Name: Meryl Franzos
Pronouns: She she
Title: Elegant woman on the town
Job/Work: Writer, “non-profit whisperer”
Websites: merylahfranzos.com, instagram.com/theicecreamsocialistparty
How would you define your style?
I tried to pin it down to fit neatly into a definitive category for years, but it didn’t work. I’m a chameleon leaning towards edgy, edgy, rock ‘n’ roll and counter-cultural stuff.
What are your stylistic inspirations?
Kate Moss, Kristen McMenamy, Melanie Kobayashi from Bag and a Beret, Carla Rockmore, @KarenBritChick, Gwen Stefani, Peggy Guggenheim, Vivienne Westwood, @Zadijo (I think she’s the wife of a French rock star, she’s so cool that it hurts), Victorian Coke, Justin Gossman, Lenny Kravitz.
How has your style evolved over the years?
Before, it was very scattered. My closet was full of cool but disparate vintage items that had limited portability because I didn’t have a good base of unifying basics. I rectified that and still limited myself to some flattering cuts (no more low rise bottoms for me), and a limited color palette. If it’s not black, white, tan, ballet pink, red, neon, Calder orange, denim blue, etc., I’m not buying it. My style has become much more focused, striking and versatile due to the limitations.
Do you have a favorite designer? Who are they and what do you like about them?
Iris Van Herpen is a sculptural genius. Her dresses are feats of engineering, but also manage to evoke a macabre feeling of falling into a museum’s specimen cabinet. On the less fantastical side, I love Halston’s draped ’70s luxe designs, and everything Hedi Slimane touches exudes that sleazy rock ‘n’ roll cool I crave.
How did you discover the creations of Iris Van Herpen?
I discovered his creations through the Carnegie Museum of Art. They had an exhibit of his work several years ago and my jaw was on the floor. Since then, I follow his career.
When we met today, we talked about going out, about places we miss. What do you think of the general party and costume scene in Pittsburgh?
I think a lot of us are ready to get out there and check out other cool people, but I’m not one of the optimistic majority that plays pretend it’s all over and behind us. The numbers are up again and climbing. If I go out, I’ll be that pariah still wearing a mask.
Tell me about what you’re wearing today. I love it and love the nod to the colors of the people who work all around us at Hazelwood Green. High visibility green!
Everything I wear today is used or vintage. The blouse and skirt I received from thredUP. The medical brace is vintage and purchased on Etsy – it’s one of my favorite quirky pieces to weave into outfits. My bag is from Danse Lente and my lucite heels are Cult Gaia – both branded on The RealReal. My chandelier earrings belonged to my mother-in-law, and my sterling silver square ring and plastic tier ring were purchased from Dargate years ago.
Do you have a gift that you wear often?
My shoes are always my gift to myself.
Summer is coming. What are you expecting in terms of style, activities, events?
Since hybrid working has become de rigueur, I’ve been able to explore more of my personal summer style outside of the office, which is fun. As a result, the denim probably doubled in my closet. The real estate season is in full swing in spring and summer; my husband and I were looking for a country house to invest in for a getaway with our dogs, family and friends. I wish we found something this year that we could enjoy.
If you could choose one outfit you’ve seen, whether it’s historic or fresh off the catwalk, what would it be, why and where would you wear it?
I’m haunted by a 20-year-old memory of a middle-aged Joan Jett wearing a black striped suit, which on closer inspection the stripes were little metal zippers. It was the most exquisite punk costume I have ever seen, and I can’t find that picture or costume on the internet anywhere. I’d wear the heck out of it anywhere.