Angie Wright of Mer
Get ready for summer with this spanking-new, ultrafemme line.
Thu May 22 2008
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin
What it is
French for ocean, Mer is Brooklyn model-turned-designer Angie Wright’s first capsule line of retro-inspired summery linen and cotton pieces ($288–$488). And they’ll appeal to both beach-bound ladies and citified types.
Who she is
After taking a quilting class with her sister, Celeste Wright, owner of beloved Fort Greene boutique Stuart & Wright, Angie began dabbling in sewing during her downtime while modeling for catalogs and commercials. “I probably sold you potato chips, toothpaste or hair color,” jokes the ten-year mannequin for Ford Models. But her crafty pastime quickly evolved into a full-fledged sartorial obsession, after she couldn’t find dresses that she liked for her honeymoon on the Italian Riviera. Friends started asking for her sweet, frill-free styles, and Wright soon found herself devouring books about fashion and fabrics at the Costume Institute.
What she makes
Sparked by her experience as a former photographer for rollingstone.com and her sister’s discerning eye as a buyer, Wright edited her spring lineup down to a mere eight breezy pieces—each inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s Mediterranean flick L’Avventura and her favorite Cape Cod beaches. Ever practical, Wright also wanted her designs to be as functional as they are romantic, so the New England native drew from her catwalking experience and her hours logged behind the counter to create Mer’s easy silhouette. “It’s an invaluable fit lab,” explains the part-time Stuart & Wright shopgirl of her days minding the store. “You see what people try on, how they react, and they give you feedback.” Happily, the response has been overwhelmingly positive: A purple plaid empire-waist frock cut from sturdy Japanese cotton that’s “as light as air,” according to Wright, sold out in a mere two weeks. For Wright, it’s fabrics—she painstakingly researches and treats them—that make or break a fledgling label. “Even the silks are washed and broken in, so nothing’s precious or perfect.”
Where it’s at
Stuart & Wright, 85 Lafayette Avenue between South Elliott Place and South Portland Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-797-0011), and Steven Alan, 103 Franklin Street between Church Street and West Broadway (212-343-0692).
Best culture fix
“The Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Rd at Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens; 718-204-7088)is dedicated to the works of one of my favorite sculptors, Isamu Noguchi.”
“Aquinna—also called Gay Head—in Martha’s Vineyard is incredible. It has these cliffs and red clay that people smear on themselves. It’s Native American land out there, so it’s just so private and beautiful.”
A.P.C.’s Madras line. “Someone probably took years to design them: They look simple, which is the hardest thing to do.” Available at A.P.C. (131 Mercer St between Prince and Spring Sts, 212-966-9685).
Things to do in NYC
“Madiba’s (195 DeKalb Ave at Carlton Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-855-9190) South African dishes make you feel like you’re in Cape Town, and they treat all their customers like a king or a queen.”
“Pratt Institute’s campus (200 Willoughby Ave between Classon Ave and Hall St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-636-3600) has an amazing sculpture garden right in Brooklyn. You might stumble across a work by Richard Serra or some other totally world-class artist, and it’s completely free.”
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