Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Style Files: Laurann Claridge

{The Lovely and Multi-Talented, Laurann Claridge}

Laurann Claridge knows style. Whether she is working her magic on a photo shoot as Features Editor for PaperCity magazine or designing for her clothing label, Claridge + King, a line of “loungewear inspired by menswear fabrics and tailoring, classically redefined for her”, Laurann knows what’s chic. Laurann founded Claridge + King with her sister, Lizbeth King in 2008. The duo drew inspiration from their youth in Connecticut, where their fascination with menswear began after making habit of wearing their dad’s button-downs. Personally, I draw great inspiration from Laurann’s many talents, particularly her adept way of showcasing some of the most beautiful interiors in Houston in PaperCity, and of course, the easy elegance of the pieces she’s designed for Claridge + King.

 

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Name: Laurann Claridge

Occupation: Co-founder of Claridge + King

Hometown: Avon, Connecticut (born in NYC)

Current City: Houston, Texas

{Laurann (right), with her sister and partner Lizbeth King}

LDV: What inspired you to begin your career in clothing design?

LC: For years I yearned to launch an entrepreneurial venture in fashion with my sister, Liz (Lizbeth King, she’s our MBA business wiz). We desired to fill our closets with great, versatile pieces, specific in their cut and fabrication, which we simply couldn’t find anywhere else.

DSC_0262[1] {Claridge + King’s Slub Cotton Jewel Tee is available in dark wash blue and white.}

LDV: What do you love most about it? What is the most challenging aspect?

LC: I love to learn. I find the very concept of waking up and wondering what a new day will hold, who I’ll meet and what I’ll discover—so exciting. The most challenging part is realizing, however, you can’t do it all and do it well–simultaneously. I’m a believer that the best creative endeavors are collaborative efforts. I strive to surround myself with people who push me and bring out the best in my work, and I hope to inspire them to do the same so collectively we create something that’s better, bigger than the sum of its parts.

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LDV: Where do you find inspiration?

LC: Almost anywhere. But mostly I stumble upon it when I move myself–literally–way out of my comfort zone, travel and explore the world.

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{Claridge + King’s essential Basic V Tee is available in slate and greige.}

LDV: Who are some of your personal style icons?

LC: Slim Keith and Kate Moss for the gorgeous, effortless looking way they put themselves together; Pauline de Rothschild for the manner in which she made a grand estate feel like home and entertained graciously; and Diana Vreeland for her personal style, verve and witty proclamations in print.

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LDV: How would you describe your own style?

LC: I strive for a sense of easy, elegance. I’m drawn to timeless, updated pieces/ensembles that never feel contrived or trendy, but evolve over the years. I prefer a mix of new and vintage clothing and bold accessories that set it all apart.

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LDV: What is the trait you most admire in a person?

LC: A combination that blends sincerity with genuine humility and a penchant for great generosity.

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LDV: What is your principal weakness?

LC: I work too much. Everyday I consciously strive to achieve a better balance between the work I love and the break we all need to recharge and reconnect with family and friends.

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{The Mandarin Drawstring Shirtdress from Claridge + King’s cleverly named, His is Hers Collection comes in crisp white and dark blue/white stripe.}

LDV: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

LC: “Try it! Why not, what’s the worst thing that can happen? You fail? Well then just pick yourself up and try something else.” You should never let failure or the threat of it defeat your spirit or, for that matter, get carried away with success and the accolades that often come with it.

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LDV: What do you consider your greatest achievement? What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

LC: Resisting the temptation to live way beyond my means. It’s too easy to do with all the beauty that surrounds us materially. I try to distill it down to the small pleasures and take great delight in the occasional splurge. Never overlook the joy of fresh flowers, alluring scents, a good meal (whether it’s humble or haute), and wearing a beautifully cut piece of clothing can bring. Be aware, present and live in the moment.

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peonies in trad we trust {Source}

 

Bloom: Fresh peonies, tulips, hydrangea and lily of the valley.

Food: I live to eat, not the other way around! My day practically revolves around every meal. I love to cook (shortly after college I moved to Paris and studied for my grande diplome at La Varenne). Summer is my favorite season of all because I crave the fresh berries, cherries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, and more it brings! Spicy, chunky gazpacho, a warm blueberry cobbler, watermelon and goat cheese salad—are some of my very favorite summertime dishes.

Drink: The occasional well-crafted classic cocktail. At the moment it’s a dirty gin martini with Stilton stuffed olives or a fruity sangria. I’m fascinated by well-made cocktails and all the accoutrements that go into making them. It’s quite a contradiction in my life because I’m a lightweight, who rarely can sip more than a couple drinks without getting totally looped, but I love to entertain and mix them for others. When I travel I seek out old school bars that serve classic, artisan style cocktails too.

 DSC_0257[1] {Claridge + King’s Modal Swing Cardigan is available in olive, charcoal, and navy peacoat. Imagine the possibilities!}

 

Thing to Wear: Coats. I adore trench coats, jackets, blazers and long sweaters, vintage and from the current collections. I wear them nearly year round to ward off a chill, best yet they pair well with the simple silhouettes we create at Claridge + King. And I also love collecting great accessories to go with it all, particularly belts and chunky jewels.

Destination: London. In the States: Los Angeles (Love that you can beach it, hike it or bike it one day, shop or spa day it another and eat well in between.)

Season: Autumn in New England.

 

{Painting by Rachel Lee Hovnanian}

 

Meal: Veuve Cliquot Rosé, a crisp, piping hot coal fired pizza and beautiful fresh salad (or an array of them antipasto style). Of course, I prefer to be eating it all in a trattoria in Florence or in the hills of Tuscany, but Houston’s Dolce Vita will do very nicely too.

Musician: It ranges really, from Nina Simone and Etta James to Jay-Z and James Blunt. It’s all about my mood.

Artist: Rachel Hovnanian (Meredith Long Gallery, Houston and Jason McCoy, NYC). Born and bred in Houston, Rachel is a New York based artist whose multi-media work focuses on the power and burden of beauty and the importance our society places upon those superficial ideals. It’s the best work she’s done and is captivating critics and collectors alike. She’s also a friend of mine so I’m especially proud to see the exciting ascent her career has taken.

 

{The Fabulousness of Auntie Mame, Image via Apartment Therapy}

 

Film: Auntie Mame (specifically with Rosalind Russell). Stages in Houston is bringing the play back this fall with Sally Edmundson in the role of Mame Dennis, which inspired me to do a style page for September’s PaperCity magazine devoted to all things Auntie Mame!

Television Show: Mary Tyler Moore on Hulu.com But I’m crazy about the talking heads/interview shows from 60 minutes to Joy Behar to Larry King too. And for a reality show the Biggest Loser sucks me in—the determination and drive to literally reshape their lives and bodies is awe-inspiring.

Book: Vogue’s Book of Etiquette (circa1948) and cookbooks galore. Especially like Cook’s Illustrated The Best Recipe (I give it as a gift a lot) and Martha Stewart and Ina Garten’s myriad books. To take me away: anything by Truman Capote, Patrick Dennis or Somerset Maugham.

 

{Laurann is the Features Editor at Paper City Magazine}

 

Magazines: World of Interiors, Vogue, Australian Vogue Entertaining, Cook’s Illustrated, New York, and Elle Decor

Blogs: PaperCityMag.com—I have very talented colleagues–and La Dolce Vita!

Texture: Grasscloth and vintage dressmaker grosgrain ribbon.

 

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{The Sumptuous Silk Charmeuse Jewel T-Shirt Dress comes in sapphire, gray pearl, and rose gold. It also looks fabulous with pants!}

 

Fabric or Pattern: Silk charmeuse. It inspired me to design our Jewel T-Shirt Dress ($150). It’s a gorgeous, fluid shift that doubles as a tunic (in three hues: sapphire, gray pearl and rose gold). It’s our go to piece that will take you anywhere. And the price is an absolute steal.

Color: Gray, in every shade. I’ve been obsessed for decades.

Scent: Actually I collect fragrance–mostly boutique brands. Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Fredéric Malle remains my very favorite.

 

domino flowers{Beautiful Peonies featured in Domino}

Extravagance: Fresh flowers in my home—at all times.

Quote: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank.

 

Image Credits:

First Image by Tria Giovan

Claridge + King shots by Steve Henry

Laurann’s Apartment shots by Patrick Cline for Lonny Magazine

9 comments:

Ludmila {creamylife.com} said...

Such a talented lady! Her aesthetic is so unique and catchy! Oh and her favorite flowers are my favorite too, just each one of them!

Laura Trevey said...

Wonderful post!!

I love peonies, tulips, and hydrangeas as well :)

Jen said...

Is it bad that the thing that caught my eye the most was that gorgeous studded belt?? Dude, I WANT that belt! ;-)

.::P-G-de-R::. said...

wow

Anonymous said...

I wasn't familiar with her before, but I loved this interview. Thanks for featuring this elegant, stylish lady.

I love that jewel t-shirt dress!!

sabrina said...

Beautiful!! Peonies are my most favorite flowers!

xxSabrina

www.rubypr.com/blog

Marcus Design said...

Wonderful interview! It's nice to learn more about Laurann, I so enjoyed the photos of her home in Lonny.
Nancy

Caitlin @ Sacramento Street said...

It was so much fun getting to know Laurann better. I've been wanting a Claridge + King robe for a very long time - her line is incredible!

Thanks for the lovely post Paloma!

Karen Davis said...

Beautiful style and great interview!