A former ballerina and long-time surfer, Marysia Dobrzanska Reeves was inspired to translate her knowledge of leotards and wetsuits into a collection of luxury swim- and beachwear for the modern woman. Having launched her eponymous label in 2009, she has become known for her effortless and versatile designs, garnering a roster of A-list fans, including Gwyneth Paltrow.
Before the global lockdown, we were delighted to photograph Marysia in her California home, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Situated on Venice Beach, it’s filled with West Coast golden light, and has an airy LA interior, minimally decorated with tasteful ceramics and stunning black-and-white photography.
Marysia’s personal style is evocative of the polished ease that runs throughout her designs. A celebration of summer, her wardrobe majors on crisp cottons and light linens with pops of beach-ready crochet, chambray and, of course, plenty of swimwear. Stored with immaculate organisation in floor-to-ceiling rattan closets, her collection is edited and considered, yet leaves room for playful touches by way of bright sunglasses, eye-catching jewels and an impressive selection of sun hats. One look at Marysia’s perfect wardrobe provides the hit of summer escapism we’re currently seeking.
“I wear Marysia as much as possible. If something has made it into the collection, I truly love it! Wearing my own designs keeps me connected to what’s most important for clothes; not just beautiful fabrics, colours, and silhouettes, but also comfort, versatility and thoughtful details. And if I don’t want to wear my own pieces, why should anyone else? With accessories, I like to be inventive; it’s amazing how a piece of jewellery, a hat, or a pair of shoes can transform an outfit. Experimenting with accessories is one of my favourite morning rituals, if I have time!”
“Tidiness was bred into me from the age of 10, when I studied ballet at boarding school in Poland. We were graded on it daily, and it stuck. Our house in Venice, LA, is rather small, without much storage, so editing is a necessity. I’m a very visual person, so I arrange things based on how they look together. Sometimes it’s by size or category, but mostly it’s just how I would merchandise the Marysia flagship store in Soho, NYC.”
“I have a very strong sense of smell. When I was pregnant with my daughters, I swear I could smell for miles! I rarely wear perfume, but I like to collect them on my travels. Then the scent transports me back to a particular place or experience. I like having a scent that I won’t come across on anyone around me.”
“Growing up, I studied ballet and later found my passion for surfing – that’s years spent wearing either a leotard or a wetsuit. It was its own kind of education, well before I went on to study fashion. I was confident that I could bring a new and necessary perspective to swimwear, which is where Marysia started. My goal was – and still is – to create stylish pieces that fit beautifully while looking fresh and effortless. To do so, we pioneered the use of exquisite Italian fabrics in swimwear. This naturally developed into designing pieces that go well beyond the beach.”
“I love sunglasses. My old Céline pair – from [British designer] Phoebe Philo’s tenure at the house – is still among my favourites. I also adore everything by the Australian designer Lucy Folk, whose sunglasses are made in Italy. We carry them, as well as her jewellery and hair accessories, in our flagship store and online.”
“I am very excited about the crochet pieces in the Spring 2020 collection, which combine handwoven details with refined fringing. They’re totally new for us and perfect for the roof deck. My family spends a lot of time up there, as we don’t have a yard. The hot tub makes it even more special. I’m generally not a fan of hot tubs, but this one is all metal and sleek – an instant escape that we couldn’t pass up.”
“I earned a degree in exercise physiology before studying fashion, so designing swimwear came easily to me. It’s a fun challenge – figuring out how to maximise movement and lightness while flattering the person wearing it. A deep understanding of the body is also essential when designing resort wear, which I enjoy just as much.”
“Interiors are a passion of mine, and I would love to do more with spaces. I choose pieces for a variety of reasons, but form, material, texture and colour are what I look to first. For me, the joy of designing a home – or any space, really – is putting things together in an unexpected and personal way. This shelf is by the American furniture designer Jonathan Nesci. I first saw it at The Apartment by The Line in New York. The open design is very functional, and the wax-polished aluminium contrasts beautifully with the nearby wooden table.”
“I want women to know that there is a real woman behind the brand who has been thinner and bigger, has had two kids, is very active but loves fashion and will not sacrifice quality.”
“This is my dream bath! Taking a hot bath is the best form of relaxation to me. I can stay for over an hour just reading my book or working on Instagram while soaking in good-quality salts, like the ones from Goop created by an acupuncture/aromatherapy doctor whom I used to see when we lived in New York.”
“Enchanting, that’s how I describe the work of Olympia Le-Tan. From the moment I discovered her one-of-a-kind clutches, I aspired to start a collection. And I have never been much of a collector of anything. I love how she found a way to combine two of her obsessions – embroidery and literature – in such a timeless, imaginative way. They’re far too pretty to hide away.”
“I am fortunate to count many talented jewellery designers among my friends, and I like to support them whenever possible. Natural forms, especially anything inspired by the sea, tend to catch my eye, and I’ve grown to prefer gold over silver as it complements a sun-kissed complexion and doesn’t tarnish.”
“I feel lucky to have what I think must be a good head for hats. In sunny California they come in handy all year round, and it’s easy to grab one off the wall on my way out of the door. The hat I am wearing is from a collection I am collaborating on with the incredibly talented milliner Lola Ehrlich.”
“This area has been through many transitions. When the photograph was taken, it was serving as a dressing area, but more recently we’ve made it into a study space for my younger daughter. My husband and I are learning a lot in our new jobs as her teachers during the school closures.”
“The Marysia woman is multifaceted; she loves fashion and nature, especially the beach. She loves to travel, collecting new and interesting finds along the way and getting to know the whole stories behind each one. She’ll choose quality over quantity every time. Thinking about this woman on her own journey, while I learn more each day from my own, continues to inspire me. There’s a whole world out there to design.”
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