Lauren Manoogian is no stranger to the textile industry. In fact, after working in it for over a decade, the Brooklyn-based designer has seen it change and flex, especially when it comes to ethical and sustainable practices. But Manoogian has been treating her makers with kindness before it was cool — and, as longtime lovers of the brand will know, has been crafting high quality neutrals the whole time.
“We still have a very small, intimate operation: my partner in life and business, our two dogs, and small team still work out of Brooklyn and are involved in every aspect of the business; there's never a dull moment. It can be a lot, but we love the process,” Manoogian tells us, explaining how she also works with artisans in Peru. “I've been working with my Peruvian production team for over ten years and we are committed to preserving not only the craft but also the natural elements of the fibers we work with.”
Her collections are always elegant and refined. Whether it be wool or linen, Manoogian has a knack for making laid back staples that work every season. But in their laid back charm comes practicality and luxury, something the modern woman has been embracing for some time now. Giving off strong Phoebe Philo for Céline vibes, Manoogian’s take on the everyday is simplistic, something that gives her ultra relaxed pieces their signature charm.
“I am simply interested in an intuitive investigation of material and shape, especially one that is restrained and traditionally made by hand. I see it as a series of evolving work rather than changing inspiration from season to season. Since the line has expanded to include select woven pieces, hand-loomed ready-to-wear, and even leather bags and shoes now too, I am happy it feels more and more like a greater lifestyle collection,” she says.
“The finishings and details, such as hand-crocheted seams, deep pockets, or delicate drawstrings, are all evidence of the hand of the maker, which is very important to me. The yarn and material itself, too, I hope conveys a feeling of purpose. We limit the synthetic fiber use and are always cognizant of comfort. It has to feel good on or being held. Then you can be confident and relaxed wearing it.”
Gathering inspiration from fellow creatives, Manoogian looks to artists and makers including the woodworker George Nakashima (at whose home she recently shot the brand’s autumn/winter ‘19 lookbook at) and artist Zachary Armstrong. Likewise, she taps into physical environments, the most recent being the Southern Californian scapes of Santa Fe, where she fell in love with “the surreal flora, the shapes of the adobes, and how they come together.”
As for how one should achieve that Lauren Manoogian aesthetic in winter, the designer is quick to suggest ample layers. Pick, as Manoogian recommends, just one palette and go to town on the layering. “Since one typically already layers many pieces for cold weather, personally I suggest a neutral, unified palette and then develop depth with layers of texture. You can take a really weighty wool jumper and layer a flatter, woven serape over one shoulder, so it's worn asymmetrically and shows both textures at once,” she says.
The result is inherently chic and polished — and with beige, brown and cream current hallmarks of a well-born fashion fan, makes for a seriously on-trend outfit. We’ll take one of each, thanks.