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The M Dash

Live with purpose.

Behind the Scenes of the Unsuitable Collection

January 20, 2016

Our mandate this season is simple: Be Unsuitable.

Since launching MM.LaFleur in 2013, we’ve had a tenuous relationship with suiting. In fact, our unofficial motto used to be: Death to the pantsuit. But in 2016, we decided that rather than continue to avoid the prototypical pantsuit, we’d simply reinvent it. And thus, we give you the Unsuitable Collection.

Unsuitable Collection

Completely unsuitable: the Dietrich jacket and the Nakamura trouser. (Apfel shirt coming soon!)

The Spirit of Unsuitability

“The MM woman knows the rules, but she’s confident enough to rewrite them,” says Miyako Nakamura, Creative Director of MM.LaFleur. That spirit of subversion—of creating “a suit of one’s own”—is at the heart of this collection. “We wanted to create the first true suit for women, but a straight translation of the men’s suit for a woman’s shape was not the answer. No one feels like herself in that,” Miyako explains. “We needed to completely reinvent.”

Unsuitable Collection

Getting in the mood.

The Inspiration

For ideas, Miyako looked to fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh’s portraits in particular. “Lindbergh is known for group shots—like those famous supermodel photos from the ‘90s,” says Miyako. “I love them because the women are essentially wearing the same uniform, but their individuality comes through in the styling.”

Miyako ran with this idea—the individualized uniform—in designing the Unsuitable Collection. Every piece in the collection is proper and appropriate, but there is endless room for self-expression. “Every item is functional and comfortable, but there are so many ways to curate your own look,” she says. “There’s variation in the white shirts, the black pants, the black jackets.” We’re simply giving women the tools to create their own unique uniforms.

Unsuitable Collection

A uniform with an attitude.

Pants Party

This collection marks a watershed moment for MM: our first-ever pants. It’s no secret that finding chic, comfortable office pants is tantamount to spotting a unicorn—which is probably why it took us three years to design the perfect pair. But we’ve outdone ourselves by coming up with two machine-washable, easy-to-wear styles: the elegantly tailored Nakamura trouser and the super-stretchy, yoga-inspired Foster cigarette pant. “I love both of these pants paired with our Dietrich jacket, which is machine-washable and great for travel,” says Miyako. “It’s not overly structured, but once you put it on, it’s incredibly proper looking.”

Unsuitable Collection

The Hepburn shirt and the yoga-inspired Foster pant.

Revolutionary Fabrics & Colors

And let’s not forget our revolutionary knit skirt suits. “I love the combination of the Harlem skirt and the Woolf jardigan. No one has ever made a suit this comfortable,” says Miyako. “It’s unusual to create a look this sharp using a fashion knit, but for us, the coexistence of comfort and sharpness is crucial. The MM woman spends her life in these clothes. She needs to look appropriate and feel good—and not just for an hour. All day.”

At MM, a white shirt is not just a white shirt. “The details are the differentiators,” explains Miyako. “You could wear a plain collared shirt, but our silky tie-front shirt is so much more interesting.”

The colors of the collection are neutral, but never expected. Olive, hazel, and deep indigo give a nod to classic military uniforms, while our modern houndstooth riffs on a traditional menswear pattern.

Unsuitable Collection

Blurring the lines in the Aditi (Modern Houndstooth).

A Cooler, More Comfortable Uniform

Aesthetically, this collection is quintessentially “MM,” but this season, we encourage the customer to interpret that in her own way—whether she’s upping her suit game, or opting for easy fashion-forward pieces. “As a designer, I’m allowing myself to play a bit more,” says Miyako. “And that means our customer has more room to play as well.”

So this season, we implore you: Be brave. Be comfortable. Be yourself. Be unsuitable.

Ready to create your uniform? Shop the Unsuitable Collection, order a Bento™ Box, or make an appointment at our NYC showroom.

And don’t forget to follow our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest feeds to show us how you like to #BeUnsuitable.

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