I saw her lingering in the hallways of Preschool sometimes at pickup and drop-off and, yes, she is gorgeous (see image above) and tall and always impeccably dressed, but I didn't know. We'd do our motherly acknowledgment of each other, standing side-by-side, shifting back and forth in our city-battered black boots, commenting on the exquisite and evolving rainbow of kids' artwork. We traded knowing glances and small hellos, we did these things, but all the while, I didn't know.
I didn't know she is a fashion designer. Amber Patton, mom to two, mom to Big Girl's little friend and classmate J, is a fashion designer.
And I felt foolish for not knowing, for not guessing, because you can just look at her and it makes immense sense. But alas, when I am in that school, my hands tethered to the tiny hands of my girls, clutching backpacks and lunches and library books, new and overdue, my mind doesn't go there.
When I found out, I went to her website and smiled because her clothes are beautiful, and because it is clear as day that she is doing what she should be doing, and living a creative dream.
Last night, I had the distinct privilege of seeing her clothes, the beautiful garments from her forthcoming Spring/Summer 2012 Collection, at a trunk show at The Plaza Hotel. Yes, the other moms from the Red Room and I (and some other stunning, fashion-y creatures) gathered in a beautiful duplex suite on the Penthouse floor of the iconic NYC hotel to hang out with Amber and see her work. There was champagne and cheese and racks and racks of beauty. Amber, dressed smartly in all black and a bold black hat, welcomed us warmly and whisked us around pulling things for each of us.
But before I got down to business and zeroed in on a potential purchase, I chatted with Amber. And the passion was there, in her eyes and her animated movements, and in her smile. This is really amazing, I said. I will blog about it! And then I whipped out my phone and started snapping away. Blog about it? I didn't know you had a blog, she said. I didn't know you were a writer.
She didn't know. And why would she? Until last night, we were just moms in the hall. Standing side by side, beginning our days, loving our kids.
My Preschool buds and I swooned over the silky fabrics and cheery patterns. I was taken by the mixture of practicality and irreverent whimsy. Timeless jackets and dresses in black and cream mingled with more romantic cousins - bold bursts of vibrant color, shimmering swaths of bursting flowers, fabulous and floppy pockets.
It came time to try something. And I knew just what it would be. I marched over to the rack and pulled it out. The aqua and white sleeveless silk number with coral piping. I slipped into the gorgeous marble bathroom and gave it a whirl. Shirt on, I looked in the mirror and smiled. I put my own little black blazer over it and waltzed out, showed my friends, and Amber. Everyone agreed that it was very me, and indeed The One. I refused to take it off. I wore it out, tag and all, and did a little fashion show for Husband when I got home.
And here it is. What do you think? Isn't it perfection? You will see that it also happens to go very well with the tiles of our shower, but that is neither here nor there. I can't wait to wear it. And when I do, when I will wear it, I will smile. Yes, because it is stunning and the portrait of spring, but also because a friend and fellow mother dreamed it up, and then designed it.
Thank you, Amber, for including me in your gorgeous evening. I am inspired and impressed by you and your beautiful things. And, patently, I am excited to be the proud owner of my very first Amber Patton piece. See you at school!
Have you ever been pleasantly surprised to learn that someone you know is pursuing a dream, making it happen? Do you like shopping? Do you like shopping for others (your partner, your kids, your friends) better than shopping for yourself? When given the choice, would you choose something more practical or more funky? Most importantly of course, do you like my new shirt?