Shoe Club: Lauren Mahoney
Lauren Mahoney, our Director of Visual Merchandising, has a footwear collection that invokes some serious shoe envy around the office. One day she's walking down the hall in rich leather oxfords and the next she's sporting shiny metallic wedges, so of course we were dying to know her favorite fall shoe trends (and just how many pairs she really owns).
What does your job at Urban entail?
I oversee the website's photo studio, so I work with a team which makes sure product gets styled, modeled, shot, uploaded and emailed to our customers. I also work with a team to collect and arrange visual information to produce trend-forecasting books for the company.
When did you become interested in fashion?
Not sure when it happened. My mom was a big influence–she dressed my older sister in unisex clothing because she didn't want to define her gender through clothing. But by the time I came around, it was the '80s and she was dressing me in frilly dresses with matching bloomers and hats. When I was four I was allowed to pick out my own clothes, and I would only wear dresses, not pants. When I turned five I decided pants were the thing, and I rejected all dresses. By the time I was eight I had a bowl cut with a shaved underside and was wearing geo-printed MC Hammer pants and crop tops with patent leather oxfords. I never thought of it as fashion, though.
How would you describe your personal style?
I wear classic pieces that fit well and are made from quality materials and wear special vintage or design pieces from any and everywhere to top them off–a lot of boots, vintage Levi's, silk button-downs, vintage sweaters and blazers in off-colors and geometric patterns. I was once asked, "If you made more money, would you still buy clothes from thrift stores and K-Mart?" Of course I would, I love little boys' Hanes tees! I just bought this book, called Cheap Chic by Caterine Millinaire and Carol Troy, and it's based on the idea that you should invest in classic pieces and then use one-of-a-kind vintage and "world" pieces to define your look. This was written in the early '70s before buying "second-hand" was widely acceptable. Anyhow, my motto would be: Wear what you like regardless of where it came from and how cheap it is.
Who are your favorite style icons?
This is like asking my favorite type of music or favorite food! I have a degree in history and my entrance essay was based on my interested of the photos by Lewis Hine documenting Ellis Island immigrant children. The idea of varied cultures coming together in one meeting place–the clothes they were wearing had so much more weight and connotation than most style in the 21st century. Getting back to the question though, I would have to say that youth and art movements are my inspiration, not any particular person. Surrealism, Dada, the Black Panthers, the Blitz Kids, New Wave and the New Romantics, Feminism, Neo-impressionism and my mom. There are key people within each who were the trailblazers, but it was only possible because we needed a change and the clothing was a function of that need–this is inspiring.
What movie character's wardrobe would you love to steal?
Jean Seberg in Breathless, Bridget Fonda in Single White Female, Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, Natja Brunckhorst in Christian F, Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel in The Dreamers.
What shoe trends are you loving for Fall?
Massive wedges, pony hair, squared-toed platforms, elastic side details, oxbloods and red shoes, hunter and olive green shoes, tread-bottom platforms, low-profile tennis and soccer shoes, super reflective metallic.
Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes in your closet?
Tough questions! I'm going to say top five, in no particular order:
1. Hunter green, big treaded bottom, lace-up boots– I bought these at this amazing vintage store Sick for ten quid where we "discovered" Molly Donovan. The owner was one of the original designers/owners of Boy London. I don't always wear these clodhoppers, but they're like the friend that no one messes with.
2. Oxblood oxfords by Dieppa Restrepo
3. Vintage YSL black suede covered mules– Got these at Decades in L.A., they were one of the more expensive shoes I had ever bought, but my friend Sue told me to do it and I couldn't have been happier.
4. Pony Hair, buckle top lace-up Rachel Comey boots– Also encouraged by my friend Sue. We saw them when we went to the Rachel Comey show, and then bought them a little later in L.A. I've dug my car out of the snow with the heel of these—they're keepers.
5. Opening Ceremony par Robert Clergerie, Bo Ankle Wedge in Steel– I've only worn this birthday present once so far because I think they are too good for me, and I love the way they look on my shelf near my Grace Jones/ Jean-Paul Goude book.
Who are some of your favorite shoe designers?
New Kid, MiniMarket, Bstore, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Rad Hourani, Dieppa Restrepo, Ann Demeulemeester–forever.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
An estimated 70.
What style of shoe would you love to see have a similar comeback to the clog's?
Well I like square-toed platforms, but I don't necessarily want to see them everywhere...could be scary. I think flair heels will make their way back, but not so excited to see all the craziness ensue. Sneakers hold a soft spot in my heart, as I was the 7th grader wearing basketball shoes with baggy jeans. Not so sure I need to test these out again, but I do enjoy the look. My friend just bought the Isabel Marant sneakers that are a cross between Nike Dunk Classics and Reebok Freestyle Hi's, well equipped with a hidden platform. We need to have more fun like this. I'd also be happy with everyone wearing the shoes Vincent Gallo wears in Buffalo 66. Dorothy started that trend, but Gallo did it right.