By
Rosie Dalton
Photography by
Jaclyn Martinez

COLBY MUGRABI FINDS SURPRISING CONNECTIONS BETWEEN FASHION, ART, ARCHITECTURE, AND DESIGN ON MINNIE MUSE


What is a Minnie Muse, you might ask? According to Colby Mugrabi, who founded this innovative website, the name was first inspired by her childhood love of fashion. “When all of my friends wanted to become actors or singers, I dreamed of being John Galliano’s muse,” she laughs. Even from a very young age, Mugrabi says she was fascinated by the artistic relationships that exist between fashion designers and their muses. In fact, muses of all disciplines continue to interest her and it makes perfect sense, then, that she would dedicate her digital digest to the intersection of fashion, art, architecture, and design.

First landing upon the Minnie Muse homepage, it becomes abundantly clear that this is a fashion website unlike any other. For a start, the signature Muse Boards cleverly flip the equation from presenting a designer’s personal (and oft-shared) influences to drawing creative parallels from an outsider’s perspective. That outside observer is Mugrabi herself and hers is a creative eye that has been honed through extensive travel and hours of careful study. “I go up to the Met to the Costume Institute library twice a month,” Mugrabi reveals, adding that she is constantly poring through books as opposed to surfing the net.

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“[A lot of what you find in books] doesn’t exist in the digital space. That excites me because sometimes I am creating content that isn’t even online yet,” she says. Her output ranges from well-researched long reads to the aforementioned Muse Boards, beautifully curated visual expressions of how a collection may relate to a particular artist’s work or a period in architectural history. “When I look at a dress, I’ll think of a chair,” Mugrabi explains. “Or when I look at a sneaker, I’ll think of a building. So I think the Muse Boards really feed into that sort of niche mindset.”

According to Mugrabi—who is also a contributor to magazines like W and a board member at institutions such as the Met’s Costume Institute—“fashion is an integral part of how we live.” Not only do clothes reflect society, she believes, but they also communicate a great deal about the individual wearing them. If our sense of personal style also extends to our furniture and the art on our walls, why shouldn’t there also be a publication that does the same?

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This holistic approach is the driving force behind Minnie Muse, a platform that Mugrabi describes as “the cross-pollination of creative fields throughout history.” The site originally started as a fun side project while Mugrabi was still in high school, but was recently relaunched under an entirely new concept. As is so often the case with successful creative ventures, the inspiration came via a gap in need of filling. “There a lot of people out there who cover individual fields very well—whether that’s fashion, art, architecture, or design,” Mugrabi says, “but there isn’t anyone that really focuses on all four in a horizontal manner.”

“I already had the domain Minnie Muse, so I decided to keep the name, but it is a totally new concept now,” she explains. In addition to identifying a hole in the editorial market, Mugrabi says that her impetus to evolve the site also came down to that same favorite medium of hers: books. Specifically, she was most inspired by the ability of art books to change the way that we perceive something. With Minnie Muse today, Mugrabi strives for the same sort of effect.

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Drawing upon her careful research and impressive knowledge not just of fashion, but also art, architecture, and design, Mugrabi helps readers to reimagine particular garments or collections, thereby shining a light on what makes them so special. In the process, she presents personal style as a comprehensive experience—one that relates as much to our silhouettes as it does to our homes. These unexpected connections abound throughout Minnie Muse. “I’m not presenting anything you haven’t seen before,” Mugrabi offers, “but I am recontextualizing existing imagery and information. So I consider Minnie Muse to be something that changes the way you see something else.”

For more information, please visit MinnieMuse.com.

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By
Rosie Dalton
Photography by
Jaclyn Martinez
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