To The Original Icon, Happy Mother’s Day

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In honor of Mother’s Day I had wanted to create a tribute to the fashionable moms and daugthers in recent history (re: Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lisa Bonet and Zoe Kravitz, Anna Wintour and Bee Shaffer).  Yet, while flipping through online galleries of these lovely women, I realized more and more that the individual whom I most wanted to pay homage to was my original fashion icon–a true Betty–my mother.  A self-proclaimed hater of shopping (except when it comes to buying accessories and plants for the garden) my mom wouldn’t describe herself as a fashionista.  Yet I credit her, and thank her more than she knows, for teaching me by example to embrace vintage and electic pieces and mix them in with more staid, functional classics. Being a first generation Brooklynite with French and Italian parents she may as well have invented the “look” of Park Slope as we all know it now.  Wide brimmed hats, boyfriend jeans embellished by her own embroidery and patchwork, airy linen dresses and espadrills.  She was a teenager in the 1970’s, afterall, a time when Brooklyn was still a far-and-away destination from the established island of Manhattan, budding with its own counter culture.  She was a dancer who studied at the Performing Arts school of Fame fame (she wasn’t in the movie herself but a close friend of her’s was) and later at the Sorbonne in Paris where she tells stories of the bohemian life, taking baths with her cousin and then roommate to conserve water and scraping the mold off of the cheese from the makeshift ice box for lunch.  Stories like these are why, among so many other reasons, she remains of paramount example to me.

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A fearless lover of life and travel into her later years, she just returned home from five weeks traveling through Laos, Cambodia and Thailand with my father.  The two of them bonded over the vagabond lifestyle in their formative years as a couple and have continued fostering it until this day–moving from New York City to Maine where the culture and landscape lends itself more readily to weekend adventures, sprawling backyards and storage for boat, ski and camping equipment.  Her style was always, and is to this day, ammassed of a collection of pieces that tell a story: Italian hiking boots (a bit of her heritage), silk scarves collected in her travels or gifts from loved ones, pearl jewelry purchased by my father on an international flight.  For some it may be hard to pin-point exactly what vibe she is trying to portray.  And that’s because she’s not trying to portray anything.  Her style is very much her own: eclectic, functional, and classicly my mother.

So today, and everyday, I thank her for all that she is and for instilling in me the desire to be my own person, both in fashion and in life.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

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