Growing up outside of Houston, Texas, in an area that is now Applebee’s suburbia but at the time was just plain removed, Mandy Coon always had an appreciation for the left-of-mainstream (see: the super-cool goth girl she idolized in junior high, Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf”). And though she read her mom’s magazines growing up and participated in family thrifting expeditions, she was never really a fashion diehard. But after doing some time as a model—her ticket out of Houston, and eventually to New York—and as a DJ, she started drifting towards the style world, working for a casting director, starting her own little agency, and soon heading to F.I.T., where she studied haute couture sewing and tailoring. “When you’re a little older and going back, you know exactly what you want out of it,” she explains, describing herself as the old fogy among a slew of newly transplanted 18 year olds (if you care to believe that).
Mandy then went to work as Camilla Stærk’s assistant, quickly proving herself capable of being entrusted with the ridiculously intricate pieces that went down the runway—creations that were nearly impossible to put into production because they required countless hours of painstaking labor. When Stærk deemed Mandy ready, she showed her the door and gave her the push she needed to launch her own full-blown, namesake line.
That first season, spring/summer 2010, Mandy introduced her dark-but-whimsical aesthetic, with floaty, baby-doll tank dresses in abstract animal prints, pants with architectural, over-blown pockets, and lots and lots of black. She continues to play with that tension between structure and fluidity in a way that we find so compelling.