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2013 August 12

From The Daily Summer: Joie De Julie Macklowe

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Julie Macklowe Julie Macklowe
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(NEW YORK) Real estate heiress, former hedge funder and full-time fashion obsessive Julie Macklowe has her own beauty line, vbeauté, a closet full of Met-worthy couture gowns, and an arsenal of riotous one-liners. She might be off Wall Street, but she still loves a deal—and who doesn’t, darling? 

This is quite the closet!
I actually hate shopping and hate buying clothes. I hate going into stores. I don’t like the experience of waiting.

Really? Where’d you get all these gowns?
I rip things out of magazines or I see them online, and then I call the store, and they send it to me on consignment. I try it on and I send it back if it doesn’t work. I’m the worst shopper when it comes to actually going into stores.

Do you pre-order?
No, never, ever. I’m not a season-ahead sort of shopper. By the time the weather changes, you can get it on sale anyway. That’s what happens when you start pushing the Fall collections in June! Who thinks that far ahead? There’s this pink Chanel dress I got last fall, for example. It’s scuba material, strapless, short, and balloon-y. I bought it, the zipper malfunctioned, and by the time I actually fixed the zipper, it was early June and the dress was on sale for 50 percent off. I hadn’t even worn it yet! I felt like an idiot.

Who’s really pushing things, price-wise? You don’t have to name specific designers…
Oh, I can name designers! Chanel, Tom Ford, and Lanvin. It’s gotten to a point where you almost want to wait for all their stuff to go on sale just on principle. I could buy a piece of fine jewelry for the same price as some of their clothes! They’re just offensively expensive.

Is this a topic of conversation amongst 
your friends?
Absolutely. The gals are talking, and the husbands are complaining.

Who are you loving right now?
Stella McCartney is a label I never really purchased until recently. For whatever reason, clothing has somehow gotten ungodly expensive in the past two years, but Stella’s stayed reasonable. Last season, I also got a lot of pieces from Theory and Proenza.

Any designers you’ve fallen out of love with?

I have stuff from Gucci from a long time ago, when it used to be great, back when Tom Ford was designing. I haven’t bought anything from them in years.

Who’s your personal shopper?
I don’t use a personal shopper.

Have you ever?

Why not?
I didn’t even know they existed until a few years ago. I already act like my friends’ personal shopper. I’d walk through Barneys if I had time and pick out their outfits. But you can kill a whole day waiting for salespeople.

Do your friends all ask you to shop with them?
They do, but unfortunately I just don’t have the time anymore. A few years ago I had more time. Hedge fund life was nice. I’d be done by, like, 5 p.m.

Did you shop more in your hedge fund days?

I shopped differently. When I was younger I bought a lot more dresses and gowns. Now, I can almost shop in my own closet. I’ve passed the seven-year rule about re-wearing things. At this point, I know nobody else is going to show up in the same outfit!

Has that ever happened?

It happened with the red Oscar de la Renta gown I am wearing in these pages, actually! When I wore it to the Met Ball in 2009, Jeff Gordon’s wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, was wearing it, too. It was sort of embarrassing. And not only were we in the same gown, but we left at the same time so they got a bunch of photos of us, like, pressed against each other. It’s worse when you’ve actually paid for the dress, as opposed to borrowing it!

Any other Met Ball memories you’d like to share?
In 2009, I custom-ordered a nude, very sheer Alexander McQueen gown that cost a fortune. Then I got pregnant, and when they sent it to me to try on, I was like, “Nope, no way, I’m not buying it.” A year later, I found it on Gilt Groupe for $1,400—I’m pretty sure it was my exact dress I’d pre-ordered and didn’t keep, at 90 percent off the original price! Needless to say, I bought it, and at the Met Ball that year Anna Wintour looked at me like she was wondering if I was wearing clothes. I looked very naked.

How about last year’s Met Ball?
Chris Benz and I had matching Manic Panic-ed hair! I had it in test mode for three or four months before the event. Being the mommy with hot pink hair made me the joy of every four-year-old in my daughter’s class. Some people thought I was channeling The Hunger Games.

What’s the story behind this year’s Met 
Ball getup? 
I went with Zang Toi. He wanted to make me a custom gown, and we decided together on hot pink, because, to me, that’s punk. I wondered if I was too old to have my midriff exposed, so in the end we went with only a little midriff. But I’d never go out in public like that, normally.

Not a big crop-top fan, then?
I was very happy when long shirts came back into style. At 35, I don’t care how good your six-pack is, it’s just uncomfortable, especially after having a child. God bless the girl who can pull that off, but it’s not me.

How did you become friends with Zang?
We met at the CFDA Awards, probably three years ago. It was love at first sight. I also remember the first piece of his I fell in love with: a cape beaded with the New York skyline on the inside. It was the most magnificent piece of clothing I’ve ever seen. He’s one of the warmest people I’ve ever met—so kind, welcoming, and lovely. No wonder they just made him a knight in Malaysia!

Did you have to clear out closet space as the friendship blossomed?
Prior to meeting Zang, I owned a ton of Oscar de la Renta gowns, some Vuitton, some Marc Jacobs, and a ton of McQueen, which I still have. But Zang’s the first designer I really knew personally, as opposed to just buying his clothes.

Who are your other designer pals?
Early on, I was one of Jason Wu’s muses. I just love Jason. His career has become amazing! I also have a great relationship with Chris Benz, and I really adore Zac Posen. I know Zac quite well.

Are there designers you wish you were friends with?
Who was the nut job that was at Balmain?

Christophe Decarnin! I wish I knew him when he was designing there. I’d also love to know Karl Lagerfeld better, but who wouldn’t?

Back to your closet. How many gowns do you think you have in total?
A lot. Enough that the Met is interested in having them. But the reality is that I have a daughter. Everything is Zoe’s first if she wants it.

Is she a fashionette in training?

Oh my God, is she ever! There isn’t a high heel that child has seen she doesn’t like. She’s already dressing herself at 5-years-old, which I was doing when I was four, actually. My view is, go for it!

Are there any items you’ll never part with?
That Dior shirt! [pictured at right] I wore it on my first date with my husband. I can’t bear to part with it. Also, my ski clothes are my oldest: if it isn’t falling apart, you can still use it. I’m a hardcore skier. I only do double black diamonds. I grew up in Aspen; if I couldn’t ski, it’d be a problem.

What was your style like as a kid?
I shopped at Wet Seal and Contempo Casuals. I had big, bad Eighties hair. The pictures are scary.

How high are your heels?
On a daily basis, I wear flats. I’m the girl with high heels in her bag. I whip them out when needed.

What are your thoughts on year-round white?
I don’t believe in it! I think it’s, like, the worst idea ever. Cream’s another story. There are deep creams you can get away with, in wool. I’m careless and I spill things, so I really don’t like to wear white ever.

Any other style rules?
Once you’re a certain age, you have to cover your arms. It’s a different age for everyone. Also, skirt lengths: I used to wear 10-inch-long skirts. I’m not doing that anymore. Modesty needs to be appropriate with one’s age. Otherwise, you just look like a floozy.

Any worst-dressed moments you’d like 
to share? 
When I went to the CFDA Awards with Zang in 2011, and I wore a big green cape. I just have to agree with everyone who said I looked like I was channeling André Leon Talley. Oh, and once at a New Yorkers for Children event I wore a blazer with short shorts. It looked like I wasn’t wearing any pants. Hey, we all make mistakes! 

Did you catch that Times article about the cost of being on the benefit circuit?
I did. Who didn’t! Let me say, they tried to interview me for it, and I didn’t want to do it. I’m glad I didn’t. I’ll leave it at that. 

What do you usually wear out in the Hamptons?
It’s casual! I wear a wrap and a bikini. It’s the opposite of what I wear in New York. It’s not like I’m cruising around in sweatpants and Uggs, but the relics of my closet live there. Every t-shirt and denim item eventually makes it out to the Hamptons. I wear Ralph Lauren cashmere sweaters I bought on eBay 10 years ago! I love deals, in case you couldn’t tell. 

Do you still get a high off discounts?
Who doesn’t? I’m always looking for a deal. Why pay more if you don’t have to?

Do you hit up discount department stores?
I used to go to Century 21 all the time, and I love outlet malls like Woodbury Commons, and I always go when I’m traveling in Europe. They have the best outlet stores there.

Have you ever thought of insuring your clothes?
Never. That’s the silliest idea I’ve ever heard. I do try to avoid dry cleaning whenever possible, though. It’s horrible for clothing! And I really try to properly maintain cashmere. I always wear something underneath it, and I only wash it once a season. Unless a gown really gets trashed, you don’t need to clean it that often.

Do your clothes ever get trashed?

Well, that McQueen I wore to the Met Ball and looked naked in? I also wore it to another event where I decided to walk through the whole Louvre barefoot. Forget the dress. The miracle is that I didn’t get Hepatitis C!

PLUS! Julie Gets Picky...

Prada vs. Chanel:
“Chanel. Prada had its moment 10 years ago. The first suit my husband bought me was Prada. I used to love Prada, but it’s become really dated to me.” 

Barneys vs. Bergdorf: “Barneys. They have more interesting designers. It’s more edgy, and more curated.”

vs. Harper’s Bazaar:
Vogue. There is only one Vogue! I was a Vogue “It girl” in 2008, hence the “It Kit” in my vbeauté line. As much as I love Harper’s, Anna Wintour sets style.”

Vanity Fair
vs. New York:
Vanity Fair. They’re more scathing and honest.”

Carbs vs. Protein: “
Protein. I could live off eggs. I do eat carbs, but sparingly.”

Van Cleef or Chopard:
“Neither! JAR. He’s having an exhibit at the Met in November. He’s the only jeweler that matters in this century, in my opinion.”

Manolo vs. Jimmy Choo:
“Christian Louboutin. He’s evolved the shoe! Louboutins are super comfortable, and more rock ‘n’ roll. I personally do not like wearing Manolos.”

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