Please give us a brief introduction of yourself Melissa?
I am a curator & storyteller. Cross-pollinating my interests in fashion, art direction, music & literature & chanelling them into my little store Before March.
Can you tell us more about your journey with Before March? and your ethos behind your business?
To borrow an essentialist term, Before March, to me, is a "disciplined pursuit of less" in an inundated industry. My aim is to distil a magnitude of options into what I believe will stand the test of time & enhance our life's enjoyment, through an evocation of the senses. This comes from a history of feeling quite fraught with my industry, however, I think this cynicism has helped underpin something with a strong backbone and clear guiding principles.
How is your personal style reflected through your brand curation in Before March store? And what is your personal style approach?
The store is a direct reflection of what I use, wear and advocate so my identity is deeply connected to the curation, I can't do it any other way.
I spend a lot of time in the space, I want it to feel like my bedroom and to offer a sense of tranquility. And ultimately what I always come back to is - it's as much about what the store is filled with as it is about the empty space between the pieces.
I'd say our curation is a pretty concise menu and I feel that what we offer is all the more potent because of this. Gentle evolutions of the same kinds of pieces appear and re-appear in line with our focus on the timeless.
My personal style approach is a harmony of tailoring, sensuality & handcraft. A minimalist inclination with a romanticist's skew - I have a base recipe of the kinds of garments I've always loved and worn and I tend to collect versions of these pieces, each having their own point of distinction. My staples include - versions of a white blouse, tailored pant, silk slip & sheer knit. I'm much of a uniform dresser & the textiles must always feel beautiful.
Current favourite artist?
If I may answer this beyond visual arts -
Warren Ellis - a musician/composer or as Pitchfork beautifully put it, a 'sonic architect'. He also authored his first book in recent years titled 'Nina Simone's Gum'.
It broke through to me in a time where I'd lost the focus and patience to read which is a big love of mine.
Warren lives with a sense of creative richness that I aspire toward. He speaks and writes as a deep feeling artist & plays the violin with captivating madness and abandon. There's a generosity to his work.
Architecture inspiration right now?
No particular place or building as such but I'm reading theories on shadows in architecture. Exploring how light and a lack thereof determines a space and its occupants. As I practise more photography, I find myself paying close attention to how light interacts with a given space throughout the day. I'm somewhat of a shadow seeker. Two beautiful bits of theory from my readings -
“The imagination and daydreaming are stimulated by dim light and shadow. In order to think clearly, the sharpness of vision has to be suppressed, for thoughts travel with an absent-minded and unfocussed gaze. Homogeneous bright light paralyses the imagination in the same way that homogenisation of space weakens the experience of being, and wipes away the sense of place”. (Pallasmaa, 2005)
This is a wonderful short interview with Pallasmaa who the above quote is attributed to - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f6KowAYxPQ
“To plan the building as a pure mass of shadow then, afterwards, to put in light as if you were hollowing out the darkness, as if the light were a new mass seeping in”. (Zumthor, 2006).
How do you plan to fulfill your creative desires for 2023?
Tackling the 'blank page', writing as much as I can, simply for myself. To document emotions, ideas & dreams; return to them, observe what has stuck and what might have shifted. I am also in the process of finalising recording an EP with my bandmate, he is an electric guitarist & I am a singer. We have been working toward this for a few years now, interrupted by various circumstance. We have a show upcoming in March (I really seem to gravitate to that month!). This will be a culmination of a lot of work we've done quite privately, so I'm learning to let go and celebrate inviting an audience in on the result. I'd also love to learn the harp but I'm not sure I'm disciplined enough just yet.
Favourite sound currently?
My bandmate Alan's voice memos which are guitar sketches of song ideas. Each time they arrive they feel like invitations, full of potential. I'll never get over the feeling of trying to build a song, the seed-bed of which is plucked mysteriously from the subconscious. I never quite know where his guitar lines or my words come from, where they've been resting, and that's a beautiful unfolding mystery to which I'm wholly subscribed.