Simonet wears a silk tee from back when Ale et Ange made women’s clothing. The brand now focuses on duds for guys because, according to Simonet, “there’s less out there for men.” She pairs the top with a vintage floral skirt from Screaming Mimi’s (382 Lafayette St between E 4th and Great Jones Sts; 212-677-6464, screamingmimis.com).
“I got them for my 31st birthday in an attempt to get rid of my needle phobia,” says Simonet of the two tattoos she got at North Star Tattoo (74 E 7th St between First and Second Aves; 212-228-6724, northstartattoo.com). This one says love in Sanskrit. Her bracelet is actually a necklace that her father gave her when she was a child.
Vintage tricolor Bruno Magli (brunomagli.com) pumps, another eBay find, provide a stylish contrast to her floral ensemble,
Simonet uses a vintage belt to cinch her ladylike Ale et Ange dress.
The store owner nabbed her Helmut Lang boots (93 Mercer St between Broome and Spring Sts, 212-242-3240 ● 230 Columbus Ave between 70th and 71st Sts, 212-877-3450 ● 755 Madison Ave between 65th and 66th Sts, 212-249-0145 ● helmutlang.com) when she worked the designer’s retirement sale in 2005. “I got to pick through items with the rest of the staff before the crazy line of shoppers were let in the door,” she says. “I would have been mad not to stock up.”
“I used to have an eBay addiction, and I had to quit cold turkey,” admits Simonet. This vintage Dior (dior.com) cardigan was purchased from the site; she uses it to tone down a graphic Ale et Ange dress, cinched with a vintage belt (also probably from eBay).
The store owner’s gold-and-emerald ring originally belonged to her mother. “I begged her for it until she gave it to me,” admits Simonet. The gold chain-link bracelet was also a gift from her mom.
On her left hand, the designer wears her great-grandmother’s engagement ring. “Some people say it’s bad luck to wear it, but I think it’s too pretty to leave sitting in a box,” she says.
Simonet’s delicate necklace (which she also wears as a bracelet) shows her penchant for simple, understated accessories.
“[Ale et Ange designers] are obsessed with stripes and flowers in pretty colors,” Simonet says of her floral top and striped button-down shirt from the brand. White J Brand jeans (jbrandjeans.com) allow the colors to pop.
Delicate Me & Ro star earrings were a birthday gift from someone special.
Simonet’s graphic Ale et Ange hat adds an unexpected dose of humor to her casual getup. ”We call it the Babies Zilla hat,” she explains. “It has babies and boobs on it.”
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Eloïse Simonet, 33; Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; designer and co-owner of Ale et Ange (40 Rivington St between Eldridge and Forsyth Sts; 212-228-9865, aleetange.com)
Her personal style: “A stylist friend describes me as effortless, timeless and minimalist. I like my clothing to have clean lines, no bells and whistles. I play with prints and colors but keep the shapes simple.”
Her style inspirations: “My parents inspire me. My mom is from France and was a film editor in Paris throughout the 1970s. I inherited her taste, style and love for the arts. At present, her style is yoga-Zen. She is Buddhist and teaches yoga in Negril. My father is Jamaican. He loves denim, linen, breezy cottons and camouflage. I have hundreds of family Polaroids from the ’80s and ’90s that serve as a source of inspiration.”
About her store: “The mood is warm, honest and very personal. The [menswear and accessories] provoke thought, conversation and emotion in a manner not dissimilar to those of a painting or sculpture. No mass production here; every item is handmade and unique. Collectors of Ale et Ange have dubbed the pieces ‘wearable art.’ ”
Favorite stores: “Only Hearts (230 Mott St betwen Prince and Spring Sts; 212-431-3694, onlyhearts.com) has lovely lace-trim bras, and I love their sample sales. I often find [designer resale] treasures at Ina (locations throughout the city; visit inanyc.com). Resurrection (217 Mott St between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-625-1374, resurrectionvintage.com) has amazing vintage. My mom introduced me to Me & Ro (241 Elizabeth St between E Houston and Prince Sts; 917-237-9215, meandrojewelry.com). I like jewelry to be small and meaningful, and they seem to have mastered that.”
How her profession influences her style: “We make clothes that we want to be wearing and are fortunate to be able to make a living selling them. So, essentially, selling style is my profession.”
Her New York style icon: “I met Betsey Johnson through my mom when I was around 12. She gave me an unforgettable rainbow swimsuit that I wish I still had. Later, I was fortunate enough to attend a few of her shows. She’s just incredible.”
How her style has evolved: “My skirts have gotten a bit longer. I don’t show as much skin. As I grew up, I learned that it’s better to leave a little to the imagination.”
Favorite salon: “I cut and style my own hair. I once got a haircut at Devachan (560 Broadway between Prince and Spring Sts; 212-274-8686, devachansalon.com). The technique was so simple that I started doing it myself.”
Follow Elizabeth Denton on Twitter: @elizabethann1