Stomping Ground: Agyness Deyn Collaborates with Dr. Martens
by Esther Adams
Photographed by Robert Fairer
The apparel and accessories collection with a neo-grunge feel that Agyness Deyn has turned out for her inaugural collaboration with Dr. Martens (which she unveiled in London yesterday and goes on sale this August), reads like a list of thrift-store finds the model turned actress might have steadily accrued since her breakout years in the mid-2000s. Among them: velvet platform creepers, daisy-print tea dresses, reversible bomber jackets, jacquard knits, and a bold, thigh-grazing interpretation of the classic DM boot (the originals were Deyn’s footwear of choice throughout her high school days and, even more recently, several red-carpet appearances). “I looked at the sexy boyishness of Juliette Lewis and Winona Ryder,” she says of the early-nineties actresses who inspired her. “And Angela Chase [Claire Danes] from My So-Called Life—she had a nerdy, awkward quality which I like.”
But while this first collection for the heritage brand is clearly marked by a romanticized nostalgia for the signature, thrown-together look that defined her early working days in London, 29-year-old Deyn is now moving beyond that grunge aesthetic. Living stateside since 2007, the British import packed up her Williamsburg loft for a place in Los Feliz, California, last year (“I don’t like to be in my car all the time,” she says. “I go hiking in Griffith Park almost every day!”) and, perhaps because of her sunny new location, her eclectic, shadowy, closet has started to evolve too: “I’m wearing less black and more grown-up pieces, like classic, vintage men’s pants and shirts,” she says. Indeed, alongside the vintage haunts she routinely hits up on trips back to London, more streamlined stores like Dover Street Market, Acne, and A.P.C. now feature on her go-to list as well. But that’s not to say her time-honored Docs are soon to be a thing of the past. “No matter how my style’s evolved they’ve always been a staple,” she says shifting her weight on her oxblood creepers with supersize, chunky soles (a long forgotten design she dug out from the archives). “I wear them with everything—they get better with age.”
As the story goes, on the first of May 1561, King Charles of France—who was ten at the time—was presented with a fragrant bunch of muguet: the delicate green sprigs capped with tiny white bells that we know as lily of the valley. It was a gesture signifying luck and prosperity, which so touched the king, he continued the tradition by giving the sweet-smelling blossoms to the ladies of his court each year on the same day. La Fête du Muguet continues in France today, and though men, who wear a few stems in their lapel, still present women with fresh bouquets, a tradition of the bottled kind has sprung up, too. The scent of these flowers, in bloom just a couple of weeks each year, has bewitched perfumers for centuries. The most famous muguet is certainly Diorissimo, the landmark fragrance Edmond Roudnitska created for Christian Dior in 1955. Dior had become so taken with his “lucky flower,” he established it as the emblem of his couture house and took to sewing fresh sprigs into the hems of his dresses; when his models did their customary twirl, the delicate scent would fill the salon. Guerlain’s long-standing affair with the bloom traces back to the house’s founder, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, who created their first Muguet in 1840. Since 2005, Guerlain has released limited editions every May 1, each reflecting the nuances of the previous season’s harvest. This year’s, of which there are a scant 250 bottles available in the U.S., comes in a hand-numbered flacon. An instant classic—until next year.