From the moment that I first stumbed onto Samantha Pleet’s designs, I have been a fan of her wonderful, incredible world and unique aesthetic that she has effortlessly created.
I was smitten by her Fall/Winter 07 presentation, complete with dandy-inspired clothes and beautiful photography. Um, hello dandy romper and vagabond vest!
What’s not to love?
Then, there was that gorgeous, dreamy film (She Comes In Colors) for the Spring/Summer 08 collection (which was filmed in her grandmother’s backyard). Another hit in my book.
photos courtesy of samanthapleet.com
So, when I realized that her most recent Autumn/Winter collection was titled Rapscallion 2008, I could barely contain my excitement.
© Tim Zaragoza
Needless to say, I was more than happy to spend a day with this talented designer and see the clothes up close while geting some insight into her design process. Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Samantha’s studio is a bright, cheery space filled with fashion books, personal ephemera, lots and lots of photographs and treasured pieces of friends’ art.
Essentially, it’s a creative haven and a stimulating environment for anyone. Everywhere, you turn becomes a visual treat for the eyes. From the central, common space where each wall is decorated differently (think a bright, blue wall; a graphic white and black wallpaper on another and a chalkboard wall complete with scribblings) to her actual studio room with light streaming in and an inspiration board covering a whole wall. Tacked to it are bits and pieces of imagery, polaroids and sketches, all of which were used for the Autumn/Winter 08 collection.
For her latest collection, Samantha first found inspiration in this 1976 black-and-white mug shot of a dapper David Bowie. Which then led to a search for turn-of-the-century police mugshots and other notorious riff-raff and interesting vagabonds and rapscallions. Eventually, this idea evolved into the present collection a successful blend of modern silhouettes with playful details complete with names from a bygone era like: Mischief Romper, Treason Jacket, Riff Raff Vest, Bandit Blouse and Hellion Dress.
For the lookbook and fashion show, the models (all friends of Samantha’s) were photographed as if in a police line-up complete with a frontal shot, mug shot and profile view and a description of the crime they were booked for. What makes this collection even more special is the use and colloboration of many of her friends and family, including husband Patrick McGovern. (The two have started a men’s line which debuted this past January called Patrick Pleet).
While Samantha keeps a cabinet of curiosities in her house, she has a wooden trunk filled with childhood treasures and other bits of inspiration that she keeps on top of an archive closet in her studio. During, the day she pulled out a wonderful blue cape and an actual cap with a feather affixed to its side and perhaps the most special piece of all: the very first Samantha Pleet creation, a dress that she made and sewed with the help of her mother for a play she was in as a child. These are the kinds of things that keep Samantha inspired.
Samantha’s definitely come a long way from wearing her own designs into her favorite stores (including TG-170) and having people compliment and order pieces as a result. Since graduating from Pratt** and debuting with her Fall 2006 collection, Samantha has been living the dream of many young designers which is to start their own business and have their designs be recognized.
Click to view our exclusive video featuring a behind-the-scenes look into Samantha Pleet’s studio.
Special thanks to Samantha Pleet for her time and to David Hartman of avant16.com for his wonderful video skills!!
**editor’s note: in the original article it stated Parsons which is inaccurate. Samantha is a Pratt alum.
♥ the alchemist
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