Sarah Bray Sarah Bray | May 21, 2019 |
For her new fashion label, Black Iris, East End influencer Candice Miller took inspiration from her mother-in-law’s Southampton home.
The facade of Miller’s family home.
Candice Miller and her husband both spent summers growing up in the Hamptons. Today, the East End is still so much a part of the family that it’s the seasonal backdrop for the parenting and lifestyle content Candice creates on her site, Mama & Tata.
Black Iris dress in coral, $995
For her latest venture, Black Iris (shopblackiris.com), a fashion label founded this year with fellow Hamptons friends (Aly Gradone, Chloe Rosenberg and Rachel Wexler) , design and branding inspi rat ion got even closer to home—her mother-in-law’s Southampton home, to be exact. “Her home is romantic and feminine, like Black Iris,” says Candice of her mother-in-law’s style.
Barbara Miller is a retired interior designer known for her elevated interpretation of shabby-chic. “It’s so old-world. Her taste is very Laura Ashley and Ralph Lauren.” Coincidentally, Black Iris was initially inspired by vintage pieces in Candice’s closet, such as a flowing floral Ralph Lauren gown. “I started to notice on social media that my engagement increased when I wore romantic dresses,” says Candice, who has 52,000 and counting followers on Instagram.
Black Iris founders Candice Miller, Rachel Wexler, Aly Gradone and Chloe Rosenberg
“I have this huge archive of vintage pieces that people would always respond to and always want, and I would always feel really awful because I was never able to link them to the product.” After Candice shared this with like-minded friends who were equally experienced in the fashion industry, Black Iris was born. “We wanted to create pieces that had that old-world feel people were really gravitating toward on my site,” she says. “Even in the sense of femininity, I felt like there was such a lack of romance in the market and in celebrating femininity. Not to say that I don’t love a good blazer and pantsuit, but I want to be a working woman dressed as a woman and enjoying and celebrating that.” For the brand’s first look book photo shoot, the location was a no-brainer: Barbara’s English Country-inspired Southampton estate.
The kitchen is a focal point with its white Carrara marble counters
“I love the way my mother-in-law layers florals on florals,” Candice says of the antique-filled home that’s evocative of a bygone era of elegance. “There was an intentional awkwardness—or quirkiness, you can say—to the way our dresses looked in her house. The photos we shot there really helped identify the brand.”
The formal dining room brought a garden party aesthetic indoors
Adding to the storytelling aspect of the brand, the Black Iris photo shoot was the last memory made in the house. The secluded, hedge-lined property in the coveted Southampton Murray Compound was sold. Listed by Bespoke Real Estate, the 8,000-square-foot traditional home on 2 manicured acres with deeded ocean access didn’t last long on the market. “The house was sold the day after our look book shoot,” Candice says sadly, noting that her father-inlaw had passed two years prior, and the family home required too much upkeep for one person to manage. “It was the last hoorah for my family and a tribute to all of the beautiful memories we had in that home. The house will live on forever in our hearts through our imagery and the collection itself.”
Photography by: HOUSE EXTERIOR PHOTOS BY MIKE CANTWELL/COURTESY OF BESPOKE REAL ESTATE; BLACK IRIS FOUNDER PHOTO BY GRANT FRIEDMAN