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Rompers: I Interviewed A Designer, And I Liked It!

By , 28 May, 2009, No Comment

I first learned of Mandate Of Heaven designer Carissa Ackerman and her vintage inspired fashions when I saw a vintage styled romper, in a very 30’s green shade, on Katy Perry.

Katy Perry In Green Romper At MTV Awards

Katy Perry In Green Romper On MTV

While the romper was credited in a (very) few places as a Mandate Of Heaven piece, I wanted to be sure… So I contacted the designer and asked her to confirm that Perry wears her designs and that the romper in the image below was hers.

Carissa wrote back, saying, “Yes it is mine; thanks for noticing. She wears my pieces well.”

Katy Perry On TRL, June 2008

Katy Perry In Mandate Of Heaven Romper On TRL, June 2008

Once I finished drooling and dreaming over Mandate Of Heaven fashions (shown throughout this post)…

Vintage Inspired Mandate Of Heaven Romper WIth Tulle Skirt, Spring 2009

Vintage Inspired Mandate Of Heaven Romper WIth Tulle Skirt, Spring 2009

I asked Carissa for a quick interview about something that I’ve been reading a lot about lately… And while I loved the interview, no cherry Chapstick, or kissing, was involved. *wink*

Jaynie: Carissa, some would/have argued that such rompers are, like babydoll dresses, inappropriately immature — suggesting it’s dressing women like babies or little girls. Personally, I see rompers as much more functional — they were, after all, playwear for children, regardless of gender. How do you see such fashions?

Carissa: Haha; while the criticism you mentioned is prevalent, it is also completely misinformed.

Playsuits/rompers/onesies/sunsuits/shortsuits were introduced for women and children as playwear at pretty much the same time- the beginning of the last century. They were part of a general movement towards less constrictive clothing within western society for both groups. The amazing American designer Claire McCardell was a master of this movement in women’s clothing, making her an ideal Google for the playsuit curious. Her innovative designs are now seen as the precursors to the hugely pervasive, and regrettably less elegant, women’s sportswear industry.

Retro Style Pink Polo Playsuit By Mandate Of Heaven

Carissa Ackerman In Retro Style Pink Polo Playsuit

The practicality of playsuits paved the way for the leotards, one piece swimsuits and t-shirt and short separates people now favor for activewear. While advancements in design and technology, as well as feminine athletic achievement, have pushed true activewear beyond the capacity of a woven cotton onesie, the same movement towards physical liberation that originally inspired playsuits as activewear has now evolved to embrace them for day and evening. Women today want freedom of movement at all times, making playsuits an ideal wardrobe option. It’s an awesome power to look cocktail appropriate and still be able to turn a cartwheel at any time.

Honestly, I think people that are hung up on this “little girl” criticism are really reacting to greater issues and insecurities within their own lives- but that’s just my opinion.

I think so too, Carissa; and I’m not just sucking up for a free romper. *wink*

Mandate Of Heaven Men's Shirt Playsuit

Mandate Of Heaven Men's Shirt Playsuit

If you love Carissa’s philosophy & style (I sure do!), check out the Mandate Of Heaven store — and look for select Mandate Of Heaven styles at Patricia Field. And don’t forget to keep up with Carissa and her fashions at the official blog.

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  • violetville

    Thanks for this post! The one-piece is one of my favorite fashion items. Last summer, NYLON did a few brief but misinformed pieces about rompers, so it’s nice to hear from a more educated designer! Cheers!!

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