Sloane Martin, Fashion Magic

Flowers in the Main Part of the House* - Cacharel + See by Chloe

I’ve been sustaining envy for Sloane Martin’s clothing, working to bite her style and otherwise scheming how to get her to give me her wardrobe ever since I first met her, like seven years ago. When she was fifteen years old. And I was her creative writing teacher. I’m really glad that Sloane is all growed up now so it doesn’t feel quite so creepy to be coveting her stuff. It is worth noting that there is little difference between fifteen-year-old Sloane and and twenty-whatever-year-old-Sloane, as she seems to have come into this world with a heightened sophistication, a sense of playful worldliness, amazing taste and a more amazing personality. She allowed me to invade her space one rainy day, her space being her recently redecorated childhood room that she is crashing in after a recent graduation from NYU. So a bunch of her excellent wardrobe is still in NYC, but she’s got an equally fashionable mother from whom she can pilfer sweet, summery J Crew dresses from, so all is good. Anyways – onward with Sloane Martin!

The first thing I noticed upon entering Sloane’s bedroom was her shoes. Such a perfect array of staples! As I am in the midst of a hunt for some solid, brown sandals, I was drawn to these simple strappy ones on the right.

These sandals are from J Crew, which is a great place to check for such things. I’m on the verge of picking up brown leather flip flops from them right now! Anyway, Sloane is not afraid to go at a fashion item with a boxcutter: ” There was a double strap but it looked really weird.” So she chopped it off and now they’re perfect! You’re welcome, J Crew! “I’ve yet to figure out what to do with those straps. They’re too big for a bracelet but I want to do something with them.” You know, it’s weird that you haven’t seen Sloane yet. Here she is:

This is Sloane. In Philip Lim.

“I am obsessed with Repetto and have worn them since I was a freshman in High School.” It’s true! “I stalked these on eBay because they’re ridiculously expensive. They kept popping up but they were three, four hundred dollars! Then a pair popped up in my size by a girl who just started selling and had no feedback. But she had categorized them really nice. They were a hundred bucks and I was like, I’m going to take the chance! When they arrived I spent three days in bed petting them. You have to touch them. They have a suedey, nappy lining that the regular Repettos don’t have. They feel amazing. I’m afraid to wear them outside.”

It felt so nice.

When I noted that Sloane’s closet appeared to be flats-only she dug out this flashy pair of towering platform booties by Repetto. “I’m not a heels person. I have a really hard time walking in them. But I can’t get rid of these because they’re so pretty.”

“I have a pair of Lanvin sandals I wore to death but I can’t get rid of them. I even wear them sometimes, and my heels turn black because there is nothing between me and the street. I got them at the Barneys’ warehouse sale.”

The Lanvin sandals are dead! Long live the Lanvin sandals!

Sloane’s fantastic fashion collection is the result of luck and good fortune, bargain-hunting and eBay sleuthing. It’s inspiring to see an assembly of so many covetable pieces all scrounged from the shopping underground. Check this detail on the $500 Philip Lim dress she found at Crossroads for $50:

“It’s sort of Marni. I’m a sucker for a cool ethnic-y pattern, even though I find the term ethnic pattern disturbing.”

The hem of a dress by Alexander Wang

. . . And an ethereal stripey top from the same collection.

“These are from Alexander Wang’s first collection, before he even showed. (The dress) I got at the Buffalo Exchange in the East Village. I love his really, really early designs. The first two collections are to me a thousand times better than what he is doing now. I remember going to the first sample sale he ever had and the clothes were so cool. So simple, and really, really wearable. I feel like a lot of his stuff now is really difficult to wear.”

With another secondhand Philip Lim frock

Sloane has lived both in New York City and in Paris, and I asked her, as a fashion fiend, wasn’t it just painful to live in the two top most fashionable cities wanting absolutely everything all of the time? “Paris was really hard. In Paris everything is really beautiful, and you have Bon Marche and we would just go in and pet things and smell things. But it’s Paris, so you’re constantly impoverished because everything is so expensive. Plus I was living with a girl who was a model and another who worked in fashion at APC, and they would bring things home. But if we were all feeling really poor we’d trade clothes. That was a really great way to put a damper on things you covet. But it was really hard because all three of us were really into attaining beautiful things. When the people you live with are always bringing home things it makes you feel like, Yeah, I can shop three times a week!”

Buggin' out!

“These are by Erica Weaver, they sell her jewelry at Wasteland. When I lived in Alphabet City and was collecting mail from all the people who used to live there, all this mail was coming for Erica Weaver!” After some Google sleuthing Sloane affirmed was the same Erica Weaver, and sent her a fan letter! “‘Hi, I’m a huge fan of your jewelry and I’m living in the apartment you started making jewelry in!’ I’ve re-bought these earrings at least once, maybe twice. I wore them to orientation my freshman year of college, and when I came back three months later people were like  – You were the girl with the bug earrings!”

Extra super magical fashion score.

“I have two dresses (above) that when I was living in Paris for a year I wanted really badly. I would visit them in the department store and pet them. And when I moved back to the United States I found both of them in secondhand stores!” The dress on the left is from a collection Cacharel did with Liberty of London, found at the Buffalo Exchange in the East Village. The piece on the right is See by Chloe. “”This one (on the right) I had to alter. I found it at Crossroads on Market and had a credit, so it was basically free!” Moral of the story – there are fashion gods, and you can appease them. Through devotion.

This is what Sloane smells like. Bought on eBay.

This perfume is so famous!

I’m still reading the amazing Chandler Burr perfume book, The Perfect Scent, which follows master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena through his time creating the first in-house fragrance for Hermes. I have the book in my bag and Sloane has this scent on her shelf! Coincidence? Well, coincidences abound when the fashion gods are appeased! This is from Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. “Frederic Malle gives these famous perfumers whatever they want, and then packages the perfumes and sells it! When they first came in to Barneys they had this chamber that looked sort of Star Trek-y, and they sprayed the perfume in it and you stuck your head in it to smell how it developed over time. There was one that smelled like Chanel lipstick because the perfumer’s mother wore Chanel lipstick! Mick Jagger wears the tuberose. They used to have one called French Lover in the European market that smelled like spicy leather, that I don’t have anymore.” Okay, more coincidence – the model Sloane lived with in Paris, her father published  Chandler Burr’s The Perfect Scent, and gave his daughter an advance copy, which Sloane read, thus becoming obsessed with fine fragrance the way everyone who reads the book does. “I wanted to buy something by Jean-Claude Ellena that wasn’t Hermes. L’Eau D’Hiver means ‘Winter Water’ which I think is totally accurate.” She sprays it into the air. “It smells like melting ice!” It does!

Sloane just started a blog with her bestie, called Gracious Gomorrah (‘Old-fashioned manners, new-fangled morals), where she just posted about an Alexander McQueen dress she did not buy. “I was at the Decades event – they come up and sell expensive clothes once a year here. It’s like for the ASPCA, it’s a fundraiser, I think. They had this amazing Alexander McQueen there. It was from The Girl Who Lived in the Tree collection. I put it on and my friend was like – I would marry you in that dress. (He’s gay.)It was $500. We decided duchess satin wouldn’t age well. And I’d never be able to wear it because I’d be convinced I’d spill something on it. I finally had to let it go. It was really, really sad.” Thankfully, fashion deities take note of such wrenching sacrifices, and some lost McQueen treasure will no doubt be popping up at a Buffalo Exchange somewhere, just for her! Listen, in her real life Sloane is working on a novel, because she is a writer. Until it’s finished we will have to content ourselves with her excellent blogs! Thank you, and good night.

*Flowers in the Downstairs part of the house is the title of a re-writing of Flowers in the Attic by Kevin Killian and Henry Flesh


About Michelle Tea

I chanted "I am a fashion magnet" in the shower and subsequently found a Gianni Versace - era Versace skirt at Buffalo Exchange for $17. Once I got a beyond-my-means Fendi purse for free and sat staring at it, crying. Also cried at Olivier Theyskens' last show for Nina Ricci in Paris. Other things that make me cry: a good lip synch; my emotions. I have stolen two Jeremy Scott swag items from two Jeremy Scott events I was not quite invited to. Sometimes I want to age into Patti Smith, sometimes Baby Jane Hudson. I frequently dream I am in a magic thrift store where I can have whatever I want. I regret not buying the Alexander Wang purse when it was half price at Barney's. Like a delusional guy at a strip club, I feel special when the people who work at Barney's remember me. Having a Leo rising gives me big hair and a need for attention. My favorite designers right now are Alexander Wang, Philip Lim, Proenza Schouler, Vivienne Westwood, Viktor Rolf, Rick Owens, Rodarte, Helmut Lang and Surface to Air. I was once shamed by an employee of a high-end department store for pronouncing 'Rodarte' incorrectly.


  1. Anna Elizabeth Bergman

    almost intimidatingly cool

  2. Pingback: Announcing Your Favorite Style Pundits for March and April «

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