By Lacelliese King
Over the past few years, I have come to know and love the New York City-based designer Molly Moorkamp for her line of ladylike basics that are anything but basic: her classics like silhouette-skimming shifts, swishy separates, and simply-executed sweaters all promise to stand the test of time in both form and in function.
When Molly and her brother Sam Moorkamp launched her collection in November 2018, Molly was deemed the “designer dressing a new generation of uptown girls,” by Vogue. Two years later, she has proved that her talent for dressing women extends well beyond the boundaries of the Upper East Side, and is equally befitting of girls of 17 as much as girls of 75.
A few other qualities to admire in Molly: she navigates the fracas of social media with an enviable elegance that hearkens both vintage glamour and modern sensibility—very tokens of the Moorkamp brand itself. She is a walking Rolodex when it comes to knowing the crème-de-la-crème of NYC bakeries, florists, and cafés, and is my current go-to source for film recommendations, having curated an extensive two-part list of classics that made it off the “MM” cutting floor.
I find Molly’s style to be boldly demure; sophisticated, yet unpretentious; non-conforming, yet utterly appropriate. And upon even closer consideration, in a world of fashion excess, it would seem that she has mastered the art of restraint in everything from accessorizing (for the style-minded) to merchandising (for the business-minded). And, she makes a mean “Molly martini.” Or two? The art of restraint, after all, includes knowing when not to exercise it!
Shake it all up, and you get a mixture of style savvy and design derring-do that makes just the right recipe for a fascinating style profile. With that, it is a delight to welcome Molly to The Glam Pad today. Grab the olives, cue the vodka and sit down with us for this edition of Style Profiles!
Q: How do you describe your personal style?
A: Feminine, Classic, no twist. We need to stop twisting.
Q: Who are your top five favorite fashion designers and top five interior designers (past/present)?
A: Fashion Designers:
Cristobal Balenciaga, Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta (my former boss), Bill Blass, Sam Moorkamp (my brother and co-creative partner of MM).
Daniel Romualdez, Renzo Mongiardino, Mario Buatta.
Q: What are five (material) possessions you could not live without?
A: My charm bracelet, a mechanical pencil for sketching, Elnett extra strong hold hairspray, Stubbs and Wootton monogrammed velvet loafers, my personal collection of MM shifts.
Q: Describe your go-to, everyday outfit.
A: An MM shift or Daphne sweater with white jeans and nude ballet flats paired with a frosted lip and a fresh haircut. Never a lot of accessories. We’re in an extended period of over-accessorizing.
Q: What is your single must-have piece from the Molly Moorkamp collection?
A: Anything from our bridal collection – particularly custom.
Q: Where do you find mentorship and/or inspiration for your business?
A: I was lucky enough to be Cheree Berry’s first intern when I graduated high school in St. Louis, way before moving to New York to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. I worked for her every summer in college. Seeing a boss and mentor of mine grow a small business into a thriving company was an excellent example. She helped me nail my first apprentice-ship at Oscar de la Renta, and the rest is history.
Q: What are some of your favorite design-oriented places in NYC to shop and explore?
A: My neighborhood! I study the goings-on of Madison Avenue retail like a credit analyst…also I always pop into the best florists in my neighborhood when I need a break from work for some inspiration in color and composition. Plaza Flowers or ZeZe specifically.
Q: We know you love a good cocktail hour: what are your five “bar cart” essentials?
A: A proper bar needs not only to be stocked, but also back-stocked, and in close proximity. That’s number one. I think a range of glassware is important too: it’s good to have something you use every day such as these simple basket weave crystal glasses from Pottery Barn; something for a special occasion like Baccarat Harmonie from Scully & Scully, and something unique but not too delicate to “wow” guests (vintage or something picked up while traveling with some color, such as these tumblers from Houses & Parties).
Guests should not feel scared to break a glass, but it should inspire nonetheless. There should be generous bowls of cut lemons and limes regardless of serving 2 people or 10. One last thing – it’s important to think of your bar as any other service area of your home – it should be beautiful but also make sure it functions completely as a space (even if it’s just a tray on a console). Nothing is worse than an uncomfortable guest watching you fly around your house getting ice, mixers etc. from various spots. I could go on…
Q: Tell us about your ideal day in the life of Molly Moorkamp… where did you go, who did you see, what did you have to eat (and drink!)?
A: I’m an early bird, up before most. I most likely will not go to the gym and scan the NY Post instead (awful habit). Grab a cappuccino at St. Ambreous and hit the ground running. I make a to-do list every morning, and attack my emails (a la Melanie Griffith commuting on the Staten Island Ferry in Working Girl).
My brother and I will head to the garment district almost every day to check in on our factory development and production. We’re really a bunch of old school 7th Avenue slickers. I’m a wild creature of habit, so we both eat the same silly salad every day (yawn) and drink far too much coffee.
The Molly Martini playlist revs up around 4:00 and the martini is poured around 6. I’d love to find myself at a neighborhood haunt freezing outside with friends. Donohue’s (UES ladies you get it), Match 65 and Orsay have been my go-to’s during quarantine. If it’s a night in, I’m reviewing movies for our next MM movie list. Cold cream and lights out.
Q: What can we look forward to from MM in the next six months?
A: We have a lot of exciting top-secret developments planned this year, including expanding on all our major categories: cocktail, knitwear, bridal, swim. While I’d love to expand into every dream category of mine this year, slow and steady wins the race.
A closing thought: As all of Molly Moorkamp’s patterns are hand-painted by a team of MM illustrators, we can only hope that Molly’s design expertise won’t stop at the closet, but might extend to outfitting other areas of the home as well… stay tuned! Thank you, Molly, for sharing your time and lovely thoughts with us! Shop the Molly Moorkamp collection here, including bathing suits and new releases for Resort 2021!