Walking into Marina’s Upper West Side flat was walking into a dream. I’ll let the following images back me up. Her generous hospitality and warm demeanor made me feel right at home (tea? croissant? don’t mind if I do!), as did her delicately alluring style. Everything felt effortless, elevated, and dare I say it, relatable. That’s the beauty of our Style Stories. We get to experience the lifestyles of women we admire and share that here with you. This shoot was the perfect start to my day and I hope it will be for you too. Meet Marina!
Describe your style in 3 words.
Feminine, undone, subtle details.
What’s most important when it comes to style: comfort, beauty, or innovation?
Most valued thing in your closet?
An Oscar de la Renta all – embroidered lace applique gown from their SS12 runway. I appreciate the handwork and can never seem to part with it.
Do you have a fashion muse?
I love Bianca Jagger
Are there things you don’t wear?
I don’t like to wear any athleisure clothing, I just cannot get into this. I do yoga for exercise but I prefer to wear plain cotton leggings and good quality cotton t-shirts.
You mentioned that you mainly wear white, year round, which might come as a surprise to some. How did this evolve to be your signature style? And what are your tricks to making it work in the colder months?
I don’t really know where it came from, I just know that I feel really good when I wear white, fresher, happier I suppose. White makes it alright! I have long collected vintage white cotton blouses and they are still to this day my favorite pieces to wear just with jeans. In the winter, I layer white Victorian style gowns and blouses over pants and fine knits. I don’t like my clothes under my coat to ever feel heavy even in the winter, and these kinds of garments make me feel light and feminine.
Each piece in Merlette’s collection makes a statement and carries so much versatility in the way it can be worn. What is the inspiration behind the way you design your collections?
We design based on traditional embroidery techniques and attempt to modernize them and make them wearable on an everyday basis. One of our signatures in smocking, and I love experimenting with new techniques and all different types of handwork. The questions we ask ourselves for every piece we design is, would I want to travel with this or does it inspire me to book a holiday even though I wasn’t thinking of one!? Is it easy to pack in a suitcase? Can I also pair it back to jeans and wear it in the evening as well as on the beach or to a work meeting? It must have multi-use. And we want women to just feel really special and for the piece to complement her own uniqueness.
As a native Aussie, an adopted Brit, and now, a fellow New Yorker, you have traveled around quite a bit – what have you learned from each place and how have they effected your personal style?
As an Aussie, I grew up dressing for comfort and warmer climate, this is where my love of cotton began I suppose but it was always a very casual lifestyle – in the car, at the beach… the vibe is so different to here.
When I first moved to London, I loved that I could get very dressed up in the day and just go out to tea or a museum if I felt like it! There I did not feel I needed an occasion to get dressed up. Also, the cooler climate encourages more effort and that’s where I really developed my creativity in my own styling and discovering more about what I liked and trying new fabrics, constructions. I started to mix vintage with designer and I became experimental and wore lots of prints, colors and layering.
In New York, I find most of the time I am working and travelling more than ever before, and really am way too tempted go back to the same things day after day! I try to have few good quality long lasting pieces, so I have simplified my style more and prefer minimalism these days but always with subtle details.