Top Drawer wants to get into the minds of Asheville’s notable fashion forecasters, trendsetters and style icons. In this series, we ask boutique owners and designers what inspires them and what tips they have to pass along. Here, Trish Marshall, owner of Rags Reborn Eco-Chic Boutique (1 W. Walnut St., Asheville, 253-4488) clues us in to goat-milk soap and Limones, while Dema Badr, owner of Zakya Boutique (61 Haywood St., Asheville, 254-9890) expounds the virtues of life-changing hair products and home sweet home.
Do you follow trends or stick to classics, and why?
Trish Marshall: I don’t follow trends so much, but I definitely pay attention. I’m a thrift shopper at heart, so I notice the quality of the fabric, tiny details and how well a thing is made more than anything else.
Dema Badr: I think it’s safe to follow trends in silhouettes so long as they flatter my figure, but I always stick to classic colors. I don’t like the concept of throwaway fashion, and trendy colors and bold prints tend to date things and limit how often you can wear them.
Who is your favorite designer?
TM: I love the curvy, complicated draping and tailoring of the 1930s and ‘40s, but I don’t know any designer’s name.
DB: I’m overly obsessed with Commune, an interior design firm based in L.A. Their aesthetic is ever-changing yet all at once daring and endearing—a contradiction I love in both interior spaces and fashion.
What luxuries do you count among your necessities?
TM: Rose goat-milk soap and good shoes.
DB: I need nice leather boots that won’t be treated nicely, to bring my dog to work when I feel like it; life-changing hair products from Studio Chavarria [84 Walnut St., Unit A. Asheville, 236-9191]; and a daily latte—the big size.
When you shop for art, what styles are you drawn to?
TM: Figurative, I guess. I like the suggestion of a story, and a way to get in. I love Ursula Gullow‘s paintings [ursulagullow.com]. Quilts, too, like those from Gee’s Bend.
DB: There are too many styles to choose from, but I love art that exudes warmth and femininity, has a bold sense of humor, and lights up a space. I also have a crush on altered objects and reclaimed-collage pieces.
Which books or films do you turn to for inspiration?
TM: It’s usually poetry. After, by Jane Hirshfield, hasn’t shifted from my favorites list since it got there. Lars and the Real Girl would be my film pick. I’m also very inspired by D.I.Y. craft culture, and I practically drool over Selvedge magazine.
DB: My nightstand currently consists of a gifted version of Tao Te Ching, an unreturned copy of Meher Baba’s Discourses and an abused and inky edition of Atlas Shrugged. When I want visual inspiration I read Elle or Harper’s Bazaar.
Which one item (or outfit, or accessory) in your wardrobe is your foolproof piece?
TM: It’s usually something black. This year it’s a boxy, collarless three-quarter sleeve corduroy jacket with big buttons.
DB: It was an impulse buy on a “fat day.” Picture a stretchy/slinky, solid black Norma Kamali pencil skirt: It’s high-waisted and tapers just below the knee. It looks great with a vintage T-shirt and ballet flats or a cashmere turtleneck and heels.
Where is your favorite Asheville hangout?
TM: The bar at Limones [13 Eagle St. Asheville, 252-2327] if I’m out with a friend, or Downtown Books & News [67 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville, 253-8654] if I’m taking time for myself.
DB: My home.