Heidi Lee, Closets
Heidi Lee

Like a chemistry project, Heidi sees fashion as a “homegrown portal into who you are.” On the one hand, she's an artsy RISD grad who dons avant-garde Comme des Garcons penguin checkerboard shoes, traditional lederhosen and a metal and leather Bliss Lau arm bracelet that she loves because it looks like a tourniquet (I am obsessed with it). On the other hand, she's a science buff who loves metaphysics, geometry, sci-fi movies and feels that she could be a biologist or neuroscientist as well as a milliner. Magic happens when Heidi attaches a garter and over the knee hose to the pockets of her electric green “Nina Hagen” -inspired cutoffs, wears a necklace of a Korean mask steeped in ancestral folklore and an acid-colored fur hat that she claims is part of her preparation for the future, in which our planet will be so depleted that everyone will be freezing and need to buy the hats that she designs.

Hats and hatmaking are the ultimate enchantment for Heidi, as they can be made with your own hands, spark a conversation and carry a certain mystique. One of her happiest childhood memories took place at the Queens Botanical Gardens, while wearing her favorite white beach hat with a rose - her golden Kodak moment. As if the illusion of being naked is not chic enough in her chainmail dress that she likens to string theory or how the galaxies net together, Heidi wears it with her melting clock hat, a reference to Salvador Dali and her own attunement to vivid dreams. Heidi’s mom, whom she looks up to for her effortless ability to be gung-ho about everything, remains both a role model and a provocateur for Heidi to push for her own excellence. Heidi describes a dream about herself and her mom, explaining, “There are two beds...both of them identical. One side is me, the other side is my mom, and we would have these joint competitions with each other where we’d both have to make our beds. Every time, my mom would be able to beat me, a split second better.” A haute hat made up of strange plastic flowers and ferns is a creation spawned by Heidi’s interest in how fungi grow out of ants' heads, worn with a Search and Destroy leopard and lace slip that she describes as Philistine with an old Roman feel to it.

In an iridescent, ecto-plasmic “kind of jelly fish shirt” that Heidi finds playful for its contours, shapes and a voyeuristic peek at the body, she wears her umbrella hat inspired by Issey Miyake, math and architecture. “There’s an alchemy that’s happening that’s interesting. And I go with it and then it’s a whole new concoction. A lot of times, it’s exploratory… but I am always happiest when I am wearing a hat,” Heidi says.

If you love Heidi, you may also like Goldie Rush, Ran Q Huang and Kristine Barilli.

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