Rachel Antonoff is the best friend you've always wanted. How do we know? Well, besides being longtime fans of the New York designer's flirty, cheeky line, we stopped by her Upper West Side digs (which she shares with brother Jack, aka the guitarist of Fun).
Before we could say, "I'm with her," the petite designer gave us a full tour of her treehouse-like apartment, a peek at her awesome closet, and a prints-on-prints, window-dressing-meets-wardrobe moment that could only be rivaled by The Sound of Music. Meet your new BFF, ahead.
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Photographed by Maia Harms
You moved in just this past February. What have you done to the place since? Did you re-work it at all?
"No, I love the place as is. It reminds me of a treehouse with the one [set of] stairs going up and the one going down. There wasn’t a lot to be done, and I’m not much of a doer when it comes to decorating. My old apartment was like a couch, TV, and bed; that was it. It wasn’t even a studio!"
Vintage dress and Bass Loves Rachel Antonoff shoes.
We're obsessed with this ballerina carpet. It's a collaboration piece that was designed by artist Laurie Simmons — a name you may recognize, because she's Lena Dunham's mother. "My friend gave it to me as a gift. I love it," Antonoff told us.
How has it been living with your brother?
"Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. I wish he was here more, but he literally lives on the road. Since we moved in in February, he has slept here say, a total of five nights. I’m only used to living here by myself. When he is here, it’s so fun. We’ll watch TV, he’ll go downstairs, and I’ll go upstairs. It’s really cozy. We’ve also been best friends for a long, long time. So, living with him is like living with my best friend."
A very-necessary close-up shot of these awesome, autographed jelly sandals.
Speaking of friends, you roll with a fairly well-known crew. What’s it like having such a creative and successful group of friends?
"I don’t think I can answer that, but that’s a good thing. My friends span such a wide gamut of jobs, and I feel so inspired by all of them. Jack and I have had the same friends since kindergarten. Our best friends are from our Jersey schools, and as people get married their spouses get inducted. We have a really small, core group of people that’s like family."
Can you tell us about your last collection for fall '13?
"The theme was best friends. It was the practice of the institution, and sort of the time-honored thing. We did the video
that explored that."
So, what do you think makes your friends the best?
"They’re just the best! They’re so sweet and thoughtful. They’re genuinely nice and good people that I feel proud to know. They always make me feel cared for and special."
Antonoff's apartment is nearly entirely covered in the perfect, serene shade of green: Teresa's Green, by Farrow & Ball. The color-wheel clock (and her fringe dress) add the perfect touch.
Okay, tell us about these curtains.
"Well, I love prints. I really fell in love with this print from fall ’13. I’ve always wanted to incorporate a print from the line into my home, but with work and sleep, upholstering chairs is not high on my list. We shot part of the video here, so our set designer made these great pillows which inspired me to go further and have the curtains made."
Rachel Antonoff dress and Bass Loves Rachel Antonoff shoes.
What's your method for getting dressed in the morning?
"I get dressed like I eat. I literally wear the same thing everyday. I go through the same type of outfit for months at a time and then switch it up. It’s like the shoemaker's kids going barefoot, now that [my line] is my full-time job. And while I love clothing, and I love fashion and dressing up, doing it has kind of taken a little bit of the fun out of it that I used to find personal."
Like in getting yourself dressed?
"Yeah! I just want to go to work and be comfortable. I love clothes, though. In terms of day-to-day, I’m so wrapped up in work that I just want to be comfy. You acquire a uniform."
So, besides your own brand, what brand do you wear the most?
"I wear a lot of J.Crew. I wear a lot of Wren. I love Timo Weiland, but I don’t necessarily have fancy places to go to wear Timo Weiland. I wear my J. Brand pants almost everyday, and I wear a lot of Peter Jensen."
Yes, these bunny ears are for wearing, not just for show.
You’ve lived in the Upper West Side for a while now, what makes it so special?
"I feel like, as a young-ish person, there aren’t many young-ish people living here. If my four best friends didn’t live 10 blocks away, I’d be outta here. I see my four friends five to six times a week. We watch TV together; I’ll do work at their respective houses. I know that if we didn’t live 10 blocks from each other, we’d still see each other, but not like this. It’s like Friends
. Everyone is popping in and out; it’s so special, and it’s so cozy. When they migrate to Brooklyn, I probably will, too."
Rachel Antonoff top, J Brand jeans, Bass Loves Rachel Antonoff shoes.
How do you balance your work life and your home life?
"I wish I was one of those people that kept it separate. I think that would be really great and productive to leave my computer at the office and be at home when I’m home. But I leave work to work at home. It never ends. Inspiration-wise, I usually get it when I’m walking or running. I do a lot of jogging in the park when it’s time to work on a collection, and a lot of walking around the office. I get ideas when I’m moving physically."
The living-room stairs leads right up to Antonoff's own personal oasis: the bedroom.
What’s your favorite part of your home?
"I love my room — my bed, specifically. I just decided to go for it with the bed and make it really high. It looks like a five-year-old's bed. Nothing about me is that cliché-feminine, but I was trolling the aisles of Target and stumbled upon the Laura Ashley for Target stuff and it’s just explosions of flowers. I figured you should go all the way with that, or don’t at all. So, I did."
Adidas top and Target pajama pants.
A few months ago, you went for a completely unexpected look: cornrows. You’ve been pretty experimental with your hair. What’s going on?
"It was around October, maybe November, when I was chatting with my friends and somehow cornrows came up, and braids, and it happened so fast. I thought, 'I’m gonna do that.' They thought I wasn’t, and I made an appointment and I did it. It was outrageously painful and really painful thereafter. It was interfering with my job and my life — I couldn’t sleep! So, I took them out two weeks later."
Do you consider yourself to be a beauty risk-taker?
"Not really! I’ve actually had the same haircut for over 10 years. The blonde thing happened so gradually that I didn’t realize I was blonde until I got here."
Up next for Antonoff? A little bit more than friends. "The theme for the next collection is having a crush," she says. "The feeling of having a crush and choosing clothes that you’re going to feel great in."