The concept behind the name for Maiden Name, a recently-launched retail project by David Lê, Alix Freireich, and Jesse Hudnutt, is fairly simple (though the trio labored over it for months). Lê wanted to evoke the feminist gesture of a woman keeping her given name. Freireich, on the other hand, just wanted to incorporate one of her Netflix passwords, which, she says, "are all iterations of my grandmothers’ maiden names. Plus a number."
The site, which launched in October, isn’t your average direct to consumer homeware brand. The opposite, actually—all of the founders share a disdain for, as David put it, “zombified e-commerce white squares.” For Lê, the world of e-comm had become “soul-deadening”—a homogenized template “that’s a little bit disturbing.” The idea instead was to create a space for the creative people in their lives to release new, seasonal curated collections—or, as they’re referring to them, online multidisciplinary shows. “We knew all these people who were doing their own small-scale projects outside of their corporate jobs,” said Alix. And so they set out to build a home for these out-of-office objects. The idea, says Lê, is to foster a community of people with a shared sensibility; an environment “unified in objects that are made beautifully, durably, and thoughtfully.” A women’s apparel collection designed by the founders is available alongside the art pieces and objects.
The first batch of artists includes Emily Bode, designer of her namesake brand Bode, whose sentimental menswear garments are based on “narratives surrounding female-centric domestic textiles and the exploration of our relationship to the home.” In other words, a natural fit for the project. Encouraged to participate after an impromptu run-in with Hudnutt in Chinatown, Bode felt her work fit in nicely with Maiden Name’s philosophy and inaugural group—which also includes artist Paul Arnhold (who is selling his hand-blown glass vases) and Eric Oglander (a varied collection of 19th and 20th-century folk art), among others. Bode, for her part, decided to contribute a collection of African Country Cloth and antique quilted pillows, which range from the classic square cushion to more unusual forms such as oversized cylindrical pill and slender fish (the only other version sits on her bed and it’s one she “absolutely loves”).
This is Bode’s first time bringing her homeware to market, with all of the pieces exclusive to Maiden Name. In this case, the team’s curation work began while the products were in development. Maiden Name collaborated closely with Bode, helping to pick the textiles and sizes of the pillows. ”[They chose] textiles they thought would go well with their current offering and the aesthetics with the new concept store,” Bode explains. The result is a collection that any admirer of (soft, patchworked) craftsmanship will rush to add to their wishlist.
Originally Appeared on Vogue