Introducing La Double J, a new collection by self proclaimed maximalist, JJ Martin whose love of prints inspired her vibrant line of clothing for women and children, as well as home decor. In honor of the brand’s BG debut, we sat down with the designer to get to know her top styling tricks for wearing prints.
PhotoCredit: Alberto Zanetti, Vogue Mexico
Bergdorf Goodman: How did you decide to turn your love of prints into a fashion collection?
JJ Martin: It happened by chance! I’ve been vintage obsessed for nearly 20 years and have amassed a pretty big collection of vintage clothing in my home in Milan. All of it is very bright, very print and pattern-focused— I’m a maximalist by nature. Two years ago I started my website ladoublej.com as a shoppable magazine selling vintage clothes and jewelry all shown on creative women in Milan. Then, on a whim, I decided to make one simple dress with vintage patterns I found in the Mantero silk archive in Lake Como so we could finally sell more than just one item. The idea to do new clothes was spontaneous but it hit a cord and all of a sudden we were selling alot of dresses! So the collection just grew from there. Now we make 1-2 new models every few months and show them in new prints, always keeping the ones that worked best from months past.
BG: From easy to advanced, what is your best advice on how to mix prints?
JJ: The easiest way to mix prints is to keep your patterns in the same color family and to use different scales. So if you’ve got a large print on your skirt, it’s great if your shirt print is more micro and small. Really the easiest way to mix your prints is to try a printed sock in a similar color as your printed shirt. You go up the scale with pattern mixing between genres — its a bit trickier, but I love the way that geometrics or stripes partner up with big blooms or floral prints. If all else fails, just resort to a printed silk shirt and keep the rest clean. you can’t go wrong!
BG: How do you incorporate mixed prints into your home decor?
JJ: I’m nuts about mixing prints at home. In my guest room I have covered the walls with a wild red, green, mustard and turquoise blue print from Stig Lindbergh designed in the 1940s and layered over it these two huge floral paintings that my great grandmother did in the 1950s. There’s alot of green in them too—as well as many other colors- but somehow the whole thing works. Then on the floor I have a black and white geometric printed rug. So it’s all a big mash up. Sometimes my husband thinks I’m nuts.
BG: Is there a particular print that you feel describes you best? Tell us
JJ: The Kaleidescope print is very me. I always gravitate towards prints from the 1960s and 70s. I love big, bold patterns and alot of saturated color. I always wear the kaleiscope in our cotton skirt with the matching shirt in silk. It’s very impactful worn head to toe, and then you can mix the pieces up and make it more casual when you want.
BG: If you could only wear one print forever, which would it be and why?
JJ: Confetti – a print designed by Swiss textile makers Abraham in the 1980s- was one of the first prints I found and fell in love with inside the Mantero Silk archives in Lake Como. We used it for the very first Swing dress we made for La DoubleJ Editions and we still keep it in the collection. It’s just SO happy. There are some prints I look it and they make me smile, laugh, or jump up and down. I think that’s the mark of a very good one.
BG: Is there a print you might consider a “neutral’?
JJ: Galletti- our little mini rooster print designed in the 1970s- is oddly minimal for being so decorative. It’s one of my favorite prints and it seems to go with everything in my closet. Even my pattern-adverse friends seem to love it too.
BG: How are you accessorizing La Double J prints this spring?
JJ: When you wear alot of print it’s best to keep your accessories minimal and clean. Personally I wear flat shoes and sandals with all of the dresses and skirts. And I am never without my tiny structured handbag from Fontana Milano that is super simple but that i wear across my body from morning noon til night— it goes with my everywhere!!!