STYLE MUSE, FASHION JOURNALIST
Written + Photographed By Kelley Mullarkey | Video Produced By Sean Stillmaker
My love for fashion has always remained deeply rooted in the early interactions I had with my grandmother during the beginning of my childhood. As a woman who treasured humbleness, she introduced me to the fundamentals of style long before I had any inkling of the meaning behind the word.
Year after year, we spent long afternoons together sprawled out across the floor, eating Cracker Jacks and digging through her endless boxes of chandelier earrings, jeweled necklaces and vintage brooches.
Having lived a rather simplistic and ordinary life, my grandmother used her sense of personal style to showcase her appreciation for the world around her. Never in possession of a disposable income or much money at all, she taught me, alongside my own mother, that real fashion celebrates who you are, not what you have.
Much like myself, Laurie’s passion for genuine self-expressive style stems directly from the strong relationships within her family.
With her abundance of knowledge and impeccably impressive maturity, Laurie, 18, delivers a sort of old meets new world feeling through everything she does. Wholeheartedly committed to the notion of “smart dressing”, Laurie focuses on the exquisite intimacy that rests between the relationship of a mother and daughter.
Surrounded by a close knit family of intuitive adults and exposed to the fascinating web of cultural affairs during her adolescence, Laurie matured very early in life.
Instead of playing in the sandboxes while growing up as a kid, Laurie was more interested in her mother’s stack of first editions of i-D and exploring her aunt’s library that was piled high with Vogue issues from around the globe.
“I cannot recall a time in my life when fashion was not around me. I’ve always valued it with the utmost respect.”
Almost immediately I came to learn that her mother, a woman introduced to me as a “casual mum”, is the single most important influential figure in Laurie’s life, and the one person Laurie credits the development of her style.
Dressed in a simple beaded vintage blouse, red lipstick and a sheer black skirt with delight, Laurie divulged more details regarding her mother.
“My mum is like a hero to me. She religiously took me to museums and exposed me to the cultural aspects of life. Stylistically, I learned everything I know about smart clothing and elegant dressing through her at a very early age. Her use of shaped trousers and minimalism stuck with me.”
Originally interested in becoming a clothing designer like her mother’s sister, who currently designs for M&S, Laurie’s sketchbook accompanied her nearly everywhere she went.
Eventually her interest and curiosity led her to discover the larger world that encompassed fashion. Slowly, Laurie began experimenting with both fashion illustration and photography while subconsciously falling in love with fashion journalism.
As a young girl growing up in Ilkeston, a small town outside Nottingham, England, a place primarily composed of blue-collar labor jobs, resting about an hour and a half outside of London, Laurie always knew that she was destined to come to London to work in fashion.
“I felt extremely suffocated in my hometown. You had to look and act a certain way to fit in. Creativity and individuality was almost frowned upon. I had to escape.”
While in secondary school, Laurie formed friendships with a group of much older photographers who introduced her to all sorts of fashion related news and publications. Shortly after, she started making films with a close friend called George Maier and starred in his short film, Memory.
Aside from her collaborations with others, Laurie spent time modeling, shooting street style and writing her own scripts and articles before making her way to study fashion journalism at London College of Fashion.
“I’ve always been inspired by what I learn along the way. Experience is such a valuable tool.”
In possession of such a posh demeanor and eloquent beauty, it is hard to believe that Laurie is in fact younger than myself. I still need a bit of convincing. In her presence you cannot help but feel like you are speaking with a woman wise beyond her years.
As I walked around Laurie’s room up on the top floor of The Costume Store (a student housing building that looks and feels more like a downtown penthouse) I felt at peace. Her entire wall is covered in images of Kate Moss, The Beatles and Edie Sedgwick. Laurie surrounds herself constantly by her greatest inspirations (aside from her mother) – film, music and culture.
Stowed away in her tiny, yet spacious for London wardrobe, are pieces that explain just how much Laurie cherishes this so-called aesthetic of smart dressing that she inherited from her mother.
“Black creates such a strong mood and interest. I love mixing minimalistic pieces with different shades and texture of black. I find the outcomes to be so interesting.”
Laurie’s use of black and white supports the philosophy that less is more, a belief that she firmly adheres to. With a specific focus placed on intricate detailing and craftsmanship throughout her closet, it is safe to say that Laurie admires a refined look.
From her structured day wear pieces (black fitted tops and tailored trousers) to her evening collection of flowy black dresses that can only be described as Parisian chic, Laurie’s style is most coveted.
Laurie is the real deal – as authentic as they come. With her inspirations firmly embedded in the sacredness of family relationships, her vision is impossible to duplicate.
As I rode the tube home back to my flat with Sean, I reflected on my own relationship with my mother and the impact that she has had on my style and more importantly, my life. While my parents worked endless hours, week after week, my grandmother and grandfather looked after me. My grandmother taught me the foundation of style. My mother gave me a life saturated with self-worth and self-expression.
If Laurie’s style has taught us anything, it’s that all things start and end with the family.