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In the world of fashion, our dear friend Shirin Guild is a true original. For the past 20 years, the designer has been crafting inventive, modernist clothing inspired by traditional attire in her native Iran. “Feel, texture, drape and color are my priorities,” says Guild, who often commissions unique textiles for her U.K.-based label. The result? A collection of inimitable, luxurious layering pieces with a cult following. Here, the lovely and fascinating Guild opens up about her personal style and more.
How would you describe your personal style?
The clothes I design for my collections are the clothes that I want to wear myself. The clothes are based on simple square or tulip shapes: they are comfortable, sensual, enduring and elegant designs which transcend times of day and occasion. They suit women of various body types and ages. I usually wear shades of black (brown-black like tar, green-black and blue-black) or clothes that are all white (again in various tones) accented with a touch of pure, brilliant color. I wear them with training shoes which are comfortable and informal. Sometimes I add a shawl that has been hand-woven in the mountains of Iran or a modern crafted paper necklace – or even just a rubber elastic band in an appealing shade of red around my wrist.
What inspires your designs?
I draw upon the menswear worn in my native Iran and the women who wear dresses over their trousers for warmth. I combine elements from traditional dress with a modern, minimal – sometimes quirky – aesthetic.
What is your favorite investment piece?
Years ago, whilst travelling through India, I purchased some antique silk saris. They were woven in exquisite, jewel-like, colors. Some evidenced a patina of wear and some had been damaged in places: they were not museum pieces. About eight years ago I cut and patched these fabrics to make a small collection of unique evening jackets. I chose one piece for myself.
What is your favorite shopping destination?
I like the thrill of discovering artisanal textiles that I can use in my collections in the remote bazaars and mountainous regions of Iran.
What’s your favorite thing to collect?
I adore ceramics –in particular the porcelain pots, with tips of colour, by Edmund de Waal.
What’s the most cherished item in your wardrobe?
Beautiful clothes are a joy to wear – they can also become the holder of deeply personal memories, those of your own and those you love. They become infused by the wearer and this lingers in their absence. The most sentimental item in my wardrobe is a dip-dyed waistcoat by Comme des Garcons that my late husband Robin Guild used to wear.
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