Sex and the City Season 4 has a scene where Carrie describes an effortlessly cool Park Avenue mom in sharp clothing pink trench coat from the “Barneys will always be a store, not a dinosaur” man. In fact, there are plenty of these naturally chic matriarchs roaming the streets of Uptown and Downtown in real New York, offering a portrait of ambition and good taste that often feels out of reach, both as moms and other people.
Retail consultant Julian Paik is an informal Manhattanite with a coveted inherent chic, but without any affectation or restraint in her style. Her personal style is casual and regal, every bit as cool as her work at Paik Studio; her client list includes Commission, Hommegirls and Luar. Paik’s aesthetic is a little classic and a little poised, kicked up by Tabi boots or Prada lug soles. She loves sports bras and vintage Umbro football shorts as much as she loves Thom Browne tweed jackets.
Fashion is a big part of her universe, which also includes food through her small bakery brand called Breadrose. But when she got pregnant with her daughter Noon, now six months old, Paik’s love of clothes started to take a slight turn, like all of us fashion nerds.
Nam June Paik didn’t have any real maternity leave after self-employment. For the first few weeks, of course, she stayed close to home with Noon, her husband Robert (Thom Browne’s womenswear director) and their dog, Archibald. But for her, dressing during pregnancy and postpartum is about incorporating more pragmatism into her wardrobe, while still sticking to pieces and designers that inspire joy.
Paik embodies the delicate balance between Barneys and Barneys, a love of fashion and a love of motherhood (dinosaurs, diapers, etc.), and below she digs into why and how.