Women Who Inspire: Isabel Marant

(Photo Courtesy of IsabelMarant.com)

NAME: Isabel Marant

AGE: 47

OCCUPATION: Designer, founder of Isabel Marant

WHO SHE IS: A native Parisian, Isabel Marant began her career as an accessory designer in 1989, before founding her own eponymous ready-to-wear fashion line in 1994. The label’s boho-chic/street-style sensibility quickly made it an indie darling, filled with cozy sweaters, slouchy knits, fitted jackets, funky shoes, loose-fitting trousers and luscious scarves. Now a Fashion Week staple, Isabel’s wares have been featured in fashion magazines around the world, and in 2013, she collaborated on a line with H&M, a partnership that had previously been reserved for uber-famous, household names like Karl Lagerfield and Versace. Isabel has three boutiques in Paris, a whopping nine in Asia and one in New York (not to mention wholesale locations and stock in online stores throughout Europe and the U.S.).

WHY SHE INSPIRES ME: When I was a little girl, I wanted so badly to be a little Parisian princess. I spoke faux French to my most sophisticated stuffed animals while I played dress-up. But I didn’t go for the fancy, frilly gowns, or the tutu skirts and tiaras. Instead, I favored oversized sweaters, fringy scarves and ill-fitting leather ankle boots that I found rummaging through my mother’s closet. I look back now and see that I was essentially a mini Marant — a (wanna-be) French woman drinking coffee at cafes (which, in reality, was a mug filled with prune juice that I sipped while sitting at my desk). Needless to say I’m now a total fan, and I’m amazed at how she started so small and made it so big, purely as a result of her own uncompromising, off-the-cuff style; an ahead-of-its time look that we now see everywhere.

If it weren’t for my slim wallet, I’d probably wear Isabel Marant daily, head-to-toe. But the pieces of hers that I do own I cherish. And when I wear them, I feel a little like that little girl again — free of fashion rules and regulations; playful yet sophisticated at the same time. The only real difference is, I can now drink a true cup of coffee.

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