Mother and Daughter

Every step of the way, clothing and the shared bond of fashion have remained pivotal in keeping this mother and daughter closely connected. Shared passions, interests, memories, and love for one another sustain an ever-growing, ever-changing relationship.

For last year’s Mother’s Day, I had the opportunity to dress my own mother and sisters in XCVI’s Summer collection, photographing my family in all our glory, feeling confident and beautiful wearing XCVI. I followed up with an accompanying interview and conversation that allowed us to authentically tell our story. This year, I wanted to spotlight a mother-daughter duo I’ve held dear for a decade.

Kristy and Madeleine (Maddie) are close friends of mine who embody the beauty of a mother-daughter bond. If you know Maddie, you know her mother, Kristy, because the two, along with Maddie's dog Kiko, are truly a package deal.

Kristy recounts that Maddie was born in a hurry, ready to fly across the room. “She was doing the can-can in the ultrasound," Kristy laughs, "and when she was born and they put her on my chest, she lifted her head then swung around and looked at me. She was ready to start her journey.”

Both Southern California born-and-raised Geminis with ever-present smiles, Kristy and Maddie possess equal measures of fire-cracking boldness and lightheartedness, each excelling in their respective fields and ongoing creative pursuits. Together, they radiate a sense of childlike wonder and playfulness that’s both refreshing and deeply felt.

Kristy reminisces about how excited she was to have a girl and to dress her up in enormous bows and outlandishly adorable outfits. “There’s nothing better than little girl clothes. I needed her bows to be ten times bigger than her head.”

Whether Maddie’s impeccable style and exquisite taste were nature or nurtured, Kristy’s incredible sensibility for fashion was both inherent and ingrained in her daughter from day one. Reflecting on her upbringing, Maddie shares that her mother's sense of style shaped her own individuality. “My mom always said that style is innate." 

As early as Maddie can remember, she and Kristy enjoyed the challenge of recreating outfits they saw on department store mannequins using thrifted pieces and what they already had in their own wardrobes. Kristy would conduct challenges in which each person had fifteen to twenty dollars to curate an outfit. The family would then arrive at events like bowling night dressed to the nines and costumed in ways that were as entertaining as they were creative. Kristy recalls a standout night in which Maddie showing up to the alley in bright lipstick and a faux fur-trimmed she'd thrifted. “She looked like Rita Hayworth in that dress,” says Kristy, smiling at her daughter. "And then I bowled in it," Maddie adds matter-of-factly.

“Fashion has always been a part of my life,” continues Maddie. “It’s a genuine part of how my mom raised me and it's made me very self-possessed. Style reflects who you are and how you carry yourself. Trend culture was never a concept to us.”

Sharing clothes and exploring each other’s closets became a no-brainer as Maddie grew up. She describes their respective styles as “distinctly different” yet complimentary of one another’s. “Every time you come over you leave in one of my outfits,” Kristy smiles. “I wish we were the same shoe size though,” Maddie responds, laughing. The two agree in unison—being able to trade footwear would be great.

Maddie tells me that every moment and memory of their lives involved clothing. From celebrations to difficult times, dressing up was the grounding element that saw the duo through the good days and the pain.

“From Easter brunch to a funeral, life is a fashion show,” Maddie states. “It makes you be present because you've put effort into the ways you move through the world. It shows appreciation and gratitude for life.”

“It’s an art form to celebrate life,” agrees Kristy.

Maddie remembers her mother in anything from pleated tennis skirts and heeled flip flops to a floor-length sherpa coat paired with a denim mini. As she’s made her way through life, Kristy’s go-to ensembles have inevitably evolved. “I’ve been the soccer mom, the corporate mom, and now the retired mom--- and the outfits are different!” 

Kristy and Maddie's loved ones can recognize them by the stomping of their heels. The two describe developing a relationship with each item in their wardrobes, familiar enough with their practical daily needs to hold on tight to the ideal “twelve-hour stiletto." I can’t be sure, but I think these two may have invented walking in heels. Maddie recalls Kristy in the kitchen cooking with her heels on because it made her feel good, and Kristy truly lives as a champion for self-expression, for all the little ways fashion can not only elevate your look, but your life as well. Fashion sprinkles the day-to-day with fun, playfulness, and beauty, reminding us not to always take ourselves so seriously, to explore our creativity, and to see the best in the world around us.

Trying on styles from XCVI’s first Summer drop, the duo appreciate the comfort and versatility in each piece. “When I put on a piece, I need to know that it looks good, that it’s functional and practical, and that I’m not going to be tugging, pulling, and adjusting it all day long,” says Maddie. “I like that you can have ten different outfits with just a couple of pieces here, that you can easily mix and match. When I’m getting dressed I don’t want to think about whether or not the piece works. I need to know that already. It should be a no-brainer. You shouldn’t have to build an outfit around a single piece or force something to fit into your wardrobe. Practicality is versatility.”

This mindset—of timelessness as a necessity in the longevity of your closet—reflects XCVI’s mission to create clothing for real life, to accommodate and align with the active, on-their-feet lives of women like this mother and daughter pairing.

Dressed in all-white wearing the linen split-hem Kiesten Tank and pocket-full Felix Short, Kristy falls in love with the comfy-casual yet classic, sophisticated feel of her look. “I can see myself walking down The Strand or having brunch with my friends in this,” she says. Simple yet full of functional and unexpected details, the outfit embodies California coastal-cool. Maddie chooses the Izod Tank—a v-neck with multiple adjustable ruched channels—and the Delphine Mini—an asymmetrically-hemmed high-side cargo skirt with cinchable cords—both in the muted warm clay-beige of “Center Stage” pigment. The light, bright neutrals of both ensembles ease into the summer season with breezy fabrics and flexible silhouettes.

“I love that everything is adjustable and customizable, and I love the parachute style of the skirt,” Maddie adds. “It’s really fun and makes sure that you’ll never have a repeat outfit.”

Next up on the clothing rack, the two dive into “Mermaid Tail,” an aqua-blue pigment that feels like a pool of crisp water. Kristy opts for the crochet-detailed co-ord of the Larina Tank and Koldis Pant, while Maddie sports the Coralie Dress, a box-pleated tank style featuring a raw-edge, shark-bite hem that brings plentiful movement and twirl-worthy volume. The two shine aqua-bright as I photograph them dancing and
laughing together.

This time in dreamy grey “Mist” pigment, Kristy sports the Larina Tank once more, paired now with her own jeans and some color-pop accessories. Maddie hones in on the sleek slate of “Graphite Point" pigment, pairing the stretchy jersey Neela V-Neck, with its flattering and curve-grazing seaming with the Squire Pant, a banded-leg cargo style with ruching at the front leg. She slips into straw heels and adds gold accessories, instantly elevating the look and highlighting the versatile potential of unique details, flexible fabrics, and a great fit.

“XCVI fits in with beach and city life,” Maddie remarks. “The core pieces can stay the same and be used year-round since California has such a temperate climate.”

Maddie and Kristy grew up in very different versions of Los Angeles, with Kristy submerged in 70s’-influenced skate and surf culture and Maddie gravitating more towards Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles as her career in the fashion industry blossomed. “LA has everything so we take advantage of what makes sense,” says Maddie.

A mutual appreciation for fashion has stood as a cornerstone in fostering the profound connection between this mother and daughter, continuously nourishing a relationship that evolves and strengthens with each passing day.

This Mother’s Day, they'll celebrate with three generations of women in their family, including Maddie’s 91-year-old grandmother. “...who is fabulous, by the way,” Maddie points out. They'll all have brunch and spend quality time together, embracing the unique bonds and experiences that have shaped them from generation to generation.

It is a privilege and pleasure to witness Maddie and Kristy's symbiotic love and to be so endlessly inspired by the joy and humor they find in each and every moment.

This Mother’s Day, let’s take time to cherish those who made us and raised us, and to bask in the extraordinary love that forever and immeasurably shapes our lives.

From all of us here at XCVI, we wish you a healthy, happy, and forever-stylish Mother’s Day!

With love,