While we all wait with baited breath for the May 5 debut of the newest exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, Manus x Machina, the Costume Institute’s Librarian in residence, Julie Le, is waiting for something else: her first baby.
Le, who oversees the Costume Institute’s Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library, is well versed in style: she regularly peels through more than 30,000 books and periodicals devoted to everything and anything fashion. Her library is a critical resource for fashion designers, costume designers and of course, curators for the exhibitions at the Costume Institute, which are always a hot ticket for us fashion-hungry New Yorkers. So needless to say, we were eager to pick her brain about pregnancy style.
We recently visited her jewelbox of a library, hidden beneath the treasures of the landmark Metropolitan Museum of Art, for a few quick vintage-tastic bump shots with her photographer husband Jason Lewis. Below, she chats with us about pregnancy in New York and why she’s obsessed with finding the perfect black baby onesie for her baby boy to be.
How would you describe your pregnancy style?
My style is minimalistic, but feminine. I wear a lot of vintage and I’ve been able to really make that work for pregnancy. Other than vintage, I love Christopher Lemaire t-shirt dresses, Rachel Comey, which is really maternity friendly, Creatures of Comfort and Adam Selman. If it’s stretchy, I’ll try it and make it work. And I wear a lot of black — I’m trying to wear more color!
What’s been most surprising to you about dressing the bump?
I usually wear a lot of A-line, trapeze-style dresses, but they are just not as flattering during pregnancy. It’s been nice to show off the bump. I’ve also been trying to find the perfect maternity tights, since I wear so many dresses.
What have you been crushing on for baby?
I’ve been obsessing about finding some black baby clothes, and it’s harder than you think! He needs to have some black in his wardrobe before he starts wanting to choose his own clothes.
What’s his nursery going to look like?
Our home has a lot of black walls and colorful accessories, like Hello Kitty and Star Wars stuff. All of our books are organized by color. His nursery and furniture is going to fit into the design aesthetic of the rest of our apartment — it will be black and white, with lots of colorful toys.
You’re surrounded by style everyday — how has your role at the Costume Institute inspired your pregnancy?
The inspiration is endless! I love the vintage catalogs, especially of the children’s clothes, like the Sears & Roebuck catalog. We have all of these fashion plates of moms and children, dating back to the 1700s. And we have such a cool collection of street-style magazines. They’re from before there was stuff like the Sartorialist, filled with things like Japanese street fashion. I love seeing how real people wear clothes.
What are some of the things you’re hoping your little one picks up about your work?
I hope he has a love for reading and books, of course. And I hope he has a passion for discovery and art. So many of our friends are creative and passionate about what they do. We just can’t wait to expose him to everything and see what he’s into.
What are you most looking forward to about being a mom in NYC?
We’re so lucky to have a big network of friends with kids…a lot of them are on their second kids now. And it’s nice to see how they really incorporate their children into their lives. I can’t wait to take part in all the children’s programs here. Plus, it’s a pretty nice perk to be able to bring him here when there isn’t anyone around. I’m nervous about the basic stuff, of course, but I’m mostly just excited to do all the fun things around NYC.
Photography by Jason Lewis for Well Rounded NY.