If you've been following along with us for awhile, or for the last couple of days on IG, you know that my mother-in-law and muse, Janet MacPherson, has passed away. The NYTimes published a pretty great piece on her life, which was a surprise and a joy–she would have been thrilled to see herself in THE paper of record. My husband and I have been receiving messages from all over the world from people who knew, and didn't know, Janet–all touched by her life story. They are bittersweet to read, but much appreciated. She really did touch so many people.
Janet was the start of this brand (she used to surf in cashmere sweaters before the wet suit was invented, and the first sweater I embroidered was one of her old ones, lying around our Montauk house). She's the woman in the black and white photo that adorns every box, bag and card here, and she was the inspiration for our first phrases. I was in awe of her, and I adored her from the first time we met.
Janet was 200% present in our lives, always up for whatever trip or adventure we threw her way (and she ours). She was as comfortable on remote Mexico beaches with no electricity or running water as she was at the Ritz in Paris. She was a welcome presence in our offices in NYC - she would blaze in like a force of nature and always request the most bold colors of cashmere, the wackiest sayings. She was a welcome force in my husband Sean's hotels, and knew many more of the staff by name than I do. Everyone loved Janet - Janet made everyone feel alive.
Janet was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia a couple of years ago, but it was a late, unexpected, stage four ovarian cancer that took her from us. The combination of seeing the strongest woman I've ever known suddenly diminished, mixed with not being able to see her during the pandemic, was hard to say the least. After she passed, my husband, Sean, and I booked the first flights to Mexico. We spent over a week surfing as a family (her descendants, beautifully; me, terribly) in her honor. We laughed and cried, and we will probably be laughing and crying for a long time to come.
I'm learning grief is the gnarliest of waves, and the only way through it is by owning it completely–in true Janet style. I'm surfing these waves of pain today by remembering her stories and sharing them out to the world, with you. Thank you for riding along.
Today would have been Janet's 85th birthday. Without a doubt she's surfing the longest "right" of her life–in a leopard print bikini and diamonds.
xo Rachelle, proud daughter-in-law to legendary outlaw, Janet MacPherson
p.s. While telling her story below, and in the product pages of this collection, I oftentimes use quotes from my husband Sean's eulogy, which was beautifully delivered in Malibu this past Monday.
"There were so many Janets: single mother, surrogate father, champion surfer, entrepreneur, snob who didn't like snobs, female trailblazer who wasn't particularly interested in feminist politics, and the list goes on. Janet was as at home surfing, driving in her dune buggy, and sleeping in a sleeping bag under the stars in Scorpion Bay, Mexico as she was eating at Waverly Inn and sleeping in the penthouse at the Bowery Hotel - though she might remind me if she didn't get her favorite room.
Another California-born lioness, one time Malibu resident, Joan Didion, once said "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." I believe Janet's life story has helped us all to live. There are endless Janet stories. I will tell a few. " - Sean MacPherson
Just a few Janet stories below...