My Uniform: Guillaume Guevara + Olivia Villanti

My Uniform: Guillaume Guevara + Olivia Villanti

Guillaume and Olivia are co-founders of a small little shop in the east village of Manhattan—and parents to a spirited 3-year old boy, Lalo. Their shop, Miscelanea NY, sells authentic Mexican tortas, queso Oaxaca and fresh tortillas by the pound—plus Mexican apothecary, cookbooks and kitchenware. In a nutshell: A Mexican general store. Guillaume grew up in Mexico City but has spent the past 15 years in New York City working in hospitality and marketing. Olivia, a freelance writer by day, developed a love of true authentic Mexican food through Guillaume who makes the best enchiladas on the planet (well, according to her anyway). We followed them around the East Village one afternoon to discuss—you guessed it—how they arrived at their “uniforms.”

 

ON EARLY STYLE MEMORIES

Olivia: I grew up in Rhinebeck, New York and although the vibe there is super-relaxed and I didn’t get a lot of “fashion” exposure there, I always loved clothing. An older cousin who was a bit like a sister to me had tremendous influence on my style. She went to an all-girls school called Emma Willard, had wild curly black hair and always dressed in layers: Cargo vests over flannels, linen dresses over tees, always an armful of bracelets she’d bought in India (where her father is from). Sometimes part of the fun of seeing her was to see how she had put herself together.

Olivia is wearing the standard shirt in relaxed Portuguese cotton
Guillaume is wearing our standard t-shirt in slub cotton

Guillaume: I was born in Mexico City, and my family sold European fabrics for a living, as well as buttons and small accessories. My grandfather was the owner of the company and he always wore a uniform to go to work. He looked the exact same everyday: I never paid much attention at the time but now I realize he was a man of style and he knew how to look good. There’s something about the idea of a uniform that I’ve only come to appreciate later in life. The way Tom Ford always dresses the same or Andy Spade—they have this signature look. My grandfather’s was a pair of khaki pants, a desert boot, a light-blue collared shirt and then a V-neck pastel-colored cashmere or wool sweater. Growing up in Mexico City you become very aware of brands, and when I was a kid American brands were the “It” thing. It meant you were well-traveled, you went to the U.S. and there was a certain status associated with it.

 

Growing up in Mexico City you become very aware of brands and when I was a kid American brands were the “It” thing.
- Guillaume

 

ON YOUR FIRST PAIR OF KICKS

Guillaume: It was the ‘90s and grunge was a thing. I’d go to Texas with my family to shop and I remember finding a pair of Airwalks at Ross. They were my first important sneaker, my most-prized possession. I also later found a pair of purple LA Gear shoes. Do you remember LA Gear? There was one shop in Mexico City that sold them, a military surplus store near the Lomas neighborhood, and my mother took me there. They weren’t the color, size or model I wanted but they were the brand so I bought them. I think internally everybody has an affinity for certain brands. Perhaps that’s why when I started Miscelanea I took the branding and the marketing of it so seriously. It’s been important for me to create a brand that people love.

Olivia: I was never a big sneaker girl, to this day I’m really basic and more of a loafer or flat person, but I do remember getting a pair of white Reebok high-tops for the first day of 3rd grade. The smell, the whiteness, it’s so visceral and satisfying like I can almost relive it if I think about it long enough. In high school it was all about my Doc Martens. Eight lace holes in black purchased on Broadway in Soho on a trip with my parents.

I remember getting a pair of white Reebok high-tops for the first day of 3rd grade. The smell, the whiteness, it’s so visceral. I can almost relive it if I think about it long enough.
- Olivia

 

ON YOUR FIRST INVESTMENT PIECE

Guillaume: I went to college in Switzerland, and I saved money for the entire time I was there to purchase a watch. The day before my graduation, I had my roommate drive me to a local watch shop. We walked in, it was a Saturday, and they told me the price of the Capeland Baume & Mercier I wanted (about $2,000). As a good Mexican, I asked them, “But what’s your best price?” It was a fancy store with Pateks and Audemars and of course they were like, “Well what do you mean?” And I was like “What if I pay in cash?” And cash is king, so they said they’d take 15% off. I told them the ATM wouldn’t give me that amount of cash so I had to make two withdrawals, $1,000 today and $1,000 the following. Unfortunately, they were closed on Sundays but I needed it for my graduation the next day so we agreed on a time to meet on Sunday to open the shop privately. I still have the watch, I like to keep things I love in good shape. My line of work does not allow me to wear fancy watches. I’m often times fixing fridges, cleaning dishes, I don’t have a banking job.

Olivia: In all honesty my most important style investments—my watch, my special jewelry and my nice bags—were given to me by Guillaume. But I do remember saving a whopping $50 when I was only 11 years old for a silk tie I saw hanging in the window of a shop I loved called Workers & Dreamers in Rhinebeck (still there to this day) and wearing it on the first day of sixth grade in a very Clarissa Darling-esque way. It was an insane amount of money to spend on an accessory but I also still have it to this day.

 

ON YOUR CURRENT UNIFORM

Olivia: I bike everywhere in New York so dresses and skirts tend to be only for weekends when I’m not on the move—or I’ll straight-up layer a pair of jeans under them. I like stealing Guillaume’s clothes which is slightly tragic because he buys stuff for himself so rarely and doesn’t have a lot, whereas my side of our closet is busting at the seams. I love a men’s button-down over vintage jeans—I definitely own more jeans than a normal person should but I just can’t get enough. Simplicity and ease—especially with a toddler—is so important!

Guillaume: I don’t necessarily have a uniform, but there are certain things that are always in rotation: A linen double breasted, double vented, big lapel jacket, a pair of true straight-leg jeans cuffed, a great T-shirts and a baseball caps. I’ve always really liked hats, I take them as a short-cut to not have to think about my hair.

 

3 THINGS WITH GUILLAUME + OLIVIA

Guillaume

3 careers you’d pursue if not for your current line of work: Rally car driver, soccer player, car repair man.

Your uniform in 3-pieces: A hat, a T-shirt, bracelets.

3-things you never leave home without: My tattoo (Olivia and I have matching ones), my wedding ring, a treat for my son

 

Olivia

Your uniform in 3-pieces: Jeans, button-down shirt, flat shoes so I can bike!

3 words to describe your personal style: Classic, uncomplicated, denim

3 people whose closet you’d like to raid: My cousin’s circa 1992, Patti Smith’s, Bruce Springsteen’s

 

As told to AM on May 24th

Photographed by Casey Zhang at Miscelanea NY, 63 East 4th Street

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