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Miyako’s Mood Board

Working from home with M.M.LaFleur’s Creative Director.

By Tory Hoen

May 1, 2020

Our Creative Director Miyako is unequivocally the coolest person at M.M.LaFleur HQ, and we’ve all been curious about what her work-from-home life is like. Below, she lets us in on her daily rhythms and rituals, which involve brioche, British magazines, and learning to love virtual fittings.

On Routine

“It has been an adjustment.”

When we first started working from home, I was waking up really late. But now, I go to bed at the same time as my daughter, Koh, who is three and a half. It has been an adjustment, but now, I wake up early, make coffee, and eat breakfast—usually brioche or cereal. If I have some time, I read a book. Then I take a shower and get dressed. I try to be at my desk 30 minutes before my first Zoom meeting of the day.

On Style

“Working from home, I dress like I would normally dress on a weekend.”

I get ready in the morning as if I’m going to the office, but a little more casual. I have a kid around, so I’m not wearing tailored trousers or anything delicate. I dress like I would normally dress on a weekend.

I was doing a lot of T-shirts and jeans at the beginning of the quarantine phase, but I got bored, so I started to wear caftans and craft-driven clothes. I mix in M.M. pieces like the Nichols shirt, which I layer under soft knits. I leave the front placket open very low, which feels like a fresher, less stuffy way to style a classic white shirt. I also wear the Nancy sweater, which I half-tuck into jeans or my Pleats Please Issey Miyake pants. The half-tuck makes the proportion of the sweater feel less boxy. I also wear the Brodie top, which is one of my favorite pieces. It has a little mock neck, and it can go under anything to add some texture to the outfit. I wear it under the Nichols shirt, the Para pullover, or a vintage sweatshirt.

On Work

“I used to hate conference calls, but I’m getting used to Zoom. It’s a beautiful way to connect!”

Luckily, we have an extra room in our apartment that serves as my workspace / studio / closet. It’s where I keep my vanity, my books, a rack of clothes, and everything I need for work.

Since this crazy crisis happened, most of my team’s work has been about rethinking our design plan and shuffling around what we’ve done versus what we were doing or were going to do. We’ve updated our buying and merchandising strategy and rethought all our future collections so they make more sense.

We’ve also started doing virtual fittings. We send the samples that are in development to our fit model, and she puts them on at home, and we all Zoom in. She spins around in front of the camera. It’s hard, because you always want to reach through the screen to touch the clothes, but we’re managing. It’s made me realize that we have a very solid design process, so we can still play our roles, even when we’re not physically together.

I used to hate conference calls, but I’m getting used to Zoom. It’s a beautiful way to connect! But I’m really looking forward to going back to the office.

On Parenting

“I have to negotiate with my daughter, like, ‘If you let me work for 30 more minutes, you can have a doughnut.’”

My “work” versus “non-work” time is very clear, because when I’m not working, my daughter Koh is always chasing me around. I have to be really organized about creating blocks of time to work, because if I leave my work room, Koh thinks I’m done for the day and she wants to be with me. So I have to negotiate with her, like, “If you let me work for 30 more minutes, you can have a doughnut.”

My husband Taka’s work is mostly on pause for now, so he takes care of Koh for most of the day. He also just got a guitar and started learning how to play basic chords. It doesn’t drive me crazy at all…

On Joy

“The kids were all dancing and playing with each other through the phone.”

The other week, we did a party through Zoom with a bunch of friends and their kids.The parents had drinks, and the kids were all dancing and playing with each other through the phone. Kind of a weird way to have a party, but fun.

On Inspiration

“It’s nice to be able to look ahead.”

March was a difficult adjustment, and it almost felt inappropriate to think about high-level concepts and the aesthetics of design. But after a few weeks of figuring out how we were going to operate in this new environment, I started actively looking for inspiration again.

I recently got a book about Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, which has given me a lot of ideas. I ordered it a while ago and forgot about it, so when it arrived, it was such a joy to look through. The same thing happened with a magazine called LUNCHEON that I ordered from England. It’s one of my favorites.

I’ve also been reading a book by Anni Albers called On Weaving, which is one of our inspirations as we develop fabrics for Spring/Summer 2021. It’s nice to be able to look ahead.

Written By

Tory Hoen

Tory Hoen is the author of the novel The Arc. She spent five years as the Creative Director of Brand at M.M.LaFleur (where she founded The M Dash!) and has written for New York Magazine, Vogue Fortune, Bon Appétit, and Condé Nast Traveler.

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