Meet the new Madewell

Sty_MadewellDesigner_24
Credit: Miles Dixon

Madewell’s new head of design, Somsack Sikhounmuong, is leading the charge to focus J.Crew’s sister brand into doing what it does best: chic staples for the downtown set. “The kind of things you remember your cool mom or your cool big brother wearing — varsity things, great sweatshirts, jeans, an army jacket — you’re going to find a lot of that stuff as a great base on which to build your wardrobe,” says the Thailand-born, Toronto-bred designer. We hit him up for some spring sneak peeks (his first collection for the brand) and those catalogue-worthy styling tips.

 

What do you think distinguishes the Madewell girl from every other girl?
There’s definitely an authenticity to the girl — she’s very sensory driven. I like to say that she loves her Kindle, but she also loves books, and the touch of books. She loves Spotify and iTunes, but she also loves vinyl. There’s also a curiosity to her. She just likes finding things. She loves blogs but she also loves hanging out with friends and family. She’s a fun, authentic, curious girl.

 

What are some classics every woman should have in her wardrobe?
A great pair of jeans. Even today, you can make a lot more outfits with a pair of skinny jeans, a T-shirt, a great army jacket, a great leather jacket and a great pair of boots.

 

What was the starting point for the spring line?
We wanted to give the Madwell girl the ultimate wardrobe. It’s almost like traveling and packing a bag. You start by putting in all the basics: a great pair of jeans, a great dress, etc. You then go on your trip, and when you come back, the suitcase is a mix of things you picked up, like ethnic things. We were looking at Japanese shibori — sort of a tie-dye technique — Ukrainian blouses and Mexican embroideries thrown in with all of your basics.

 

What are you most excited about for spring?
We’re doing a new denim. It’s this wash called an extraction wash, like a beautiful take on acid wash. It sort of sucks out all the colors to the palest ivories with touches of gray hints here and there. I didn’t want to say “acid wash” because of the negative connotations, but this is actually really special and interesting. And we have great embroideries and eyelets. We’ve taken the sweetness out of eyelets. We’re putting in easy, not-too-frilly silhouettes. The combo of the two — great denim with some really pretty, feminine pieces — is the most exciting thing.

 

Since spring is a ways off, what do you think women should live in for fall?
Neutrals. I always love it when there’s a combination of tones on tones, like a gray on dark gray, or cream with ivory is really beautiful. I think with all these crazy graphic prints we’ve seen over the last few seasons, [it’s nice to have] a palate-cleanser of these really soft, beautiful camels.

 

The girls in Madewell’s catalogues always look so hip. What are some of your favorite styling tips?
There’s a cool, downtown spin to what we do. It’s feminine with the masculine. [I love pairing] a leather jacket with a great dress. When you take the sweetness out of things, it just becomes a little more interesting. [I always think,] “How am I going to make this outfit not too sweet, but not too ‘boy’?” It’s about finding a really nice balance.

 

His style mantras

1. Neutrals are your friends.

2. You can never have enough men’s shirts — nothing is cooler than a girl in her boyfriend’s shirt.

3. Own a vintage pair of jeans — the history behind them give the jeans an authenticity that you don’t get from brand new pairs.

4. Go to an Army store and invest in a great army jacket. It’s seasonless, and so versatile.

5. You definitely have to try — but never too hard.

 

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.