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Marisa Berenson: Global Style Icon

Marisa Berenson: Global Style Icon

Clothes, like music, can transport you. When I was designing the flexible four-piece loungewear capsule collection I was thinking about comfort and travel, which is why most of the pieces look inspired by 1970s fashion and Studio 54.

While I was designing this capsule, we were still in the middle of the pandemic. There was still a great deal of uncertainty when travel bans would be lifted, so the only travel that was in my future was in my mind and through photos.

I came across the photo of Marisa Berenson from 1967 photographed by Henry Clarke in Sardinia when doing research. She's wearing an elaborate gold caftan by the American Designer Tina Lesser and large pearl-like rings by Gripoix while sitting on top of a roof overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. You can almost imagine a Negroni waiting to be sipped off camera. She is the granddaughter of Elsa Schiaparelli who started modeling for Diana Vreeland at the age of 16. She was destined to be a woman of the world in the way few are.

This photo looked like a dream to me when I was looking for inspiration. I wanted to create a more refined and practical caftan. Caftans can be too bulky for me to work in. I wanted to create a dress that would be comfortable if working from home, but that felt a little more polished than pajamas (without giving up the comfort of pajamas). I also wanted to create something that could be worn into an office for those that don't have ultra-formal dress policies. The Marisa could be dressed up for an evening out or just an afternoon running errands just by swapping your shoes and jewelry.

Tina Lesser along with Claire McCardell were pioneers of independent American fashion and design. They invented this casual style of dressing that we now know as sportswear and associate with American style Fashion. While Claire McCardell was known for her simple styles and couture-like finishes on everyday wear like house dresses and on denim. Tina Lesser was known for bringing global influences to everyday wear.

 Like Claire McCardell, she focused on styles for women for normal, daily life. Real women. Not the women in photos living the lives we'd all like to lead, like Marisa Berenson sitting on top of a house in Sardinia. She made clothing for the lives women were actually leading while still making them beautiful and functional.