The best way I could describe Samantha Pleet’s clothing is that it reminds me of a movie that hasn’t yet been made. Every collared dress, denim pant, and knotted swimsuit invokes dual feelings of nostalgia and fantasy, wrapped up together with a well-tailored bow. The whimsical details in her clothing (cut-outs that look like little windows!) and its colorful canvases are a feminine fever dream that would make even the least fashion interested person swoon.
Since launching the brand in 2007, Samantha has been able to add some of our famous faves like Lorde, Jenny Slate, and Tavi Gevinson, to her list of admirers. Being a new mom to baby Valentine hasn’t stopped the designer from embarking on new design ventures. It’s actually inspired her to expand her brand, as well as the designs itself. Her most recent collection included ruffled, off-the-shoulder tops and dresses that were inspired by both Shakespeare and her pregnancy cravings.
We got to talk to Samantha about the movies that inspire her designs, her skin care must-haves, and her new clothing line for little ones.
How and when did you decide to become a fashion designer?
I have always lived in my own imagination, and fashion design has allowed me to dive deep into my own world and create characters inspired by my favorite films and books. I have been doing this since I was a little girl — playing dress-up with pals in a fantastical world — and I still do this today and am lucky enough to have created a job for myself.
Are there movies and TV shows that inspire your design aesthetic?
My favorite collections have been inspired by history and films like Joan of Arc, The NeverEnding Story, Black Moon, Twin Peaks, and Wes Anderson movies. For Fall ’17, Queen Elizabeth I was my muse. I loved paying tribute to an epic female leader. Did you know she spoke nine languages and was the most educated woman of her generation?
Is your personal style very similar to your designs or is there anything that you wear that is completely opposite?
Pretty much everything I design, I make because I’d wear it! But generally my uniform is one of my black jumpsuits or denim sets.
What is your process like when coming up with a new collection?
I start with a theme or movie or period of time that has been on my mind or that I keep coming back to, and then I’ll make a mood board based off of that. So for example, the SS17 collection was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was pregnant while I was designing it and was craving fruit, so it came out very luscious! I collect imagery that inspired certain silhouettes, embroidery, fabrics or color choices. Then I just start drawing! I painted a watercolor of fruits and fairies that I used for a print, and also came up with a seed embroidery. Eventually I’ll come up with pieces that all make sense together with the help of my husband and partner Patrick, and then I make the patterns and get the samples made.
Who are your style icons?
Kate Bush, Joan of Arc, and Cleopatra.
What are your skin care essentials?
I love organic skin care and there are just have a few things I swear by. I use Tata Harper’s Rebuilding Moisturizer on my face before bed and in the morning. Soapwalla’s Restorative Face Serum is amazing, and I use RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream. I use it on my décolletage because it’s so natural and will not bother the baby. I use coconut oil on her too, instead of lotion. I am also in love with the SK-11 sheet mask for a special treat of an extra dose of moisture! I recently got this dreamy makeup palette from Make x Maryam Nassir Zadeh with the most beautiful colors to play with, and Glossier’s Boy Brow is great!
Now that you’re a mom, do you see yourself ever coming out with a children’s line?
Yes! We’re actually working on the line right now that’ll be called Dear Valentine and will be out in September!
What’s the last thing you bought online?
Instead of reading the news at night on my phone before bed, because it makes me too sad, I have been vintage shopping on Etsy. I bought a pair of Ferragamos.
What is the last show you binge-watched?
Victoria. I loved it, the costumes, and the amazing petite lady who inspired the Victorian era.
Which fictional movie character do you see wearing your clothes?
Lydia from Beetlejuice, of course!
What are your working on next?
I am working on Spring/Summer ’17, Resort /Holiday ’17, the childrenswear collection, and I am also starting a magical line of shoes!