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Samantha Pleet

Brooklyn Designer Samantha Pleet debuted her namesake collection in 2006 with quirky, youthful designs intertwining story telling with modern, wearable clothes. Perhaps as a throw back to her high school days when she hung out with the theater kids, her clothes tell a story, like characters in a romantic period novel.  Her signature look is a mix of quirky Americana ala Little House on the Prairie, meets the Amish rights of Passage, Rumspringa, where the strict religious community allows their youth to experience modern society, before committing or breaking from the faith. There is something almost puritanical about her look, but with a naïve innocence and sensuality.  Her collection features her ubiquitous straw hat with its Amish connotations, and little lace up leather ankle boots, alongside country botanical prints, ‘proper’ mid calf length dirndl dresses and skirts, playful romper suits, and clever understated twisting and seam detailing.

Immersing herself in a broad range of inspirations when designing a collection, Pleet draws inspiration from literature, music, art, history and film, with the conjured feelings transformed into Pleet’s designs and silhouettes. Each of her dresses have whimsical names like characters in a book, revealing the stories behind the designs, with names such as Revival, Harlequin and Philosophical dress.  A graduate of Pratt New York, Pleet originally hails from small town Philadelphia, with her horse and diner memories, an underlying theme to her work.  With a romantic eye for the past, Pleet channels the Pre Raphaelite painters inspiration, as well as J D Salinger’s 1950’s waspy intellectual Princeton University types, with their loafers and cashmere sweaters and understated yacht club lifestyle; a quiet elegance with a twist, with soft easy wear tea dresses and floral prints.

Each season is accompanied by a collaborative video project, whether a flight of whimsical fantasy full of brooding, melancholy or romantic characters, or footage from her look book, or simply snippets from a day in the life of someone, dressed entirely in Samantha Pleet of course.  Her short grainy films and diffused sunlight photo shoots have a silent movie quality to them, set to organ music and shot with a whispy, nostalgia.  Pleet showcases her work in multiple mediums through film, photographs and unique installations.

Pleet also collaborated with Urban Outfitters on Rapscallion by Samantha Pleet, which led to curating the pop up shop at Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles.   For Autumn Winter 2012, Samantha Pleet also collaborated with Wolverine, the American heritage footwear brand, to produce 5 signature styles of shoes and boots.  The Samantha Pleet blog features conversations and diary like postings, documenting her activities, inspirations and travels, punctuated with lots of lovely visuals.  With a recent trip to Peru’s Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Pleet documented daily with an entry sharing the colorful characters, both animal and human she met en route.

The designers work has matured over the 6 years she has been producing her label, into what is now a desirable, wearable collection with a district perspective and story to tell, with the clothes produced entirely in New York, and using organic materials whenever possible.

Website: www.samanthapleet.com