Actress, model, designer, and activist Ali MacGraw discusses her clothing collaboration with IBU - launched in the Hamptons - and her desire to help struggling artisans around the globe.
Ali MacGraw in 1978.
You’re a major fashion icon! Is this your first collection with Ibu? Yes, my first. This is me putting together ethnic textiles, beading, jewelry, and shoes—comfortable, beautiful textiles to embody and represent bold, confident, beautiful women.
What inspired you? What inspires me is what Ibu is all about. Ibu in Indonesia means “woman of respect.” I love the creative aspect and knowing how many people benefit from this company. My dear friend Susan Walker, the founder, asked me to take my love of traditional and exotic textiles, jewelry, and ways of dressing into a situation where people making them will profit from them. We take so much for granted in America; these women living abroad do not have the luxuries we do.
How did you meet the artisans? I met most in Santa Fe, where I reside. It’s filled with appreciation for every possible ethnicity. We live in a multicultural community. Many people wound up there after the ’60s, having traveled all over the world. They came back with new ideas, designs, and materials.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Short Indian coin necklace ($145); Zebra ankle-wrap sandals ($125); Vintage indigo mules ($295); orange Hart for Ibu tassel earrings ($95); orange and pink Mola Sasa clutch ($395).
Is every piece handmade? Yes, in the [makers’] country with their fabric and their hands.
What countries are most represented? South Africa, Ghana, South Sudan, Pakistan, Brazil, and India. Pakistan is a big one, because there’s ravishing embroidery in the Swat Valley—a very dangerous part of the world. The beading from South Sudan is very important to me, because picturing what it would be like to be a woman in that area is dire. It’s amazing that these women can create spectacular beaded jewelry in such harsh conditions.
Where can Hamptonites find the line? Ibumovement.com. We’ve had pop-ups and trunk shows in Connecticut, the Hamptons, and NYC. I would love to branch out, if we had the time, in places such as Malibu and Santa Barbara.
Why launch in the Hamptons? It seemed common sense for the clothing aspect. What we design is perfect for every summer day. The outfits are perfect for throwing on—they are lightweight and cotton.
How does your style intertwine with the line you created? In the summer, frankly I live in a white tee, jeans, and any bold statement accessory. This line is simple but unique, which represents my style. I love blues. I think everyone looks great in blue, and I used a lot in this line.
What are your five favorite pieces? The dirndl skirt—I think it’s fabulous! The flat mules made of vintage indigo. I love the Pakistani short embroidered dress and a longer gauze belowthe- knee coat. It looks fabulous with a strappy tank top, PJs, or white jeans. And all the accessories are my go-tos!
What does Ibu mean to you? The respect we women have to have for each other in clothing, compassion, contribution, and connection. For those of us who are not gigantic political activists, I think it’s our way of offering not just assistance but hope during an incredibly troubling time in society. ibumovement.com