MADEWELL ET SÉZANE: BEHIND THE COLLAB

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Our exclusive collaboration with French brand Sézane lands tomorrow, 10/21, and to learn exactly how it came together, we arranged a little tête-à-tête with both our head designer Somsack Sikhounmuong and Sézane designer Morgane Sézalory to ask them a few questions. Turns out the trick to a great collaboration isn’t just a shared fashion sense.

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Noticed: On Somsack’s Radar

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Design inspiration comes from myriad places: art, books, globetrotting market trips and even food. From a favorite (and, until now, semi-secret) Vietnamese sandwich spot in New York’s East Village to the bold way women have been cuffing straight-leg jeans, here’s what our head of design Somsack has been noticing.

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First Look: Our Fall 2014 Collection

We’ve got beach and sun on the brain nearly 24/7 these days—but the layered looks shown in our fall preview today proved to be exceptions to our spring fever. And boy, were they really, really great exceptions: boxy coats, graphic sweatshirts, coated denim, to-die-for accessories (like hats, boots, bags and sneaks). Consider yourself warned: Your fall wish list is about to get really long. Here’s head of design Somsack Sikhounmuong’s take on his very own covetable creations.

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“This collection was inspired by the reality and romance of urban life. We created pieces to fit effortlessly into a busy schedule.” –Somsack

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“Playing with proportion was also important: Cropped knits, high-waisted bottoms, oversized coats, chunky boots and long skirts were all shown.”
–Somsack

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P.S. There’s more good stuff on Instagram and Twitter.

Inside Somsack Sikhounmuong’s Work Space and Apartment, Coveteur-Style

As our head of design, Somsack Sikhounmuong creates those effortlessly cool pieces we spend our days in. So it’s no surprise that his home and office are places we wouldn’t mind spending our days in either. The lucky crew at The Coveteur got a look at where Somsack spends his time.

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Our Mini Transport Crossbody bags—scaled-down versions of our Transport Tote—enjoy a view of Manhattan.

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Our Western Jean Shirt in Pond Wash and Park Overalls in Skyview hang—fittingly—on Somsack’s inspiration wall. Instead of periodically taking everything off the wall and starting fresh, he pins image over image.

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Three of Somsack’s obsessions: great research materials, sneakers and, of course, denim. (Our Slim Boyjean fit—here, in the Rip and Repair Edition—has created a new breed of denim devotees.)

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Get the full tour over at The Coveteur.

Fêting Our Spring Catalog (Check Your Mailbox)

We like to think of our catalog as a harbinger of spring (a harbinger of all good things really: warm days, sunshine, new clothes)—and it arrives today, along with our latest batch of new arrivals. To celebrate its launch, our head of design, Somsack Sikhounmuong, cohosted a little dinner for friends with campaign star Erin Wasson—whom, as you may have heard, we took to Malta for our shoot. Over chocolate budino, we rhapsodized about our shared love of warmer days and even sat for portraits by digital sketch artist Janelle Sing.

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Erin Wasson in our Linen Paris Stencil Muscle Tee with Somsack, our head of design. 

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From top down: Flipping through our spring catalog; Somsack gets sketched; the warm environs of Margaux at The Marlton.

Sketches by Janelle Sing using Paper for iPad.

Shop our spring collection here, and follow us on Instagram for more moments like this.

10 Questions for Somsack Sikhounmuong, Madewell’s New Head of Design

We’ve been making incredible denim for a very long time. And as you might’ve noticed, our jeans just keep getting better (OK, so do our leather jackets, go-anywhere boots, and fuss-free dresses…). One of the people who’s making all this happen? Somsack Sikhounmuong, our new head of design. We picked his (very stylish) brain on what inspires him and got a sneak peek at his spring 2014 debut collection.

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Hometown?
New York by way of Toronto and before that, Thailand.

What’s your earliest design-related memory?
I’ve loved drawing and art ever since I can remember. I used to get upset at my kindergarten classmates for not coloring inside the lines—and for drawing people without necks. I still like things to be simple and straightforward.

How did that interest become a career in fashion?
I loved design. The idea of creative “art” on a practical level always interested me. I collected (or as I liked to say, “rescued”) old issues of Vogue from doctors’ offices and recycling piles from a very young age. My apartment to this day is a safe haven for old fashion magazines.

So what drew you to Madewell?
I love old movies, magazines, music, things that feel lived-in and familiar—and that feels very Madewell.

Your first collection hits stores this spring—what kind of changes will we see?
The clothes will be effortless, cool, creative and unfussy—the same words I’d use to describe the Madewell girl.

Tell us a little bit about who that woman is.
Whether she’s 16 or 61, she prefers authenticity over trends. She wants clothing and accessories that add to her already well-rounded wardrobe, not trendy clothes that make her easy to label.

What will we be coming to Madewell for?
What you won’t see in the stores is just as important as what you will. It’s all about the edit. There’ll be amazing jeans, leather jackets and easy dresses. Details are very important, so the finish of a button or the under-collar of a jacket are just as important as the overall design.

How do you set the tone for a new season of clothes?
I ask myself, “What feels new, what looks good and is it Madewell?” Pictures, thoughts and visions get thrown together to produce an overall mood. And I could spend days people watching. I love everyday cool girls on the street, which New York has no shortage of.

What music are you listening to?
Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and LCD Soundsystem.

What do you do to unwind?
I love actually going to a movie theater and getting popcorn. No Netflix for me.

First Look: Spring 2014 at Madewell

It’s not always easy to keep a secret, especially when it’s a great one. Here’s an exclusive sneak peek at our spring 2014 collection preview held today in downtown New York. (Outfit planning strongly encouraged.)

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Our new designer Somsack Sikhounmuong took his time to get everything just right for spring—from the special denim washes to the globally sourced prints and lived-in leather. You can read all about his inspiration here. And if you’re the headphones-wearing type, you can cue up his equally thoughtfully curated playlist on our Rdio, which we’ve had on repeat all day.

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P.S. We swiped these from our Instagram, where there are even more behind-the-scenes moments from today’s presentation. #springmadewell