When we reached out to Vena Cava designer Lisa Mayock and her husband Jeff Halmos of the menswear label Shipley & Halmos what we expected to get was a story about the jeans that S & H makes seasonally and that Jeff, who has exceptionally long legs, wears every day, plus some tips from Lisa about how to wear high-waists (her look) if you’re petite like she is. Little did we know that Lisa and Jeff are having a baby (!), and that her favorite vintage jeans – a rhinestone-studded bell-bottom and a porn-ready novelty pair (it’s best you see those for yourself, below) – are currently on hiatus. So which maternity jean did the designer, who has consistently created clothes that aim at making a woman’s life easier and chicer both, choose? If you’re expecting, you might expect this…
How many pairs of jeans do you have, Jeff?
Jeff: A lot. Too many.
Do you have an old, all-time favorite pair?
I have a really old pair of A.P.C. jeans that I got in 2004. They’re not even wearable anymore, they’re so worn-in, but I’ve actually been offered money for them at the A.P.C. store on Greene Street in Soho. They asked me if I wanted to sell them back.
Tell us about the jeans you’re wearing now?
I just got these, so I’m trying to break them in. They’re Shipley & Halmos, fall ’13. I’ll probably wear them every day for the next year. The ones we have coming up for spring are an ultra-bleach wash that we did – wash, bleach, wash, bleach a couple of times. And there are some repairs in the knee; they’re really beat up. We usually do a one or two styles of denim every season. We don’t have a huge denim business, but it really helps to tell the story of a collection. Guys wear so many of our clothes with jeans.
What kinds of jean are you into right now? As a designer, what feels right?
Right now I’m not a big new-raw-jeans guy. I’m not over the look of raw jeans, but it was my ten-year thing, and now I feel like a light wash with a lot of holes and such is just much cooler. In menswear, the I’m-wearing-my-raw-jeans-with-my-sport-coat look is just feeling a little old to me. How long are we going to see that look? I love white jeans, too, I wear a lot of white jeans…
Lisa: And purple jeans…
Jeff: Yeah, and I have purple Uniqlo jeans that I wear a lot. What about you, Lisa? That rhinestone pair is probably your favorite.
Lisa: Yeah, I have a pair of 80s jeans with rhinestones around the pockets that I love.
Jeff: I feel like those are the jeans that you wear the most.
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Really? who makes those?
Lisa: I’m not sure who makes them, they just have this F. Maybe they are old Fiorucci? The tag on the inside is totally gone. But the twill and the shade, I love. It’s just a really pronounced, exaggerated twill. It looks like a tricotene, not a denim. They fit really high on the waist, and in the back. I love them because they have zero stretch in them.
My other favorites are some that split in two with a zipper between the legs. You can separate them completely. This must have been somewhat popular in the 70s, because old Playboys and other old magazines featured jeans like this from a company called Ménage à Trois. I’ve seen them in thrift stores. They’re sex jeans. You can have sex in them. When you look at them from the back, especially, they’re pretty awesome [laughs].
Jeff: Those are my favorites [laughs].
Those are hilarious (and amazing)! Do they have a label?
Lisa: Rag City Blues. Made in Los Angeles. I think I found them years ago at Squaresville in L.A. It’s a resale place on Vermont Avenue, almost at the top of the avenue. It’s kind of like Wasteland on Melrose, but more vintage-y, less designer.
Speaking of sex, you’re expecting! How many months are you?
Lisa: Six months. It’s interesting, all of this stuff that you learn about what looks good on you and what works for you – this shape and that silhouette – it pretty much doesn’t apply anymore when you’re pregnant. Which has been fun because I’ve actually been experimenting more with wearing new silhouettes. I guess I used to dress like I’m dressed now a couple of years ago…really big, oversized shapes on top and skinny jeans. Now this is fine again, it’s cool, I’m comfortable in it, it looks good, and it fits.
You’re wearing maternity jeans right now, right? Tell us about them. Where did you get them?
These are Seven [For All Mankind], and I got them at a maternity superstore in mid-town called Destination Maternity. I think it’s on 57th street. I probably tried on 15 pairs. They have every maternity jean ever made. You don’t really have a waist to have them hang on to, so part of it is just making sure that they stay on. It sounds silly, but a lot of them just didn’t stay up on my body.
I started to show at five months, and I really started showing a lot in the last three weeks. And unless I’m wearing something really obvious, I think that people don’t really notice at all. All I want is for someone on the subway to offer me their seat.