Point Of View: Closet Of Curiosities


Every time I see Lisa Eisner, I’m struck by her. She’s like the accessible high priestess of true bohemian glamour. Here, she gives us a peek into her enviable wardrobe and the stories behind it. – Linda Fargo

They say your closet is an insight into your brain. I just made that up, but in my case, this is true. My closet is a living, breathing, pulsing orb. I don’t see it as just another room in my house to store my wardrobe. It’s my cabinet of curiosities. It’s a mosh pit of color and sequins, patterns and textures, fur and feathers, and lots and lots of jewelry and accessories.

I am a hunter-gatherer. I love the hunt of vintage couture. Or just beautifully made, handcrafted, artisanal vintage. I have many sections in my closet. There are Thea Porter caftans, little black dresses from Geoffrey Beene and Tom Ford, and a very large section of mesh chain mail from Versace and Whiting & Davis. I have sections of sequins and feathers and bejeweled anything. I have a whole range of Nudie suits that makes me so happy just hanging out there, all colored and rhinestoned, fringed and embroidered. There’s an early Isaac Mizrahi feather dress that he made me for my 40th, all my Tom Ford Gucci-period and Tom Ford YSL-period. One of the oldest pieces in my closet is from my first year in New York: a Rocky Mountain Featherbed western-yoke puffy vest made in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Very Ralph Lauren, and very collectible now. I have so many belts, that I have made it very clear to my friends to please throw them all in my coffin before they lower me into the ground.

Then I mix in new things—you never want to look completely vintage. I’m vintage enough. You want to look modern and transcend time.

I now have, at my ripe old age, my dream closet (with the exception of organization and size). I’m an Aries, so I like choices. Lots of them. My closet is chock-a-block. Kitchen sink. I never know how I will feel until I get ready in that moment. But when I do edit and shed some skin—which doesn’t happen very often—

I think of the following:

  1. You never know when that belt is the one that will pull the whole ensemble together.
  1. The odds are that if you have enough pieces (accessories, jewelry, separates), it’s easier to create a new look that works. Sort of like a good soup.
  1. Oh no, can’t let that go. Too many memories.
  2. Well, when I lose a few pounds, it will fit.
  3. You know how hard it is to find that?
  4. That is a collector’s item.
  5. Oh, and: Is this too Harper Valley P.T.A. (age-appropriate)?

I guess my Cinderella moments—when I’ve really planned ahead—have been the Vanity Fair dinners. I’ve always wanted to have my own look and keep it very personal. This means I start with jewelry first and pile it on. I am not the biggest small jewelry person. Small little diamonds just don’t do it for me. I prefer big, bold and layered. I go the Millicent Rogers/Edith Sitwell way—make a statement of your own. This is me. I don’t like to look like anyone else. I like to feel that everything I have on is personal and has a story. My outfits don’t always work, but it was the experience of putting it all together that was so damn much fun.

Lisa Eisner is a Los Angeles-based jewelry designer, photographer and Vanity Fair contributing editor.

Illustration by Joanna Neborsky

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