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Leanne Shapton on Her Style Mantra and Loving Green Clogs

The artist and author takes us into her colorful world.

leanne shapton
Photography by: Kathy Ryan

This talented artist, known for her award-winning illustrated memoir Swimming Studies (Blue Rider Press), spends most days in her Greenwich Village studio, painting the same picture again and again—as many as 50 times. “My process is repetition. It’s like doing laps,” says the former competitive swimmer. Shapton begins by throwing a smock over her outfit, which is usually a vintage find (Ungaro, Scaasi, 1980s Chloé) mixed with new pieces by designers like Margaret Howell, 45rpm, and Rachel Comey. “My style is the love child of a ménage à trois among Lady Di, Vanessa Bell, and David Hockney,” she says. Up next: a collection of stories, and a series of paintings inspired by a quilt her grandmother knitted -- two projects that keep her creativity flowing, stroke by stroke.


[SLIP INTO THESE: The Prettiest Floral Pajamas]
blouse perfume shoes skirt bag nail polish
Photography by: Courtesy of Margaret Howell (skirt); Peter Ardito (others)

Her Syle

Mantra: “If it itches, don’t wear it.”


Everyday Shoe:  “Clogmaster clogs. Kelly green is one of my favorite colors, and the shininess of the patent leather feels a bit fairy-tale.” From $155,


Work Uniform: “A Tucker silk blouse and a skirt by Margaret Howell, which can take me from working in the studio to outside meetings.” Baltic Sea Breeze Classic blouse, $295, Skirt, $785,


Trusty Carryall: “I rotate canvas bags that I can throw in the wash, like this flight tote from Wm. J. Mills & Co.” $149,


Signature Scent: Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum. $230 for 50 ml,


Must-have Makeup: Morpho Super Staying lip stain, in Zinnia. $27,


Skin-care M.O.: “It’s high-low: Crème de la Mer concentrate and Cetaphil moisturizer.”


Nail Polish: Essie’s Playing Koi. $9,


[TRY: A Full-Coverage Foundation Perfect for Your Skin Tone
tulips pg tips tea leonard cohen cd champagne
Photography by: Courtesy of PG Tips (tea); Peter Ardito (others)

Her Home

Design Vibe: “Midcentury Italian and squashy English countryside. And everything is covered in books, drawings, and toys.”


Prized Possessions: “A Vico Magistretti coffee table and the Yamaha U1 piano I found, perfectly tuned, on the street last year.”


She Collects...: “Books, vintage clothes, and Ellsworth Kelly posters.”


Favorite Flower: “Purple tulips from the deli.”


Mood Music: “Leonard Cohen’s tribute album, I’m Your Man.” $8,


Breakfast: “An enormous mug of PG Tips tea and an almond croissant split with my daughter on the school run.” Tea, $4.50,


Dinner-Party Menu: “Lambrusco, a bowl of rippled potato chips, French-onion dip, and delivery from Mario Batali’s pizza restaurant Otto.” Cleto Chiarli, $17,


Evening Drink: Ovaltine.

printer and paints
Photography by: Peter Ardito

Her Work

Art Supplies: “Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors. The pigments all have some white and black in them, so they’re not too bright.” From $15,


Tech Gadget: Epson’s PictureMate photo printer. $250,


Touchstone Book: “Alice Munro’s Who Do You Think You Are?, which I first read when I was a teenager.”