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Chapter 17: Style Lessons from Kristen McMenamy
Big bows, baggy t-shirts, swim caps.
You’ve seen her: the iconic model with her distinctly lanky frame and a halo of ethereal platinum hair spilling below her waistline. Pale blue eyeshadow, matte tan lips and bleached brows, even in her own casual Instagram posts she is an angel come to life straight out of a Vogue Italia editorial circa the Franca Sozzani days. Kristen McMenamy is one of those rare models who emits personal style, emotion and personality with a hint of divine weirdness—just what fashion is missing (in big doses) these days! Scroll through her personal Instagram account and I guarantee it has more styling inspiration than most editorials these days. There’s a sense of play and daringness. And she repeats pieces, like her chunky disco Miu Miu platforms—a testament to true personal style.
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McMenamy began her career in the mid 1980s, stomping down the catwalks of Versace, Todd Oldham, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, Thierry Mugler, Comme des Garçons, and Moschino, among others. Photographer Peter Lindbergh, and designer extraordinaire Karl Lagerfeld were some of her earliest supporters.
But it wasn’t until the early ‘90s that McMenamy’s career reached a new level: at the time, her original long red hair had been cut short and dyed black. Visionary François Nars sheered off her eyebrows for an Anna Sui show, solidifying her as one of the original androgynous grunge gamines. This was followed by a slew of catwalk debuts, campaigns and designer partnerships including, playing muse to Gianni Versace. Fast forward to 2004 when McMenamy changed up her look again—this time to a flaxen-hued hair color that would gradually turn to an ice-y silver hued mane.
But let’s get to what really matters: her personal style, as of late. Clashing colors, unexpected textures: things that should look wrong but just work. Accessories that are seemingly at odds with each other, giving way to a sort of Grey Gardens vibe meets old Miu Miu with an editorial shift. Gazing at her Instagram account makes one feel like taking a visual journey through time, space and style.
Here are some gratifying style lessons from Kristen McMenamy:
Baggy t-shirt + big bow
This works really well and it’s incredibly easy. Wear any big t-shirt (love this post ironic Santorini tee) and find a huge bow from a halloween or party store. I recently bought this one from Party City. You can’t tell me it doesn’t look like something Vaquera would sell for $250. I’m going to wear it to fashion week.
Blazer + sheer dress + knitted headband
Monochromatic sequins + tights
Pale colored tights will be everywhere this fall. It’s very Miu Miu fall 2023. But it looks even better with a sequin counterpart. Just imagine this in green??? I love these tights with this little dress??? Heaven.
Purple + orange with opera gloves
Neon pink dress + creepers
Swim cap + slip dress
Questions? Leave them in the comments!
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Until next time dolls,
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P.S… did you know I wrote a book on New York fashion, just released last month!? Order it here.