Isabel Marant has become THE designer closest to my favorite era of clothing, the 1960′s. She is French and surprisingly, known for her bohemian aesthetic. Her clothes render the aura of that casual, perfectly tousled, but never over-thought, look. Her most recent venture of notoriety is the collection she designed for H&M. (Today, you aren’t anybody if you haven’t designed for H&M. Who would have thunk that the makers of disposable clothing would garner the likes of Versace, etc, to create for them?) Isabel is the go-to designer for Katie Holmes and has designed for Kate Bosworth, Rachel Weisz, Alexa Chung, and Sienna Miller to name a few others of notoriety.
As a child growing up in France to a German fashion model mother, and French photographer father, she was an outgoing tomboy who was far from girlish. Always creative, she would refashion her father’s clothes, like sweaters or bathrobes, into something “unusual” which she would not hesitate to where to school. She was known at school “for being a type of notorious nut.”
Isabel was also influenced by family trips to many exotic places including; Asia, Africa, India, and the Caribbean. Her parents divorced while she was young and she became greatly influenced by her West-Indian step-mother who was a very chic woman. At about the age of 14, discouraged by her inability to find clothes that she liked, Isabel asked her father for a sewing machine. Unbeknownst to her, the clothes she began making out of discarded pieces of fabric and clothing, were the beginning of an illustrious career. In about 1985, her friends began asking her to make things for them, and by the age of 16, she had earned enough money that she decided to enroll in the prestigious Studio Bercot fashion school in Paris.
Following graduation, Isabel interned with a Parisian designer, Michael Klein. She assisted for other designers but regrets not interning longer with a designer of haute couteur as she loves the craftsmanship of those lines. Nonetheless, in 1989 she began launching her own collections which were somewhere between the elaborate and inaccessible clothes of the Paris catwalks, and the more simplistic styles of other French designers, like Agnes B. The Marant style is said to be feminine, but not super sexy. She is always her “first customer”, if she would wear it , then its a “GO”
Marant debuted her diffusion line, Étoile by Isabel Marant, at the Paris ready-to-wear shows in 1999. The focus of the collection was jeans and T-shirts. The following year she introduced the first full Étoile collection, including lingerie. Marant’s son, Tal, was born in 2003.
Isabel and husband Jérôme Dreyfuss, a handbag designer, live in an apartment in Belleville – a suburb of Paris. Marant spends most of her weekends with her family at their cabin outside of Paris: “It’s a place where you clear your head and come back with fresh ideas.” One thing a bit unusual about the cabin: it has no electricity. So, Isabel and her family live with no lights after dark other than the sky and maybe a fire. Talk about getting out of town and clearing your head. She loves it.
In June 2012 she was awarded Fashion Designer of the Year at British Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards. Then, as every young person knows, her collaboration with H&M last year was hugely successful. It was a sell-out!! So, even if you aren’t young, keep your eye on Isabel, because at this rate, she will be designing for us Over Fiftie’s. Keep your fingers crossed.