May, a blissful month where spring fills the air, fiddleheads and fennel fill the farmers market stands and summer seems a blink away. It's a month bursting with lilac bushels and the soft petalled heads of peonies and fields of lily of the valley who's delicate white bells carry a perfume I patiently wait all year for. I'm writing from Walland, Tennessee where the hills are alive in a vibrant, radiant green and birdsong echos through ancient oak trees. Back home in Sausalito a towering bush of pink roses has engulfed out patio and grown entangled in the blooming jasmine that creeps along our gate, wafting an intoxicating scent through our open kitchen window and making it feel nearly impossible to leave.
In addition to flowers, the month of May brings celebration with a particularly influential for the fashion-focused: The Met Gala. An annual fundraising benefit for the Costume Institute within the Metropolitan Museum of Art and celebration and opening of the museums annual fashion exhibit. This year, that theme and exhibition is Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, a celebration of an influential designer who's work spanned nearly 70 years. While Karl Lagerfeld designed for a number of important fashion houses including Balmain, Patou and Chloé, he is most recognized for the 36 years he reigned as as Chanel's creative director — the only designer to do so following Gabrielle Chanel.
Gabrielle Chanel was a woman with exquisite taste who defied convention, wore mens clothes, popularized women's independence and inspired a new era of simple, practical garments. The restraint, simplicity and elegance of Chanel's clothes has served as a prominent inspiration in my work for Perennial over many years. The 'beach pajama' is one example of this, which Chanel began wearing in 1918 while vacationing on the French Riviera. These loose, billowing sets with straight, wide leg pants (which were originally inspired by sailor's pants) worn with oversized tops are what inspired my love of corresponding garments and the idea of a versatile set. Beginning with a black floral silk gazar set made in 2017 for my capstone presentation, to the hemp/silk set in 2018 and more recently, with the 'Rialto' and 'Palazzo' silk satin sets, this pairing continues to be an integral thread in Perennial's evolving collection.