When Andre Leon Talley tells you to keep your eye on an up and coming designer, you sit up and take notice. When that designer is someone as interesting as Mimi Plange, you’re thankful for the tip off.
Ghanaian born, California raised, and with a collection inspired by both Victorian clothing and her native Africa, Mimi Plange is a breath of fresh air in the fashion world. Having gained a degree in architecture from Berkeley, she headed to the Fashion Institute of Technology in San Francisco before hot footing it to New York where worked both as a jewelry merchandiser and a designer for various brands before finally setting out on her own.
Her collections are fresh and form fitting, with Scarred Perfection, her offering for Autumn Winter 2011 currently on show at the SCAD Gallery (Savannah College of Art and Design) in Hong Kong. She’s dressed women from Michelle Obama to Rihanna, who love her pieces for their structured femininity. For next Spring, inspired by a Victorian tea party, her offering comes in pastels, with pussy bow blouses and neat nipped in waists designed, foremost, to flatter. A creator of clothes made to cross the boundaries of fads, of quality fashion built to last, she’s a woman and designer with a point of view and a point of difference and we’re delighted to have her as our latest KOTUR Muse.
KOTUR: What’s in your make-up bag?
Mimi: Nars blush in Exhibit A, an array of Lancome Juicy Tubes and Mascara, Cover FX foundation and Powder, and mini vials of Bond NO 9 perfume.
KOTUR: Do you have a beauty secret?
Mimi: Well, my grandmother told me that if you rub a sliced lemon on your legs 24 hours after you shave, the hair would grow back slower. It certainly works as a natural exfoliator and smoothes the skin.
KOTUR: What would be your desert island essentials?
Mimi: Water Jurlique Hydrating Mist, a sunhat, a Mimi Plange maxi kaftan, a collection of sexy novels and Soltan sun lotion with insect repellent
KOTUR: How would your female friends describe your style?
Mimi: Fearlessly repetitive. I am not scared of bold fashion, and I am not scared of sticking to a silhouette once I discover what works for my body and appeals to my aesthetic.
KOTUR: What’s the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
Mimi: A little black sheath dress with ostrich feathers. Its really forward and modern, but classic at the same time. Just what I love!
KOTUR: Is there anything in your wardrobe you should get rid of but can’t?
Mimi: I have a Rick Owens sweater I have really, and I do mean really, worn to death. I love the feel and fit, and somewhere in my mind, I’ve managed to convince myself that it’s a little rock and roll even though I know its not. I know its time to say goodbye, but I simply can’t.
KOTUR: What do you never leave home without?
Mimi: Mascara and my iphone
KOTUR: How high is too high a heel?
Mimi: I don’t believe any heel is ever too high, as long as you can walk in them. I admire a woman who can endure her heels effortlessly.
KOTUR: How old is too old for jeans?
Mimi: Denim is like a fine wine or an elegant woman, they both get better with age. They gain history, character, and the tell tale signs that make them unique. It is the only item that could possibly fit better with age, too, aside from maybe a leather jacket.
KOTUR: What is your most recent purchase?
Mimi: A four day trip to Brussels to visit family and enjoy a very “mini” vacation.
KOTUR: Can you judge a book by its cover?
Mimi: Not at all, especially not in today’s day and age, when people are in search for a certain level of function and comfort in their clothing. We now see CEO’s going to work in jeans and woven shirts. The world is becoming a smaller place, and our own ideas of who has power and what that power looks like are being reshaped every day. It’s best to be informed, and not to pass judgment.
KOTUR: What are your bad habits?
Mimi: Worrying too much, and not drinking enough water!
KOTUR: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Mimi: To focus on yourself. Not in a selfish way, but you have many things of your own to work on, so there’s no need to focus on other people or what they need to fix. You should worry about your own journey, and learn not to compare yourself to anyone else.
KOTUR: What’s your favorite smell?
Mimi: I love smells that feel romantic, like spicy notes of ginger, lemongrass and rose.
KOTUR: What are you most proud of?
Mimi: I’m proud of the ability to work in a field that I love, and to allow my passion to thrive. I’m in love with all things fashion. Being able to dress Michelle Obama was a complete honor I will never forget!
KOTUR: How would you like to be remembered?
Mimi: For my work
KOTUR: Do you have a favorite KOTUR bag?
Mimi: I am currently in love with two KOTUR bags that are innovative, playful and sexy; the glittery gold snow globe inspired glass clutch and the pink liquid water clutch. I love their modern shape, and how they can both move easily from a playful day look, to a seductive evening accent.