MAE X VAL: How it Started
In January, I sat down to make a list. I'm a big list lady - to do lists, fabric lists, finance lists, grocery lists, you name it (also they must all be on actual paper so that I can inevitably doodle dresses in the margins). On this particular day, I was creating a list of dream partnerships for MAE - hotels, stylists, boutiques, influencers, celebrities - a 'one day' list if you will. At the top of this list was Ms. Valerie Dittner - a Houston-based stylist that I had discovered on instagram over the holidays. It's rare that I find someone who's style I just instantly connect with, but I was enamored with Valerie's - print mixing, feathers, sequins, leopard, vintage touches - she was speaking my love language.
But above all, I was in love with how often she re-wore and styled her wardrobe. She uses her platform to encourage women to build a wardrobe that they can wear 100 ways and to purchase items that are meant to last - i.e. the literal MAE mantra.
The MAE x VAL collaboration was born after one very excited zoom call in February, where Valerie and I both suggested that we start creating something together as soon as possible...and it has been a match mae'd in heaven ever since (hehe)!
The Design Process
We began the design process by identifying a jacquard fabric to build a story around (since we both knew a statement coat was a must have!). I sent Val 5 options I had found in the NYC garment district and she picked a gorgeous red and pink silk blend.
From there I began to pull additional fabrics to build the story and the palette - a rich lipstick red and pastry pink from the jacquard, a classic denim blue, neutrals for a must-have leopard moment and then a pop of aqua for an unexpected twist.
Next, I asked Leslie of @luxuryshrinkart to begin painting leopard print options for us - and val and I both fell in love with this original watercolor ink she created. We had her take the original artwork and add highs and lows of blushes, neutrals and blacks to create our signature watercolor leopard print.
Once we had our prints confirmed, we added our solids. First, a stunning red Linton tweed from England, a stretch denim (deadstock from one of Carolina Herrera's recent collections), and finally (since it's me) a silk blend pique to execute a perfect cocktail dress moment.
In the end, all of the pieces sat seamlessly together and I truly believe are the perfect mix of Valerie's quirky and fun print and color influence with our impeccable fit and classic silhouettes. I hope you love the collection as much as we do - see a sneak peak of Val's photoshoot below! :)
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