panda head interviews...
i first met stacy mcneal when i was working at the remix vintage. she really was the ideal customer - not only did she have a huge knowledge of and appreciation for vintage, but she was able to style and incorporate it in a way that was never anything less than contemporary. it came as no surprise, then, when i found out that she designed accessories, that her own pieces reflected her innate ability to reference the past while still looking completely modern. from her leather 'grenwich' tote to the ridiculously gorgeous 'tear it up' topaz earrings, stacy mcneal designs are lady-like but never stuffy, statement-making but incredibly versatile, and more more more than worth a look!
how would you describe your personal style, and to what extent is that reflected in your line?
All over the map.
I collect and wear 40s & 60s era clothing, mostly for their structure and sometimes a lack thereof. But I will say I blend some version of current fashion trend with SOMEthing vintage and go from there. This is my formula when I get dressed, almost always.
My line reflects how I personally like to accessorize, and I'm finding that sometimes that stance results in my generally ignoring what the majority of people are currently doing. I try to dress instincively - on my own terms and doing what works. Some aspects are constants though - like animal prints - I think they are so utterly sexy and relevant and timeless, and they are always on hand in my closet, which is known affectionately as "The Garage".
how does the design process typically work for you?
My process is really varied (and likely) too boring to explain...I see something and it just goes on to take its own direction, usually. Sometimes it's controlled; sometimes it just "happens."
what's your favorite stacy mcneal design?
I'm in love with jewelry in general and have been since I was very young and annoying my mother by rooting (uninvited) through hers! Hands down, I love to wear cuff bracelets most. I have dozens in my own vintage stash and my sterling silver collection features several options as well. They're bold and typically on the large side. I like them because a strong bracelet can do a whole lot of work all by itself. And they go everywhere well, too.
you design bags, jewelry, and belts. how do you get dressed - is it accessories first, then clothes? is one more important than the other?
Accessories are always first, and to me they are most important. I will confess, it usually starts with The Shoes. What's fun for me is somehow managing to look distinctive, while at the same time appearing natual and very comfortable at that level, and whatever the occassion may require.
who or what inspires you, style-wise?
There's really no "who" prototype. But there are, of course, Steve McQueen, Tina Turner, Sharon Stone, and (who can neglect?) Medusa. Mainly, just stong personalities who do their thing and get on with it - on their own terms. I try to be attentive to the fact that style takes many forms: beautiful architecture, an elegant wild animal, a color found only in nature, a vintage auto, film. It's everywhere. Authenticity is really stylish to me.
where do you like to shop in and around DC?
There is no rock I will not consider peering underneath if I think it has cool stuff!!! Having said that, I go everywhere and have learned the hard way to keep the best places under my hat, so to speak.
what are your thoughts on DC style, in general?
DC's not the most adventurous place in that regard...Of course, it may be unfair to compare DC to New York, a city rife with creative people and arty institutions with the theater, design houses, and an all-over tremendous energy saturates NYC and generates a style all its own. A vital factor that contributes to create that city's unmatched and highly visible street style. But I do think DC is gaining ground; we live in an international city and that helps in positive ways to ramp-up style awareness and brings us exposure to things in other parts of the world, and that includes the fashion world.
interview: morgan. photos by yvonne taylor. stacy mcneal designs are available for purchase at stacymcneal.com, so click click.