one in burnt orange, and one in purple. Back when I wore colors!!
Dries is one of my all-time favorites. The tailoring for men is impeccable - everything fits me right off the rack. I still covet his shirts. His women’s collection is always amazingly gorgeous. I have huge respect for him as a designer, and he’s grown his business in such a smart way - slowly, and focused.
Martin Margiela - I was first introduced to him when I started at Maxfield in 1997. I was 22 years old, and his collections were highly sought-after and very hard to find. We had serious collectors who would OBSESS over the collections, and call from around the country to snatch them up as soon as they hit the floor. They knew all of the details of the pieces all the way down to the stitch practically… and this was before you could see the shows online!! I don’t know how they did it.
I was particularly blown away by his doll clothing collection. He curated a group of clothing from vintage dolls, and then he remade them to human proportions… even including the dodgy stitching. It was insane.
Rick Owens - My first Maxfield Holiday party was in 1997. It was held at Les Deux Cafes in Hollywood, and Rick Owens held a mini-runway show on top of the bar in the back room. I had just moved to LA a few months earlier, and the only thing that I knew about Rick was that we could barely keep the clothing in stock for practically more than a few days.
I’ve watched his collection grow over the years, and I have so much respect for his vision. He does exactly what he wants to do, and continues to grow each year. It’s a great lesson to designers to keep their focus and stick to what they believe in.
Rei Kawakubo - Basically the high-water mark for me in luxury. Highly conceptual, forward-thinking, non-compromising, always seeking new avenues and ventures. Hugely influential. It’s hard to say too much about what she’s done with Comme Des Garcons. My parents used to buy these clothes in the 80s. My mother has a jacket from 1987 (you can always find the date on the inside label if you know where to look) and it could be sitting on a rack today. So ahead of it’s time that it’s never trendy.