clos-ette case: Emma Jane Pilkington

Posted on July 04, 2011 by Melanie Charlton

It’s true: the Clos-ette team has been known to swoon and squeal at the sight of a beautifully-designed room. And Emma Jane Pilkington –one of our long-time design crushes –has a knack for creating just the type of lovely, classic interiors that provoke gushes of adoration. Sought by style-setters like Ivanka Trump and Cristina Greeven Cuomo, the native Australian is known for creating spaces that are at once traditional, tasteful, and totally fresh. It’s no surprise, then, that the designer’s own Greenwich home boasts a dressing room that is as chic as she is. Even better? Pilkington is totally devoted to meticulously arranging and storing her wardrobe within said closet –officially making her a girl after our own hearts.

 clos-ette case: Emma Jane Pilkington

Emma Jane Pilkington's custom dream closet

We sat down with the designer to talk favorite fashions, closet features, and the art of the perfect fold.

How would you describe your personal style?

I tend to be simple, then I always put in an embellishment –something that’s more bohemian, like a Dries Van Noten; something that’s a little bit soft and edgy. And that’s also kind of like my interiors too, I would say – very, very clean and tailored, but they all have a soft edge to them.

How does your eye for interiors inform your fashion choices?

I think [there’s] definitely a crossover. When I go into a store, I definitely am drawn most to the colors first, or the pattern, and then I go from there. For example, right now I have this cool sort of citron-y yellow in my mind’s eye, and I think it’s because I’m looking to put it in this one house I’m working on. So I have to say, a lot of the colors I have been buying have been like it. I have this beautiful old Armani jacket that is this amazing yellow color that I brought out the other day. I was going down to the South of France, and I took it there, and I was just so happy. [Keep designer jackets in tip-top shape with our Signature Coat Hangers]. 

neatly folded stacks

Pilkington’s perfectly-folded stack of pashminas

What would your dream closet look like?
Well, I’ve actually just moved into a new house, and was able to do some new closets. I keep them open so you can see what you have.  I find that if you don’t see what you have, then you’re not going to wear it. I have a center island that has the drawers in it, and that serves as a table too that I can put things out on. I have a lot of shoe space – I have a wall for the shoes. I collect beautiful pashminas, so I have a place where I have them all folded. It just makes me happy to see them and the beautiful embroidery on them.

What are your secrets to a streamlined, organized wardrobe?

Basically, I think it’s about seeing what you have. I organize it by shirts and trousers, and by color as well, and usually casual to dressy. I fold all of my sweaters in tissue. I use one of those wooden paddles so everything’s the same size. I have them all over the place –I’ve even got my husband trying to use them on occasion! [clos-ette too’s Scented Folding Boards make folding easy – and will be back in stock soon!] I keep small purses, evening clutches and things like that,  in a drawer standing up. Crocodile ones I’ll keep in their bags. Then I have a wall within my bedroom that’s beautiful old wood cabinetry, so I sort of use that to keep some of my older things that I don’t use all the time.

Emma Jane Pilkington's custom dream closet

Pilkington’s cabinets are equal parts functional and fabulous

Your known for your expertly edited interiors. Do you often you edit your wardrobe?
I do –but not enough! I certainly try to. I do change it up seasonally, and I’ll move it up the attic. That’s a big project for me to be doing this fall –I’m going to tweak it all out. I don’t want to hoard things just for the sake of hoarding them.

Pilkington stores off-season goods in her attic

What’s on heavy rotation in your wardrobe?

Dries Van Noten silk sleeveless tops. They’re really beautiful designs and fabrics, so I’ll put one on with a pair of more simple pants, and some kind of little jacket or cardigan. That’s pretty much all year round, although when it gets colder, I tend to go a little bit more minimalist with turtlenecks and coats –although I try and keep the coats sort of interesting too. [I like] things that have some sort of a textural interest to them, [like] a Missoni. I run around, like we all do, so I don’t really wear heels during the day. In the summer I’ll wear sandals or Lanvin flats for running around the city; in the winter, I’ll wear flat but chunky boots. It sounds so dull, but I think there’s a way to make it so you’ve got layers of interest.

What’s your approach to accessories?

Getting dressed to go out is a lot different for me than getting dressed for the day, just because I don’t put together full outfits and all the jewelry when I’m running around during the day. At nighttime, I will put a lot more on, whereas during the day, I like to be a bit more discreet. With most things, I wear these amulet bracelets. They’re really beautiful and wonderful, and have got beautiful handmade tassels and all these different stones.  The different color combinations have different meanings. I always put those on during the day, because I think they add a little flair without being overly dressed. [clos-ette too’s Travel Jewelry Case is the perfect storage solution for chunky bracelets like these].

Pilkington’s must-have amulet bracelets 

What recent acquisitions are you particularly loving?

I just got this really cute little Etro jacket. It’s sort of a take on a Chanel jacket –it’s got sort of sheer olive green lace, and then down the front where the buttons are and where the cuffs would be, it’s got hemp –so it’s a take on it, but it’s very mellow and very cool. I love that – you can it put it over little black shirts. So that’s one of my new favorites. There are also some really great things from Dries van Noten this season that are sort of kimono style. Those, and some really cool Lanvin wood wedges.

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