Growing up outside of Houston, Texas, in an area that is now Applebee’s suburbia but at the time was just plain removed, Mandy Coon always had an appreciation for the left-of-mainstream (see: the super-cool goth girl she idolized in junior high, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf”). And though she read her mom’s magazines growing up and participated in family thrifting expeditions, she was never really a fashion diehard. But after doing some time as a model—her ticket out of Houston, and eventually to New York—and as a DJ, she started drifting towards the style world, working for a casting director, starting her own little agency, and soon heading to F.I.T., where she studied haute couture sewing and tailoring. “When you’re a little older and going back, you know exactly what you want out of it,” she explains, describing herself as the old fogy among a slew of newly transplanted 18 year olds (if you care to believe that).
Mandy then went to work as Camilla Stærk’s assistant, quickly proving herself capable of being entrusted with the ridiculously intricate pieces that went down the runway—creations that were nearly impossible to put into production because they required countless hours of painstaking labor. When Stærk deemed Mandy ready, she showed her the door and gave her the push she needed to launch her own full-blown, namesake line.
That first season, spring/summer 2010, Mandy introduced her dark-but-whimsical aesthetic, with floaty, baby-doll tank dresses in abstract animal prints, pants with architectural, over-blown pockets, and lots and lots of black. She continues to play with that tension between structure and fluidity in a way that we find so compelling.
Behind The Scenes
Mandy Coon’s Beginnings She’s our first, so we ask her to reveal her firsts. This is not nearly as creepy as it sounds.Since Mandy Coon is our inaugural designer, we wanted to talk to her about some of her own milestones, in fashion and elsewhere. And, as it turns out, this topic’s pretty fitting: The New Yorker by way of Texas has had an awful lot of lives for a woman of 34—she modeled and DJed pretty seriously before becoming a designer to watch. We’d compare her to a cat, but we wouldn’t want to offend her French... READ MORE »
Four Things Fueling Mandy Coon’s Creativity Now Sure, she’s a little dark, but she has a soft spot for furry things. Walking into Mandy Coon’s Lower East Side studio, you’d probably notice the skulls first—a hodgepodge of tough relics that the designer says she’s collected only accidentally. But there are a lot of other influences to be found scattered throughout, too. Here, a visual tour of the designer’s current inspirations, one of which involves both a bunny and Frank Sinatra. ANATOMY Clockwise from top left / model Jamie Bo... READ MORE »
Where to Find Mandy Coon in the East Village Not that you would stalk her or anything.Mandy Coon’s aesthetic meshes well with her East Village ‘hood. “It still has character. There are still, like, total junkies in the park,” the grit-appreciating designer explains . “There’s such good food—there’s such good everything.” Here, five of her top hangouts (with an emphasis on the edible).Prune“I don’t drink bloody marys. But here? They’re so good. And the bone marrow—I’ve never had it anywhere else, but I’ve heard that sometimes it’s gelat... READ MORE »