My kids don’t understand that women of a certain age talk to each other much more readily and familiarly than ever before in our lives. When they see me doing it they are sure it’s just another sign of my impending dotage. I tell them about it in glowing terms but it makes no difference. So I become more and more a cartoon character to them every day.
Having said that: I LOVE this new altered universe where lots of what we held onto in our earlier lives is melting away and what’s left is our collective selves trying to figure out the last quarter. I love the knowing nods we give to each other in passing. I love the unspoken understanding that we know each other, no words necessary.
What does this have to do with South Street Linen? Everything, from what we design to our conversations with customers. What we think about when we design and chose fabrics: will this be really fun to wear? really comfortable? make us so damn cute? sophisticated? feel beautiful and cared about by the choice of linen. We pay attention to what is happening to ourselves (you) and what would make us (you) feel great about it. (It’s a process for God’s sake, so let’s have fun with it!)
Aside from seeing the designs come alive, (and after all the tweaking to get it market-ready) a most fun thing about this business is seeing how things fit on different bodies, what women love about how it looks ..(last summer, a young client looking in the mirror exclaimed: “I didn’t think I’d look good in YOUR clothes!”… just sayin’…) and in the process the inevitable conversations about our bodies and our lives. It happens about every time in the store. For the record: we are still talking about our bodies as a comparative exam; it’s hard wired and we know it. But after we give it the nod and brush- off it deserves we turn to what is really happening and what we want: access to family and community, intelligent conversation, air to breathe, music, good reading, great food, mobility…an ongoing, evolving, elegant reflection of what’s important in life.
And it’s not that we will all become best friends but that we understand each other like never before… because we’ve had the time to get to know ourselves.
The kids will get there…they just can’t know it yet.
We have always known that our demographic is us, making it easy to know who we are designing for, but hideously painstaking to pull it off. There is every type of woman and body with every idea of what makes her look good. It’s infinite. SO! What we are shooting for are designs that make us all look DAMN good…everyday…. and are so comfortable that they are our favorite go tos.
(Aren’t you sick of looking at clothes and thinking “who wears that?” Or “I know who wears that and it isn’t me.” We are, so we design.)
We are focusing on flattering, wickedly fun-to-wear, austere, utilitarian clothing. Unusually stylish and practical; taking every-day up a notch. And we think we’ve got it; finishing last minute tweaks so we all feel happy that we’ve come up with the optimum designs for all of us.
A coat dress that can be worn in a million ways: dressy or not at all.
A gored twirly skirt that is crazy flattering.
Ankle pants that Lynn looked for all last summer.
A bias cut, long, sleeveless top that morphed into a knee length shift and a tea length dress.
A bias cut trapeze dress that is a blast to wear because it has a twirly skirt and pockets!
A better than usual jacket AND
Men’s shirts in a band collar and small regular collar.
All in linen: stripes, polka dots, sparkly for dress up, dyed tomato, gray, citron and of course black and white.
I’m photographing this weekend for the website, so you’ll see what’s available in a few days. Scarves are all but done and hanging in the store. Coat dresses will be in by next week; some already instore. Pants and skirts are close behind. Two bias cuts are a few weeks away. Same with the men’s shirts.
We are about to burst and it’s EXTREMELY hard to wait. Stay tuned, ok?
We three spent a morning last week with Prairie Stuart-Wolff and Hanako at their home/studio in Union. The mission was to choose pottery for our shop but the visit is always much more than that. Who they are, how they live and do their work is so quietly integrated; it’s a meditation on life.
Back in our shop the pottery looks distilled and elegant. It could only have come from generations of this kind of intention.
We are so lucky to have them in our lives.
(read Prairie’s Cultivated Days blog to get a regular dose of what I’m talking about. And see Hansko’s pottery at www.Monohanako.com)
BIggest surprise of the summer? How gratifying it is to see women love how they look in our designs. Women of all ages, but let’s be honest, lots of boomers, who had long given up ever loving the way they look in clothes again. Pure joy rekindled; making us come back to the design table with an even bigger commitment to keep making it work for all of us.
Summer, specifically on Vinalhaven, continues to be unbelievably good to South Street Linen. Everything is selling like crazy. Did we find a little island of Linen Country?
We know we appeal to artful women, women who look for original design and quality construction. We make sense to boomers; they are us! And recently younger women are beginning to get what our clothes are about. A young mom tried our sleeeveless dress (it will be on website in the next two weeks) at the Vinalhaven store last week and said : “I didn’t think I’d want to look like you but I love this!” So we are beginning to understand who loves our designs. Now to find them. We are looking for all those little settlements of Linen Country!
OK, here’s our list of places that may belong to Linen Country: New Orleans, Palo Alto, Santa Barbara, Napa, Scottsdale, Southern Florida, Charleston, Austin and Ponte Vedra. Linen revolution here we come!
If you want to tell us places/enclaves/colonies you think might work, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org