Bought, Loved and Cherished.
Featuring Rosemary Lepre Forman
Photography by Shana Jade Trajanoska
Words by Aaron Peasley
Hair & Makeup Regina Harris
Today, it’s essential that our clothes last more than a single season. For advice on conscious buying, we turned to costume designer Rosemary Lepre Forman, whose enviable wardrobe is a repository of perennially chic staples, occasional splurges and cherished talismans.
Lepre Forman wears her beloved custom-made necklace, Hermès cuff, Saint Laurent belt, Nili Lotan jeans and black Uniqlo turtleneck. Lead image: Lacroix dress from the late '90s. Pucci tote bag was acquired several years back. Vintage Louis Vuitton bag. Recent purchases include a small Saint Laurent Kaia bag and a vegan leather shoulder bag from A.L.C.
Rosemary Lepre Forman has made a career out of using clothes to create characters. An acclaimed costume designer for television shows like Endgame and Younger as well as films like Summer Days, Summer Nights, the New Yorker spends her work life immersed in the sartorial details of fictional lives, most recently time traveling to the Long Island of the early 80s to create the looks Ed Burns’ helmed show Bridge and Tunnel.
A conscious consumer before the term even existed, Lepre Forman brings the same rarefied eye and sense of nuance to her own wardrobe, where she achieves a fine balance between enduring, time-tested essentials and more contemporary zeitgeisty pieces. “Clothes possess so much history and emotional resonance,” she says. “Ultimately, you want your closet to feel more like a romance that deepens with time, rather than a collection of regrettable fashion flings.”
"Ultimately, you want your closet to be a reflection of you - romances that get deeper and better with time, rather than regrettable fashion flings."
Much loved and much-worn platform shoes. Party go-tos for over 20 years.
Gucci sunglasses add instant polish. Coat by Fendi, Fall 2020.
DEFINE YOUR VISION WITH A MOODBOARD
On and off screen, clothing creates character, and Lepre Forman believes that “it all begins with inspiration and visual research. For work, I will spend weeks focused on archival research, looking at libraries, book stores, sites like ebay and small boutiques to ensure I perfectly nail all the details,” she says.
”Creating mood boards is a vital part of my work,” Lepre Forman notes, “but you can apply this to your own wardrobe and the process harmonizes your vision and clarifies exactly what you’re drawn to.”
Rosemary’s personal style - nonchalant 20th century American girl next door ease set against glamorous high-fashion touches - pays tribute to the icons of her youth. “If I was to sketch my personal mood board, the character is a busy, adventure loving mother of twin boys, who loves to ski and is heavily inspired by the 1970s. Cher, Anjelica Houston and Stevie Nicks will always be inspirational.“
Wrap dress by Greg Lauren made from vintage African indigo fabric. Purchased in 2016 from Barney's NY. A perpetual favorite.
TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR EXISTING WARDROBE
A navy blue Prada coat she purchased over two decades ago is just one of the enduring pieces Lepre Forman has had on high rotation over the years. ”I think investing in great fitting staples that work for your body is essential,” she suggests. ”I love the color navy - it's the color that works on everybody.”
Such enduring mainstays - fine quality fabrics cut or draped into timeless silhouettes - suggests that the first rule of conscious consumerism may be not purchasing anything at all. “Shop your own closet before hitting the store or going online,” she suggests. “When you really look with an objective eye, you’ll be surprised at what you find. And don't be afraid to get creative!"
Wide-leg trousers by one of Lepre Forman's favorite designers Ulla Johnson. Purchased in 2018.
Navy blue Prada coat and leopard print shoes have been mainstays for more than 2 decades.
“Find a good tailor, have them change the linings or even the buttons. Besides allowing clothes to better fit your body, small changes can breathe new life into existing pieces."
No matter the season, the costume designer turns to boots as a chic, utilitarian option for day or night . From left to right, frequently worn fringed ankle boots. Givenchy cowboy boots were purchased several seasons ago. The Frye boots took time to break in, but 2 decades later the most comfortable that Lepre Forman owns. Black Celine knee-high boots, from a few seasons past, have become a winter staple.
PERSONAL TALISMANS INJECT PERSONALITY
What makes someone’s style seem truly their own? It is often the details known only to the wearer or those not associated with status or trends. In her enviable collection, Lepre Forman’s most cherished pieces are one-of-a-kind mementos imbued with personal significance. “My favorite item is a subway token necklace from 1996,” she states. “It is my favorite piece in the world. I had it encased in gold and bought a strong gold link chain to complement it. It is a constant reminder of NYC and all the wonderful and challenging times I have experienced here.”
As someone who uses clothes to tell stories, Lepre Forman embraces intimate details. She says: this coin represents my hard work, perseverance, grit and gratitude.
ELEVATE THE EVERYDAY WITH SPLURGE-WORTHY COATS AND LUXE ACCESSORIES
Having an intentional, conscious approach to dressing doesn’t rule out the occasional high fashion splurge. While her reliable working wardrobe is practical, Rosemary, ever the fashion aficionado, never appears too formulaic and avoids the head-to-toe minimalism many associate with capsule dressing.
The costume designer adds sophistication and a certain frisson with high impact designer accessories such as classic oversized sunglasses and on-trend leather bags (a small YSL Kaia crossbody bag was a recent acquisition and already cherished.)
Outerwear, though, is her favorite way to level up with flair. “I'm obsessed with coats,” she says. ”This Fendi coat from 2 years ago was a splurge I don’t regret,” she explains. “At work, I focus on practicality and I dress simply with a good pair of flattering jeans and a fine quality cotton t-shirt. However, If I need to run out to a meeting, I put on some great sunglasses, a boot and one of my cherished coats - instant polish!”
Fendi Coat, Fall 2022. Celine black knee-high boots and Gucci sunglasses. Sunglass case by Ulla Johnson.
DISCOVER MORE ABOUT ROSEMARY