Ever wonder who creates some of the fashion-forward looks you see on Nordstrom.com? Get to know Mary Catherine Muir, Senior Stylist and the brains behind all the beauty. The Thread caught up with Mary Catherine in between her hectic shoot and travel schedule to get the lowdown on all things fashion.
THE THREAD: What’s your fashion process as you get dressed for the day?
MARY CATHERINE MUIR: I try not to think about how I put together my garments and accessories in the morning. If I do, I’ll end up in some sort of stylized costume—that happens more often than not. I usually walk through the apartment and choose one item to play with. For some strange reason everything else just piles on top of that one item like a magnet—jewelry, scarves, hats etc. Next, I’ll look in a mirror and remove one item—believe it or not! The only time I put thought into what I’m wearing is if I’m heading out to an event or shopping for food/wine. I love grocery store fashion drama!
Who’s your fashion/style icon?
MARY CATHERINE: Wow! This is a difficult one because it changes daily. Today it is the Mulleavy sisters from Rodarte. They think through absolutely every detail of the garment and shoe design, music, makeup, and hair for their presentations. Their attention to detail is vital and admirable. I prefer unique and dramatic personalities for inspiration.
What inspires you?
MARY CATHERINE: I’m inspired by so many things and people, such as designer Vivienne Westwood, visionary filmmaker Agnès Varda, photographer Miroslav Tichy, absurdist Daniil Kharms, safety pins, white paper, old paintbrushes, mold, gently browned meringue peaks, architecture (especially buildings that look like abstract cologne bottles), the smell of old books and language. What isn’t inspiring?!
Any future trend advice you would like to share?
MARY CATHERINE: Watch, learn and create something that makes you happy and inspired. What is currently happening across borders and traveling can help create the trend of the moment. Take that suggestive imagery and own it with the way you put together colors in your wardrobe, the way you might layer your clothing, maybe leaving wrinkles in a garment. You create the trend.
Did you always dream about being a stylist when you were growing up?
MARY CATHERINE: My poor parents! I wanted to be a fashion designer and was constantly rearranging and/or cutting my mother’s drapes to make into “hosiery” and bikinis and dresses. At the tiny age of 3 I had absolutely no concept of construction and proper coverage of body parts. At age 5 and on it was de rigueur for me to wear my clothing backwards, upside down and bury things to decompose them. Styling was something that wasn’t a practice back then. Few people knew what it was—when I finally figured it out, I learned everything the hard way. So many stories with that one! I was very lucky to work with some incredibly patient photographers, models, and art directors.
If you weren’t a senior stylist what would you be doing instead?
MARY CATHERINE: If I weren’t a senior stylist, I would be a puppet maker. I’ve always been interested in movement, animation of non-traditional materials. I might also try designing and sewing unique accessories. Maybe I can do this on weekends!
Style According to Mary Catherine: The 10 Things Every Woman Needs In Her Wardrobe
2. Black dress
3. Brightly colored shoe
4. Beautiful underpinning that fits perfectly
5. A hat with personality
6. An easygoing handbag for daytime
7. A minaudière or clutch for evening
8. Gloves in dark brown: they work well for day or night, and with any other color
9. Waterproof boots
10. A scarf with a heritage feeling
Interview by Tamala Ayres | Photos from Instagram