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Style Counsel: Apiece Apart on Living with Less


Style Counsel: Apiece Apart on Living with Less

September 6, 2013

Co-designers Laura Cramer and Starr Hout were friends at New York University before they began collaborating on the fashion front. Just before their 30th birthdays, they packed up an old Mercedes and drove out to West Texas–boyfriends (now husbands) in tow. The austere landscape spoke to Laura, originally a Texan herself, while the repeated concrete forms of Donald Judd and the “town itself, deconstructed, whitewashed with a modern aesthetic” is what inspired Starr. The trip inspired what would eventually become the duo’s fashion enterprise, Apiece Apart, a line of elevated basics that balances the simple with the sophisticated, the classic with the modern.

The two come at fashion from an intellectual slant; each collection is a composition informed by interior spaces, architecture, and art. While their work is guided by a well-honed aesthetic, Laura and Starr are equally interested in making their clothing accessible and democratic. “We are both working women and mothers, so the clothing needs to be functional for real women,” says Starr. “And at the same time, too many basics is not a very exciting idea. We all want something that’s a little more textural, that isn’t just for the everyday.”

We asked the two designers more about their fall collection (a layering of basics and knitwear), their most recent inspirations, and how to pack an entire wardrobe into a single weekend bag.

Apiece Apart Fall 2013 04

Remodelista: Tell us about your inspirations for this year’s fall collection.

Apiece Apart: Typically, we create an atmosphere around the season, and we like a little tension, so for this collection we looked to Gauchos and Argentina. In the Pampas, the Gauchos layer, layer, layer, and wrap it all up with a belt. They layer up and then they layer down–we saw that being translated into the knitwear and heavier pieces.

Then there is Pina Bausch: a feminine, stoic, but slightly sensuous ideal that we translated into more feminine, draping pieces. We completely reduced that heaviness of the layering to the idea of Bausch dancing in a slip dress alone in a large room.

Apiece Apart Fall 2013 05

RM: Three words that describe your personal style?

Starr: Wear. Rinse. Repeat.

Laura: Casual, practical, modern.

Apiece Apart Fall 2013 03

Above: Structural hats from Etudes Studio are paired with the Julia Slit Sleeve Drape Coat and Talia Vest Dress in deep ochre.

RM: How do you pull off a hat (without looking like a fool)?

Starr: A hat works for all of us when it’s truly useful. A stormy day, a sunny day, a cold day. With the conviction of function, you can always pull off a hat.

Laura: Best when the elements (or dirty hair) require it.

Inventive Eco Organics Products

RM: Latest beauty product?

Starr: Laura introduced me to the Inventive Eco-Organics products, specifically, the Environmental CleanserActive Hydrobalance TonicRestorative Beauty Butter. Now I’m obsessed; my skin has never felt better. Laura tells me there is a huge, cultish following in Austin, TX, and I see why.

Laura: Liquid eye liner–it’s just about the only product I use. My product of choice is Maybelline Liquid Eyeliner in Blackest Black.

Apiece Apart Packing High Res

Above: Photograph by Tim Hout from Notes from Apart.

RM: We love the idea of packing your wardrobe into a single travel bag. Is this something you both can achieve?

Starr: Yes. And it’s amazingly freeing. I wear the same things exploring the woods as I do in a Manhattan meeting–just different shoes!

Laura: Prior to having my daughter, Eva–yes!

Style Counsel Apiece Apart on Living with Less portrait 8

Above: The suede Market Tote iwith smooth leather handles.

RM: What is your favorite piece of luggage, your go-to travel bag?

Starr: Lindsey Taylor, the landscape designer and editor behind many a gorgeous garden story, turned me on to the LL Bean Hunters Tote Bag in olive drab. It’s waterproof, zips shut, and comes in three sizes. For weekends away to our Vermont cabin I pack our food in the extra large tote, clothes in the large, and toiletries in the medium. When we are unpacked, we store them away like Russian dolls. Smart, multifunctional systems make me very happy.

Laura: My Apiece Apart Suede Tote and a colorful plastic mesh Indian market tote that I got from JM Dry Goods in Austin, TX. It folds up tiny and then expands to the size of a piece of luggage.

Apiece Apart Light Packing 0

Above: Photograph by Tim Hout from Notes from Apart.

RM: What is your packing strategy–any tips or secrets?

Starr: Acknowledge your uniform. Each one of us a system of elements that we wear most often. Find it. Stand by it. With that in mind, for traveling, start by picking fabrics that look good wrinkled. Roll just 10 pieces from your wardrobe into a bag: two tops, two pants, a skirt, a jacket and an overcoat. A flat for a day and a heel for night. Make sure that they all work together, that they are comfortable. There is nothing worse then traveling to an amazing place and wearing ill-fitting, uncomfortable clothes. Secret: I always sneak a black slip dress that can double as a nightie.

Laura: Just forget the silk pieces.

Style Counsel Apiece Apart on Living with Less portrait 10

RM: What’s the last thing you bought for your home?

Starr: My husband fell for the Tablo Tray Table at Canoe in Portland, OR. The weight and hand of the removable tray got him so I bought it for him for his birthday. A side table is a funny gift for a husband, I admit, but I use it in the morning to bring him breakfast.

Laura: A collection of beautiful handwoven Oaxacan baskets from JM Dry Goods for my daughter’s room.

Baron House Sweden by John Pawson 005

Above: Baron House by John Pawson.

RM: Favorite art piece or architectural work of the moment?

Starr: My most recent architectural adoration has been Fabien Baron’s vacation house in Sweden designed by John Pawson. Pawson’s own house is really beautiful, too; lots of smart design solutions. I entered the John Pawson world through his wonderful book Living and Eating. I soak up anything that makes me appreciate the simple things in life. As for art, I have recently been loving the paintings of Pierre Soulages.

Laura: Hanneline Rogeberg’s hard-to-categorize, huge canvases at Blackston Gallery in New York.

Spend more time with Apiece Apart on their blog, Notes from Apart, and sift through our other Style Counsel posts in our archive.

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Frequently asked questions

Who are Starr Hout and Laura Cramer?

Starr Hout and Laura Cramer are the co-founders of Apiece Apart, a clothing brand that creates elevated basics for women.

What is the philosophy behind Apiece Apart?

The philosophy behind Apiece Apart is to create beautiful and functional clothing that can be worn every day, and to encourage women to invest in fewer, high-quality pieces that will last for years.

What inspires Starr Hout and Laura Cramer's designs?

Starr Hout and Laura Cramer are inspired by the landscapes and cultures they encounter while traveling. They also draw inspiration from art and design, and incorporate those influences into their collections.

What sets Apiece Apart apart from other clothing brands?

Apiece Apart's focus on creating timeless, versatile pieces sets it apart from other clothing brands. Their clothing is designed to be worn season after season, and is made from high-quality, sustainable materials.

Where can I purchase Apiece Apart clothing?

Apiece Apart clothing is available for purchase on their website, as well as in select retailers around the world.

Product summary  Item 6 163Item 7 164

Style Counsel Apiece Apart on Living with Less portrait 15
Bags & Totes

Market Tote

$235.00 USD from Apiece Apart

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