Emily Spivack's Book Worn in New York Shares The Memories Behind Clothes

In New Book, Worn in New York, Lena Dunham, Coco Rocha and 66 more New Yorkers share the memories behind their favourite item of clothing. ELLE took a sneak peak...

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'I've always been someone who was more interested in vintage clothing than new things' says Emily Spivack, Brooklyn-based writer,and author of Worn in New York, a set of stories chronicling the meanings and memories behind items of clothing.

'When I look through my closet, I don't think about designers or seasons, I recall the experience I had wearing them. Sometimes with clothes, there's this thing where we hold on to something, but we don't necessarily ask why. Why I can't I throw away this item? Why are you so attached to that t-shirt?" With Worn in New York, I had that opportunity to ask why.'

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In her new book, Emily interviews 68 people who live or have spent time in New York, from celebrities to taxi-drivers, musicians to restaurant owners. Each one has chosen an item of clothing with a meaning or story behind them, here's a look at some of our favourites...

Nile Rodgers, musician

'I wore this hat when my band, New York City, went on tour with Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 in 1973. At the time, we had only one hit, but it was enough for us to go on tour with them. During the tour, Michael and I became very friendly because he liked my hippie fashion sense.'

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Catherine Opie, photographer

'I'd moved out to Novato, California, […] because this girl I knew had just inherited her grandparents' house […] and needed a roommate. Inthe closet of my new bedroom was this mint condition 1952 Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s leather jacket. I tried it on and it fit me like a glove. My roommate bequeathed [it] to me, it was the first piece of clothing that allowed me to identify as a leather dyke—it was hot and sexy and transformed me from a girl from Ohio into an urbanite. I needed it to feel like I could fit in.'

Coco Rocha, model

'I have been a huge fan of Elizabeth Taylor ever since I watched National Velvet as a child. When my friend invited me to the Christie's auction of [her] clothing, I jumped at the chance. When that [Givenchy jumpsuit] came up, I put my hand up […] and suddenly it was mine. I was the youngest person in the room and all these older women turned and looked at me. One asked "what are you going to do with that?" […] I looked at [them], confused. "I'm going to wear it. Isn't that why we're here?"'

Lena Dunham, writer and actress

'…to have a Gaultier ball gown, I thought you had to be a millionaire. My mom had found it in the European designer section marked down, like, 200 percent. It's a hideous brown with pinstripes and layers of tattered tulle, and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. […] This dress does not look good on me. […] But I've worn it a bunch. It's had a whole beautiful life with me. I don't keep a lot of crap […] This dress, though, will be a part of me until the day I leave this planet.'

Extracts taken from Worn in New York: 68 Sartorial Memoirs of the City by Emily Spivack (Abrams, out November 1, £18.99)

All Photography by Rachel Brenneke

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