Alex Gilbert has fashion in her bones. Her previous enterprise, Paper Denim & Cloth, redefined the designer jeans market in the early 00s, with its utilitarian aesthetic standing out in an otherwise heavily distressed denim boom. Together with friend/ex-Prada womenswear director Jennifer Noyes, Gilbert has now launched M. Martin, a sleek and sophisticated womenswear label named after her grandparents Martin and Minna, who started their own fashion business as the Second World War ensued. Built around the idea of classic American sportswear, M. Martin brings crisp, yet easy dressing back to the fore.
'The pioneers of American sportswear created a movement that broke the mould,' say Gilbert and Noyes. 'Sportswear was about simple silhouettes that helped shape the democratic and casual sensibility of everyday clothing. The movement was clothing for comfort and versatility that rationally answered the needs of women, and was created mostly by women.
'When creating our collection, we wanted to create beautiful clothes that are made for these "real women", such as ourselves. It’s about how these clothes work with reality; one that is right for the lifestyle of the modern woman and that is "American" in its practicality, simplicity and democratic element.'
M. Martin’s inaugural pre-autumn and A/W 2015 collections are perfectly composed of understated, modern-day essentials, such as oversized knits, belted coats, tailored button-down shirts and fluid, billowing trousers. Comforting, familiar details, like the cut of a t-shirt, are applied to dresses for a contemporary spin. The label’s take on evening dress is rooted in loungewear, with suits and long dresses intentionally taking on an unstructured, pyjama-like quality.
'It all started with hostess pyjamas,' the pair explain. 'We fell in love with an image of Coco Chanel in her pyjama suit and created the idea of soft separates to pare back to a "modern day suit", such as soft blazers, cashmere wrap coats. They are as comfortable as wearing pajamas, but also always chic [enough] to throw on for a dinner party.'
M. Martin’s offerings are made all the more dreamy thanks to a liberal use of cashmere, crepe jacquard and felted wool. Together, each piece emanates an easy elegance that is sure to endure season after season.