Acolyte of the Exquisite

Hanh Merriman embodies the multidimensional nature of today’s creative class…

Author of a wildly successful blog, life-in-travel.com, which chronicles her life of fashion, travel, food and family, this global transplant spent her youth in Vietnam but now resides in Dallas with her husband and two daughters. She’s on an eternal quest for beauty in all things, and we’re enthralled by her fun-loving approach to the finer things. It would seem the rest of the world agrees, with publications from Vanity Fair and Elle to New York Magazine having all documented her imaginative ensembles. Seth Vaughan does a double take and explores the inner workings of an aesthete au courant.

On becoming a Dallasite. Once I finished university in Vietnam, I had the chance to move straight to Dallas to reunite with my family who, in part, had begun moving here in 1980.

First fashion memory. When I was around 12 years old, I asked my mom for some fabric so I could make an outfit. Although I had no knowledge about pattern cutting or sewing, it turned out well, sparking a lifelong passion.

Whose style did you admire growing up? Whose do you currently admire? I grew up in a big family, so I was taught valuable lessons from my mom and sisters. I currently admire Russian blogger Miroslava Duma’s ability to compose outfits, though.

On the innateness or learnedness of style. I hope I have good instincts when it comes to style, making it innate. Although I think that’s a starting point, you’ve got to be able to learn more and have your vision evolve as time goes on.

My clothes and accessories express … I hope they express a boldness, an elegance and an edginess.

Thoughts on dressing like a mother. It really doesn’t matter being a mom or not. My mom often reminded me as a young adult that “to … show your inner beauty … doesn’t mean showing a lot of skin.” This sentiment continues to guide me.

On blogging … I’ve always loved traveling, but it wasn’t until I was inspired to write a blog about it that I began jotting down my thoughts.

Most important thing I’ve ever learned along the way is … How meaningful traveling can be. It builds an appreciation, positivity and thankfulness for what we have in life.

Favorite designers. Rick Owens, Maison Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Balenciaga and Céline.

When buying clothes … I believe you can build a beautiful wardrobe by buying select well-made investment pieces rather than a slew of those that are poorly made. However, today one can often find wonderful, well-made items at all price points, so don’t simply equate price with quality. What’s essential is buying only what we really love, instead of settling for things we just like.

My most prized pieces of clothing, accessories and jewelry are … A handbag that my father gave my mother 62 years ago when they met is at the top of my list. After that is my Rick Owens crocodile jacket, along with the leather-and-lace collar I designed.

My last acquisition was … A necklace and pumps from the Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2013 show.

Dreaming about … An Hermès Kelly rendered in an exotic skin.

On where fashion is headed. After years of funky shoes, feminine heels with pointy toes are making a return. Also, I see more solid colors rather than crazy prints headed our way.

Favorite places in the world. To shop: New York and Paris. To relax: The Amalfi Coast, Turks & Caicos and St. John. For history and sights: Venice and Rome.

Inspirational films and books. Films: Rear Window, Roman Holiday. Books: Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

I’m inspired by: Magazines, runway shows and the people I surround myself with.

I can’t stop thinking about … The teahouse Maison Mariage Frères in Paris.

Favorite hotels. Le Meurice in Paris and The Plaza in New York.

Shops that continue to delight and amaze me … IF and Comme des Garçons in New York; Rick Owens and Chanel on rue Cambon in Paris; and Forty Five Ten and Grange Hall in Dallas.

Beauty regimen. Always going to bed with a clean face.

Favorite flower. Peonies and Hydrangeas.

Last trip? Next trip? Nevis was my last trip. St. John or somewhere in Europe is probably where I’m headed next.

An ideal day. Snuggling with my kids in the morning, making crêpes for brunch, playing badminton in the backyard, shopping at my favorite stores and then cooking a big family dinner in the evening.

Must-haves for the summer. Black, it’s the new neutral (again). I currently love wearing it with white and a touch of gold.

This summer, I’ll be … Taking a long trip with my family, as is the case every summer.

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