Los Angeles based designer Heidi Merrick began her sartorial education when she was still a child, helping out at her parents' iconic Santa Barbara surf shop and watching her mother sew board shorts and her father shaping surfboards. “My family are craftsmen,” says Heidi. “My dad is, bar none, the best shaper, and my mom is so visually talented. Our house was always so beautiful. I grew up with a strong aesthetic.”
After studying art, design and pattern cutting, and a stint working as a stylist in New York City, Merrick launched her eponymous clothing and home accessories line inspired by the Pacific Ocean and the California coast. “Modern California minimalism” is how she describes the mix of easy-chic suiting, every day gowns, sequined swimwear and aprés surf sweats that make up her collections.
“The Silverlake collection took its lead from Merrick's SS19 collection entitled, 'Now That I Summer in Europe'. "The name of the collection infers that you can decide on the life you want to live," says Merrick.
"In terms of print and design I wanted to incorporate the idea of flight. We developed this flamingo print in response to the notion that you may seem like a grounded bird but at any moment you have the ability to fly. My palette reflects those magnificent natural colorations of the bird."
Flaneur visited with Heidi at her 1920s Spanish-style home in Silver Lake where she lives with her husband Johnny, daughter Hiver, and son Alfie, to talk about how she uses color in her collections and her home.
What is your favorite color and thing in that color and why?
I think the color that I always go back to is that bright orange-red. It's like a true fire red but a little more coral. And I don't think I have one object, exactly, that is my favorite in that color. I would say that I love to collect flowers, clothes and books in that coral color.
How would you define your style?
It's interesting, I would say I'm really shaped by being from Santa Barbara and I think that sort of defines a real ease but a real elegance in my style. So, I like things to be a certain sort of elevated level but it has to be cool and easy. You know what I mean? It's classic but in that sort of resort way - slightly European, slightly Mexican.
Where do you find inspiration?
It's always nature. There’s always a beautiful palette in nature, sort of a moving palette and by that I mean colors that speak to each other and that relate. Whenever I do a collection I try to do a few shades of the same hue because you always see that in nature. You see it in everything. You see views of a color, it's never just one color. So for color, I find inspiration in nature. For silhouette, I try to always define it by what I see women wanting to wear. Like if women are beginning to tuck in, then I want to define the waist. If I see women draping things over, I try to accentuate the shoulder. I really try to bend the silhouette to what my friends are wearing, what my friends want to wear. That is where being a designer comes into play. I'm going to solve that problem.
What was the last thing you bought for yourself?
We have land up north, an apple farm, and we built a library on it. It's like a two-story library so I went to a used book store and I spent stupid money on books. And I never stop myself I'm like, "This is a beautiful art book. Oh yeah, love it, buy it."
What's your favorite room in your house and why?
For sure my bedroom. Whenever I'm done with anything I go to my bedroom and I lay in my bed and then look out the window or open a book.
What’s on your bedside table?
Books and Vintage French Vogues through the years I loved, like the '90s and the early 2000s.
Where is your dream travel destination?
Do you know I've never been to Morocco? I mean, that's cliché, but doesn't my house feel like Morocco? You know, I have kids, so I haven't been traveling much recently but I'm going to Japan soon to do spas. The Ryokan experience.