In 1960, Ali MacGraw wore soft Romanian blouses, rife with embroidery and poetry; they quickly became the rage. She romped on the beach with Ryan O’Neal in a black tee shirt and white jeans- a look so popular that J.Crew still immortalizes it in deference to her.
In 1969, she wrapped scarves around her dark hair and let the fringe drip down her back; she tucked voluptuous flowers behind her ear. In 1971, Time Magazine put her face on the cover, framed with a thick choker, declaring her enormous popularity a return to romance.
She loved knit hats over her long straight locks, turtlenecks and trench coats in a subversive college preppy way, Indian caftans and big silver jewelry, classic sweaters, big white shirts, over-the-knee boots hugging her long legs, and lots of black, white and red everything.
O Magazine, Town and Country, Harper’s Bazaar, and Man Repeller have all published retrospectives of Ali MacGraw’s style over decades, celebrating the timelessness of her distinctive look. But . . . let’s be honest: none of this has anything to do with fashion.
Ali MacGraw isn’t known for who she wore. She’s not been nominated as Best Dressed Woman because all the right labels land in her closet. She doesn’t have stylists fussing over her; she isn’t a darling of the fashion world. No. . . but that for which she is universally celebrated . . . is her style. Her style. Always, in every way, her own deep, intriguing self is what you see.
Style, unlike fashion, is direct and intimate; it is always about the person and not the product she wears. I’ve long admired Ali’s simplicity and purity of style, each iteration reflecting her own strong point of view and presence: fierce, smart, uncompromising, un-coddled, real. And, I might add, flirty and fun.
Since we debuted our first ali4ibu collection last spring, Ali and Team Ibu have been plotting her next. I asked her to offer you a bit of herself . .. to design pieces that reflect the things she has loved to wear, through the decades. And freely, without any personal gain but for the joy of it, she did.
Prepare to see here, over the next few weeks, previews of Ali’s favorite things . . . her new Spring 18 collection growing straight out of celebrated images of her past, made fresh and new. You won’t see the latest trends in fashion here, nor the desperate costumes of the runway. You’ll see Ali, pure and simple, offering you the best of her sartorial wisdom, and somehow, with it, the best of her life’s wisdom.
As Ali throws a wrap around herself effortlessly, her clothes seem to be saying nothing less than this:
Be yourself. Be strong and fierce in your convictions; be kind and generous in your love. Never give up on romance. Don’t fall for the gimmick or the trend. Love what is real. Have fun. Above all else, be true.
Now that is a wardrobe I’d like to wear.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker