19.05.2015

Donnet Dumas’ Distinct Style

The travelling model and restaurateur breaks down her indomitable style for us

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Nick Gordon

Donnet Dumas’ day is determined by the weather. After consulting an app on her phone she’s then ready to dress accordingly and face the day along with whatever it may bring. Though when living a life as full as hers it could be anything from maneuvering through a foreign city to spending a day on her feet running her restaurant, Skinny Legs & All.

“I dress differently every day, and I’m not so much influenced by mood than by weather. I suppose when I cut my hair that also played a role. I don’t dress quite as masculine anymore.”

And while pre-haircut she wore a lot of blacks and greys, nowadays she’s more into neutrals and subscribes to classic silhouettes rather than following any major trends. Her style has definitely evolved and her look is much more settled now. Donnet knows what she likes, what works and most importantly, she knows herself.

"I like a tonal outfit and this slouchy knit paired with boy pants in an olive green, almost khaki, is just really comfortable. I like how the skinny jean has taken a back seat and pants have come back. There comes a time when practicality comes into play. Like a Bauhaus thing - form follows function. I’m wearing a gold bangle that was my moms. My dad would give my mom one of these for every year they were married until she eventually had an arm full of the things."

As a travelling model Donnet’s work takes her all over the world. She’s been chasing summers for a few years now, splitting her time between Paris and New York, and then there are the direct bookings for jobs in places like Ibiza, Buenos Aires and Berlin. Obviously this makes for good shopping, but instead of just snapping up the Northern Hemisphere’s winter sales, Donnet likes to invest in pieces that reflect the geography and history of the place that she’s visiting.

“I have a bit of a shoe thing and will always try and bring a few pairs back with me. I’m happy to spend a bit more on something that’s really special. When I was in Argentina I had a pair of boots made for me by a leatherworker whose family has been making saddles and riding gear for the last 60-something years.”

"This is a jumpsuit that I bought online from Reformation who are based in LA. They take offcuts from warehouses and workshops and turn them into whatever. Eco fashion. Shoes are from MOMO, my friend Neira’s brand. I suppose I go through phases. Like sometimes I’ll go through a pants stage and only wear pants for a month. Then Neira, who is also a stylist, will notice that I’ve only been wearing pants and try and convince me to put on a dress. She’s always trying to get me to dress more femininely. It’s quite nice having a stylist for a best friend. Everyone has their own idea of what looks good on them but sometimes others see something different. So I value her opinion. Sunglasses are from aStore. It’s nice having a husband with a boutique where I can grab whatever I want."

With a focus on quality and investing in classics, Donnet doesn’t mind spending a bit more on craft that’s representative of an area. Especially since she’s not too big on getting rid of stuff. Quality over quantity, and all that.

“I have a pair of gold Converse that I bought in Hong Kong ten years ago. I’m quite bad at getting rid at stuff. Last year my friends and I cleared our cupboards out at the same time and had a sale. We ended up mostly swapping."

"T-shirt is MaMaMa, a new French brand that Dario is selling at aStore. I had this wrap around ¾ skirt made by a tailor in the area. Platform brogues by Jonak, which is also French. The jacket is an 80s leather biker from Topshop. I like this look for a casual day out. It's nice and relaxed and a mix of feminine and masculine."

Preferring to keep things as simple as possible, Donnet doesn’t over accessorise and will usually limit jewellery to a few rings and a bangle. That said, her collection of jewellery is quite varied.

“I have a penchant for stuff I won’t actually wear too often. Slightly impractical, almost ridiculous vintage stuff that I only wear on special occasions. Look at that necklace – you can’t hug someone wearing that! Pierre Estienne made my sword necklace for my 21st. I did a campaign for Pandora and they gifted me a $2.5k voucher, and so that’s where all that comes from. Zoja also makes really nice 18ct gold plated stuff…”

The same unfussy approach that Donnet has towards her accessories is applied to her beauty regime.

“Aesop toner, cleanser, moisturising serum and face oil. I take Zehra edible collagen. Fragrances are Tom Ford’s Jasmine Rouge and then my every day scent is Chloé. Usually just finger brush my hair using some Evo hair powder that I stock up with at Mop Hair.”

"This is a typical work outfit. Classic silhouette… pockets to stash things in… it’s put together yet still relaxed. My Vans used to be white. I don’t really mind them dirty. They’re never going to stay clean working in the café and spilling coffee on them all day. The jeans are River Island mom jeans. High waist, 90s cut, like something Julia Roberts would wear in Pretty Women, or Susan Sarandon in Thelma And Louise. Zara button up shirt. Every now and again they do a good cotton shirt, and this was one of them."

Having a fashion conscious partner helps, too. Not only because Donnet’s able to pop into his boutique and help herself to whatever she fancies, but watching how he agonises over his outfits and style reminds her to keep things casual and not take anything too seriously.

“It is nice that I can buy him stuff that’s slightly more out there and he’ll appreciate it. It’s funny how sometimes we’ll meet one another and will be wearing the same outfit.”

However, the ultimate accessory is her little black toy poodle, Solo, who not only goes with Donnet everywhere but also goes with everything.