Sarah Aaronson, the designer behind Edith Palm, was born and raised in Los Angeles. Citing such disparate influences as Egyptian hieroglyphs, seahorses, Le Jardin Majorelle, teddy boys and Ida Rubinstein, Sarah's sartorial vision stems from the idea that clothes are not made like they once were. Combining distinctive, often vintage, fabric, buttons and trim with exquisite details and fabrication, the clothing is a convergence of masculine vs. feminine, appropriate vs. inappropriate and rebellion vs. restraint. Sarah’s creations represent a return to feminine formality with a tinge of subversion and humor, as well an antithetical approach to mass-production. Like the eccentric fashion icon, Marchesa Luisa Casati, who proclaimed “I want to be a living work of art”, Edith Palm is designed for the witty, headstrong woman who cares more about quality than the current passing fancy and, above all, understands the power of individuality.
Some of the past Edith Palm collections have been based on ideas such as: sleepwalking through Egypt during the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922; the hypothetical conï¬uence of Egon Schiele, Hasidic Judaism and post-WWI Vienna; Russian Constructivism meets Southwestern arts and crafts (imagine if the Bolsheviks invaded the New Mexico in 1917); a Victorian shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean; and one appropriately named "moga-mobo" (modern girl, modern boy) after the vogue crowd in Japan during the 1920's. The common thread is creating a narrative using fashion, history and the fresh eye of modernity. From her Hancock Park atelier, Sarah currently produces between one and two full collections per year as well as specialized garments designed to meet a modern woman’s multifaceted needs, whether it be outfits for an African safari, an Art Deco origami-inspired wedding gown, elegant daywear, red carpet attire and anything else in between. All garments are custom made, purposefully structured to flatter a woman’s figure, hiding her troubles and pronouncing her charms.
Herewith some of her inspirations and favorite things...
Name: Sarah Aaronson
Occupation: Fashion Designer
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, CA
How did your interest in fashion begin? Since regular fashion shows with my barbie dolls, really. I think it happened at birth.
How does being a born and bred Angeleno affect your aesthetic? It has such a big influence on my aesthetic. Here we have the birth and glamour of Hollywood as we know it. We have Pickfair and Angels Flight and John Fante and Angeleno Heights and the old theatre district of downtown, the Norma Talmadge Estate in Los Feliz. Nowhere in the the world can you find Charlie Chan's Music Box steps in the middle of a gentrified predominantly Latino neighborhood. The architecture alone... From 30's deco, to 20's Hacienda, to midcentury, all living amongst each other. This is the land of Edith Head and Adrienne. It played host to the most aesthetically sophisticated era of the 20th century, and while it may be overshadowed by the tackiness of wannabe actors, there is an old Hollywood glamour here that can still be found in the likes of Musso & Frank or the hundreds of Hollywood Studio Apartments built for and rented by the likes of Marion Davies and numerous other silent screen actors. My atelier itself was once lived in and owned by Mae West. Glamour is always lurking in Los Angeles even if it is hidden under the seedy glory of forgotten dreams.
How does being a woman affect your work? Being a woman has everything to do with my design process. It makes you aware of fit and flattery. It also edits to some degree your capacity for fantasy because you can't help but think of it on your own body. Certainly, I want the clients to wear the clothes, not the clothes to wear the clients. While I love telling a story through fashion and cite numerous historical references, I am highly aware that at the end of the day, women want to feel and look beautiful. It's about funneling the references into something actually wearable, subtly sexy, and not too literal or costume like. So if I'm able to make a woman feel beautiful, any intelligence behind the design is the bonus. To me it is all about the ability to be mischievous without drawing unwanted attention, to be subtly sophisticated, to be striking without force of exoticism, and to be understated and elegant in the same pose.
What are you currently working on? A little capsule collection for my upcoming trunk show in Venice, CA on the 28th of April. Think Mao's proletarian China with the lingering influences of its opulent past.
Tell me about your process of creating a collection: There are no words...
If you could dress anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be? Cate Blanchett, Mata Hari or Patti Smith for starters. Lauren Bacall or Hedy Lamarr early in their careers. Slim Keith, Millicent Rogers, Loulou de la Falaise, Rosita Forbes, Lady Evelyn Carnarvon or any one of the women found in Women Travelers: A Century of Trailblazing Adventures 1850-1950. Bianca Jagger, Iman and the one and only D.V.
Favorite historical artwork? Anything by Egon Schiele...
Favorite historical fashion collection? Yves Saint Laurent’s Homage aux Années 40s Spring 1971 collection, which was inspired by 1940s fashion. Some felt it romanticized the German occupation of France during World War II, while others felt it brought back the unattractive utilitarianism of the time (the following link has great quotes regarding this collection: http://lamodeandotherthings.blogspot.com/) or Yves St. Laurent's 1976 Opéra-Ballet Russes Collection... The COLORS! So hard to choose. There are so many from Cristobal Balenciaga to Chanel and on and on.
Favorite city for inspiration? Somewhere between Paris and Marrakech...
Favorite music to listen to while designing? Everything from Sleep to Duke Ellington to Nick Cave to Big Youth to Burzum depending on the mood of the collection.
What is the last book that you read? The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter.
If you could be any animal, what would you be? I don't know what I'd be, but I connect with whales more than any other in the animal kingdom.