From time travel to traveling the world, La Mer founder and creator Martine always keeps a close watch on new design inspirations for each collection. Read on as Martine talks Paris, favorite moments in time, and working on actually being on time.
1. What was your motivation behind starting a watch line? I founded La Mer Collections after taking a year off of my design studies to travel overseas to Africa and Asia. I love souvenirs because once I'm back from any trip I can look at an object and dream of where I picked it up. I was so inspired by my time away that when I returned home, I wanted to design and create a line of watches that reminded me of my travels.
2. What is the meaning behind the name, La Mer? La Mer means 'The Ocean' or 'The Water' in French and I love anything to do with the ocean, sun and sand. My best memories as a child are at the coast and even now La Mer Collections' offices are a few blocks from the water.
3. What was your inspiration for this collection? This season I wanted to focus on colors that I found in some of my most inspiring moments traveling through Italy and Paris —paintings, beautiful sculptures and light at different times of the day. Additionally I just came out with a new face called 'The Chateau' — it's a hexagon shape, which blends all of the current watch case shapes into one. Each season I try to pair really simple and easy to wear watch faces with complex and unusual straps.
4. How do your watches stand out from the rest? There is a lot of love and work in each watch! La Mer's leather strap production is all made in the USA and our focus is on beautiful, custom styles that speak more to a person's personality and experience of the product. We offer customization on our website and for each of our customers we try to offer bright dynamic styles that show color and personality.
5. Would you rather: go back in time, or see the future? I would like to see the future! There are so many places to travel to, things to do and items to create.
6. What has been your favorite moment of all time? My top two moments are walking into the new office space for La Mer this last summer and taking out canoe trips in Algonquin Park in Canada during the summer when I was younger.
7.Are you always: early, late, or on time? Usually I'm about 5-10 minutes late (I am really working on this for 2013!) — there is always one last task to complete, or conversation that I'm trying to squeeze into my busy day.
8. How do you wear your La Mer watch? I wear my La Mer Collections' watches with my favorite gold lions bracelet that my Aunt gave to me as a birthday gift From India — it's a good luck charm!
9. What is your favorite piece from the Spring collection? I LOVE the Fuchsia friendship bracelet — the colors are inspired by a watercolor painting of the sunset. Also, the Navajo/turquoise charm wrap is a fave, the construction of the jewelry portion is new for this season, it is easy to wear but still really unusual.
Designing the perfect t-shirt is a big feat, but to 19 4t designer Linda, it was a challenge that needed to be met. Her line of fitted-yet-relaxed shirts and sweaters make for the perfect companion for shredded jeans to men's harem pants. Linda gives us the dish on her phenomenal fabrics, favorite piece from the collection, and nostalgia for decades past.
1. What was your motivation behind starting 19 4t? 19 4t began as an effort to combine comfort with luxury. It was an idea that would soon create a new niche that was non-existent in the marketplace.
2. What is the meaning behind the name? Linda was the most sought out name for a female in the '40s. Representing the designer was key when looking into branding the name. In order to help represent the line both as a knit and jersey line, the "40" pronunciation was converted to a "t" for t-shirts.
3. What was your inspiration for this Spring collection? Inspirations are always conceptual and I find that when I go to design a new collection it's never one idea that executes into the end result. The brand is ever changing and I always try to re-create what is thought of as the norm. In this case I exaggerated a typical "v" panel that you find on many sweatshirts from various brands and took a chance by adding in contrast fabrication, exaggerating the "v" and adding piping. Once I was all done, it represented a futuristic woman prancing around in her chic sweatshirt.
4. Describe the 19 4t girl in 3 words: Confident, Classic, Leader
5. How do your tees stand out from the rest? The line is predominantly made of Japanese fabrication, which is the best in the marketplace. If we ever use local fabrication, we tend to source from mills that are comparable to our Japanese mills. We source high quality cottons and cotton blends that tend to set us apart from a world of manufacturing that mostly focuses on mass production.
6. If you can live in a different decade, which would it be and why? Well, I am an eighties child and that's where my heart belongs. I dream of having lived my later teens in the eighties and experiencing music and fashion in an era that I find to be most creative.
7. How would you style the classic white t-shirt? I like oversized men's t-shirts from RRL or my favorite Acne cotton tee that is impossible to find from eons ago and pair them with a black torn skinny jean or men's drop crotch pants. To add on some flavor, I change up the outerwear and it tends to always be something fun and different, like a green Kenzo jacket or a cool APC peacoat. Last but not least a pair of cool ankle boots.
8. What is your favorite piece from the Spring collection? I would have to say the crewneck with the contrast rib. This piece transcends from a casual sweatshirt to an article of clothing that can very well be a conversational piece.