Neutral Ground: Lynne Hiriak of Cardigan NY

Neutral Ground is a casual, weekly interview series with friends in the industry. Say... conversational breakdowns of what neutrals mean, and what that means when it's time to get dressed. Tune in each Wednesday to see who's who and how creatives of all stripes see the world when color is not included.

CARDIGAN NEW YORK is a contemporary collection driven by designer, Lynne Hiriak's, love of cardigans. Her personal collection hovers around 200 pieces. "My evolving personal collection of cardigans confirms that no matter how many of them I have, I can always justify one more. My relationship with the cardigan dates back to high school where my uniform consisted of a cardigan in navy or yellow every single day." Although CARDIGAN NEW YORK has evolved from knitwear into a comprehensive ready to wear collection, the brand continues to be inspired by the ease, utility and essence of the well-loved cardigan.

CARDIGAN NEW YORK is a contemporary collection driven by designer, Lynne Hiriak's, love of cardigans. Her personal collection hovers around 200 pieces. "My evolving personal collection of cardigans confirms that no matter how many of them I have, I can always justify one more. My relationship with the cardigan dates back to high school where my uniform consisted of a cardigan in navy or yellow every single day."

Although CARDIGAN NEW YORK has evolved from knitwear into a comprehensive ready to wear collection, the brand continues to be inspired by the ease, utility and essence of the well-loved cardigan.

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NT- What are you wearing right now?

LH- A Japanese cotton dress that I bought in Florence, Italy. It’s a classic blue and white mens shirting striped pattern shirt dress with patchwork mens’ shirt stripings and polka dots. The silhouette is oversized. I love it because the fabrication is quite neutral, but the patchwork part and the oversized silhouette makes it modern and interesting. It’s my favorite dress of the moment. 

 

NT- What Color [or two] do you own the most of within your wardrobe?

LH-That’s very easy. Navy and Grey Melange. 

 

NT- How do you approach neutrals when dressing? (some of this was addressed in previous question)

LH- I’m a big neutral wearer. I will have multiple shades of the same neutrals in the same pant, or shoe, or sweater. For example, I have a cream cord and a white cord. I have several shades of olive cords, and definitely several shades of navy cords. I will buy the same shoe in different shades of leather if available. It’s possible I will have shades of black, chocolate and sand in the same shoe. I am not a big wearer of black but I will wear it with white, in stripes, and I do believe in a black dress. I happen to look better in Navy (navy is more flattering for my face, and looks better with colors) I tend to wear a lot of color, so I use a lot of navy, denim and white as my ground for color. I don’t wear much brown or tan but I do for sure in my shoes. My approach to clothing with neutrals is different than my approach to neutrals in accessories. The neutrals range for clothing is different for me than with accessories. My neutrals in clothes are mainly denim, navy, white and grey heather. While my neutrals in accessories are chocolate, beige, tan and black. this summer I’ve been into chambray and denim so I’ve been wearing a lot of denim looks pulled together with white or navy. 

 

NT- In your opinion- IS there a difference between Neutral Colors within the wardrobe, vs. say...Art & Object Coloration? 

LH- This may be an odd answer and it’s completely a personal opinion, but Yes I think there is. I think there are more taste rules with wardrobe because of individuals shape, complexion and comfort level. Clothing and outfits can clash and not be an effective tool of expression. Not everyone is interested in expressing themselves through clothing. Art and Object Coloration is more subjective as generally it is not a living breathing human (I say generally because I’m not including performance artist here) and can also be influenced by outside effects such as placement, lighting etc.... If art and object coloration clashes, it can be an interesting dialogue or the point of conversation as art and object coloration are generally forms of expression. 

 

NT- In the context of dressing only in neutrals, what roll and rules must accessories & jewelry play by? 

LH-Ah, I addressed it a little bit above, but I make more exceptions with accessories. Currently, I have a green leather smythson bag which has been my bag of choice this summer, and I pretty much make sure I am wearing only neutrals to support my bag color. I generally think a cordovan or tan leather sandal is a must and I am actually a strong believer that a matching neutral bag and shoe will pull any odd look, however, I do love a great orange leather sandal to pick up an all navy outfit. I also wear less conservative bags but they’re in a neutral color. When it comes to Jewelry, I go wild and I have no rules on that front except I don’t layer on the jewelry but I choose great pieces that stand out. Gold and silver come into play by being neutral accents in jewelry. I love to wear a lot of crystal jewelry so neutral metals are key for me to be a foil for the crystalline colors. 

 

NT- Prints seem to generating a lot of controversy, are prints neutral? Is neutral defined only by color or does pattern have bearing too? 

LH- As a print lover, I believe that patterns can also be neutral. It’s best if they’re classic and it’s best if they’re in classic colors. A saint james striped boat tee is a classic neutral. And so is a mens indigo polka dot shirting or tie. A paisley scarf can be neutral, and so is a classic seersucker pant. Ginghams can be neutral and so can some plaids. It just depends on the context of the garment. A yellow striped tee is no longer neutral, but a navy and white striped tee is.

CTIF: What if Grey is My Favorite Color?

The color of truth is grey

-Attributed to Andre Gide

Grey is a color of compromise, a shade between. When a brightly colored top spins, it appears grey. Gide thinks grey is the color of truth because it occupies a middle place between polarities, and is often no one's choice. Does that make it a non-choice, though? Picking the middle between two extremes is still choosing. 

Neutral Ground: Lisa Jones of Pigeon Toe

Neutral Ground is a casual, weekly interview series with friends in the industry. Say... conversational breakdowns of what neutrals mean, and what that means when it's time to get dressed. Tune in each Wednesday to see who's who and how creatives of all stripes see the world when color is not included.

Lisa Jones spent her adolescence exploring mediums as diverse as painting and video installation before settling into product design with the founding of Pigeon Toe in 2009. With an aversion to the excess of mass-produced goods, Lisa formed Pigeon Toe with a vision to create uniquely beautiful objects that incorporate and celebrate the extensive history of handcrafts. Realizing that understanding materials on an intimate level leads to refined and imaginative objects, Lisa’s work under Pigeon Toe has evolved with her own artistic enrichment and hands-on study of new techniques and mediums.  Lisa aspires to find fresh perspective through innovative material combinations, harking back to an era where artisans not only create, but inspire.

Lisa Jones spent her adolescence exploring mediums as diverse as painting and video installation before settling into product design with the founding of Pigeon Toe in 2009. With an aversion to the excess of mass-produced goods, Lisa formed Pigeon Toe with a vision to create uniquely beautiful objects that incorporate and celebrate the extensive history of handcrafts. Realizing that understanding materials on an intimate level leads to refined and imaginative objects, Lisa’s work under Pigeon Toe has evolved with her own artistic enrichment and hands-on study of new techniques and mediums.  Lisa aspires to find fresh perspective through innovative material combinations, harking back to an era where artisans not only create, but inspire.

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NT- What are you wearing right now?

LJ- A chambray shirtdress accessorized with brass jewelry and a pair of AGL gladiator-style sandals

 

NT- What Color [or two] do you own the most of within your wardrobe?

LJ- Navy, hands-down. Runner up: Black.

 

NT- How do you approach neutrals when dressing?

LJ- My approach to dressing is similar to my work - it's all about balance. Neutrals are the foundation/bulk of my wardrobe and the 'base layer' for all of my outfits. I've never been a bold dresser; I do own some 'louder' prints but if I wear them, everything else I choose to go with it has the volume turned down so the pattern has the space to shine without competition.

 

NT- In your opinion- IS there a difference between Neutral Colors within the wardrobe, vs. say...Art & Object Coloration?

LJ- I see no difference. Whether I'm getting dressed or designing a new piece, my process is the same. They're both sculptures to me and the same principles of design need to be considered.

 

NT- In the context of dressing only in neutrals, what roll and rules must Accessories & jewelry play by?

LJ- Probably because of scale, I'm more likely to be adventurous with my accessories than my foundation garment choices (kinda like socks, because why not?). Jewelry can be graphic and bold while still being neutral. To me, it comes down to material choice(s) and how the pieces interact with what you're wearing. I think if you took a look at my collection you'd see many neutrals in the form of metallics.

 

NT- Prints seem to generating a lot of controversy, are prints neutral? Is neutral defined only by color or does pattern have bearing too?

LJ- I do think prints can be a neutral. To me it's all about volume, dominance, and harmony. Defining a print as neutral, to me, is directly tied to color choice, but also the proportion, line quality, and scale of the print.

Neutral Ground: Joanna Bean Martin of AfterAll Studio

Neutral Ground is a casual, weekly interview series with friends in the industry. Say... conversational breakdowns of what neutrals mean, and what that means when it's time to get dressed. Tune in each Wednesday to see who's who and how creatives of all stripes see the world when color is not included.

AfterAll is a creative studio headed by Joanna Bean Martin and  located in Portland, Oregon. Her work strives to blur the lines between art and design to create iconic and beautiful experiences.  Specializing in identity development, art direction, creative consulting and surface design. [Also to note- Afterall designed and managed all the Gretchen Jones NYC branding  and web presence[s] & created seasonal custom textiles to accompany GJ's collections. AND curates a killer inspiration site MadrePadre. Joanna, is by far, one of my most prized creative relationships. This woman has talent & in more ways than one.]

AfterAll is a creative studio headed by Joanna Bean Martin and  located in Portland, Oregon. Her work strives to blur the lines between art and design to create iconic and beautiful experiences.  Specializing in identity development, art direction, creative consulting and surface design. [Also to note- Afterall designed and managed all the Gretchen Jones NYC branding  and web presence[s] & created seasonal custom textiles to accompany GJ's collections. AND curates a killer inspiration site MadrePadre. Joanna, is by far, one of my most prized creative relationships. This woman has talent & in more ways than one.]

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NT- What are you wearing right now?

JBM- My favorite t-shirt by Organic by John Patrick, Forever 21 harem pants, Van Doren leopard Vans, Aesa necklace, Arielle De Pinto necklace and vintage african necklaces.

 

NT- What Color [or two] do you own the most of within your wardrobe?

JBM- Chambray / Navy / Gray

 

NT- How do you approach neutrals when dressing?

JBM- When I'm in the mood for neutrals I don't usually do it modestly. I love using them monochromatically: gray pants, grey shirt, grey sweater or denim on chambray on denim. But as a combo palette--I think a white t-shirt is one of the most important features of a wardrobe. I figured out in my early twenties that nothing really beats a white t-shirt, good jeans, good heels and good earrings. And what man doesn't look good in a white Tee?!

NT- In your opinion- IS there a difference between Neutral Colors within the wardrobe, vs. say...Art & Object Coloration?

JBM- I mean, it's all about expression right? My mom gives a lot of thought to how she dresses and always has. It made a huge impression on me before I even realized it. But even though our lives were a little imbalanced because she was raising us on her own, she always looked good. I think this was one of the ways she was showing us that she was gonna take care of things no matter what or maybe she was a product of how she was raised, with Southern decorum. Either way it really taught me about clothing + presentation. And I think the same thing can be applied to art. It's about presentation. Just because something is neutral doesn't mean it's not saying anything. Neutrals can be very loud.

NT- In the context of dressing only in neutrals, what roll and rules must Accessories & jewelry play by?

JBM- Accessories and jewelry transform outfits. They're extremely important. Even in their absence! Whatever the choice is: minimal or "guilding the lily", I think the one rule is, do it consciously.

NT- Prints seem to generating a lot of controversy, are prints neutral? Is neutral defined only by color or does pattern have bearing too?

JBM- It depends on how you define "neutral". Neutral can be defined by a color or an expression. When most people refer to neutrals, I believe they're trying to express: simple, quiet, understated, basic, easy. But if you're talking about neutral solely as a palette it's more multi-faceted. Optic pop prints, for instance, don't read neutral but a leopard print in a tonal cream colorway totally is. I guess it all goes back to color and how you use it.

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