I always like to be on a journey, so in my mind, the EMILY MEYER woman is always on a journey. It’s a journey from where, or who, she was, on to her next iteration. The concept of moving from one place to another is usually how I approach a new collection. I look at the last collection and let myself be affected by it; respond to it. Where was I then? What was I doing? How did I feel? How do I feel about it now? My reaction to where I was usually always dictates where I go next.
The de facto core of Spring / Summer 2015 was a bustling and hot New York City full of exciting things, fast life, and a little mischief. SS15 was about playful and sophisticated irreverence.
Towards the end of August, my mood becomes more serene, nostalgic, and introspective in advance of the inevitable change in seasons. Fall and winter are all about nostalgia and traditions for me. The rituals and traditions of this time invite recollection and romanticism of the past. It’s a wholesome time of year. Though, under the romance, nostalgia, and wholesome veneer, there’s often a lot of unsettling change and revolution happening. Much of the world comes to a screeching halt in August, the hustle of life stops, and the focus is on sun-drenched pleasure and relaxation. September begins, and the engine revs up again. Students go back to school, business picks up, people make changes they’d put off, and get real after months of vacation and play. Fall is a time for starting anew. It’s no secret, however, that changes usually bring anxiety, pressure, and tension…even if they’re good changes.
I approached Fall / Winter 2015 with this dichotomy in my mind: romanticized nostalgia and wholesomeness v. the unsettling nature of inevitable change. My inspiration coalesced immediately. I saw people, a place, and heard the soundtrack all at once: Warwick, New York, the late 1960s, Stan Getz’s 1969 release, Didn’t We.
Warwick is a small agricultural town in the Hudson Valley (home to the Applefest festival every fall) where my mother’s family comes from. It has that typical reasonable and decent small town feel, and is set amidst a breathtaking panorama as the leaves change throughout the Valley in the fall. Only an hour away from New York City, Warwick is a close respite from the grit of city living, and a time machine back to a simpler time and slower life; it’s a place to retreat and recharge. I can’t think of it without thinking of my grandmother’s childhood there.
The late 1960s also came to mind for obvious reasons: the wholesome and traditional style and aura of the 40s and 50s was breathing its last breaths as a cultural and political revolution raged, and the country hurled toward inevitable change. Pride, optimism, and conservatism was giving way to rebellion, self-discovery, and liberalism. The series Mad Men captured the broody tension of this era very well, and the show’s imagery was top of mind as I designed FW15. Also top of mind were cultural and visual icons of that time: Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot, Barbra Streisand, etc.
Accordingly, FW15 has traditional and classic overtones with a revolutionary undertone. Tweaks to timeless silhouettes make things feel contemporary, while colors, patterns, and fabrics harken back to the 1960s: velvet, burgundy, fancy dark brown yellow, gingham, pinstripes, and plaid. Design elements nod to vintage styles but are edited for today.
The official playlist is an aural extension of the collection, and fully captures the traditional/revolutionary mood. The songs, themselves, skew toward classic (rather than being distinctly of the 60s counterculture), yet their arrangements are uniquely 60s. There’s an unsettling mystery about them: they cling to the past while pursuing a new sound unlike any other. While not included on the playlist, an album that captures the dichotomy of this collection, and the era, perfectly is Stan Getz’s legendary 1969 album, Didn’t We. The clothes, the sounds, and the scenery should make you smile to yourself with heart-warming nostalgia…as you push forward into unchartered territory.
Gingham was a staple of the 60s British Mod style.
Mick Jagger and Yves Saint Laurent helped to take pinstripes beyond the office.
Burgundy emerged as the rich hue of energetic rebellion.
60s cultural icons from the FW15 mood board.
The Warwick landscape, dotted with colonial farmhouses.
Old farmhouse and silos in Warwick, NY. Photo courtesy of Emily Clack, 2010.