Lauren Wilson remembers exactly where she was when she first dreamed up Dora Maar. She was Ubering home late one Sunday night in New York City, mindlessly scrolling Instagram when she stumbled on celebrity stylist Britt Theodora selling items from her closet.
“She was giving the story behind each piece and tips about how she would wear them,” Wilson explains. “I had this moment where I thought, how cool to shop from the closet of people I find so stylishly aspirational. It felt so special.”
Wilson, a USC graduate whose resume included roles at Gucci, Christie’s, and Moda Operandi, couldn’t stop thinking about it. In 2019, she went all in on her concept: a platform for pre-owned luxury fashion where users can shop collections curated by tastemakers and influencers they love.
“Obviously so many brands use influencer marketing, but it’s often a fleeting moment,” Wilson explains. “With Dora Maar, it’s like we’re building storefronts for influencers that their audience can continue to buy into.”
Wilson began approaching uber-stylish influencers like Theadora (now Pete Davidson’s stylist) and — coincidentally — several Texas talents, including Natalie Steen of The Nat Note. Dubbed “Muses” (Dora Maar is a nod to Picasso’s famous inspiration), the influencers curate pieces from their own closets to sell on a spotlighted page of Wilson’s platform. Initially, a new Muse was launched on the site each month. Today, Dora Maar welcomes a new personal closet about twice a week (with the occasional refresh from past Muses).
Amid the rise of resale, thrift shops, and re-commerce (driven partially by Gen Z’s attraction to sustainability), Dora Maar stands out by making things personal — and as universal as possible.
“You go on the site and see women of different sizes and colors,” Wilson adds. “I think that allows the customer to see themselves as part of luxury fashion.”
Though Muses are the foundation of Dora Maar, the brand has expanded to include brand partnerships as well — a rarity between resellers and luxury fashion labels that often worry how their story will translate to a third-party site. Dora Maar’s unique focus on influencer storytelling, however, has made for several trusted collaborations.
One of the first brand partnerships came about with the help of acclaimed costume designer Charlese Antoinette (Judas and the Black Messiah) and Rodarte. Months after launching Antoinette’s personal closet in April of 2021, Dora Maar teamed up with the American luxury brand (who dressed the designer for the 2021 Oscars) to share a collection of archival pieces through Antoinette’s closet. The latest partnership launch: Milan-based luxury brand Esme Vie through the personal closet of Dallas’ own Natalie Bloomingdale.
A Spotlight on Texas Style
While Dora Maar’s Muses include fashion industry heavy hitters like Nancy Chilton (formerly of The Met’s Costume Institute) and former Vogue style editor Edward Barsamian, the platform’s diverse collection of closets has helped shine a light on enviable style beyond the coasts — largely in Texas.
Explore the effortless femininity in the closet of San Antonio-based jewelry designer Nicola Bathie McLaughlin, a glamorous curation by Fort Worth blogger Samantha Stewart, and a mix of Balmain and vintage home accessories in Sharon Lee Clark’s whimsical closet. Most importantly, however, find a Dora Maar Muse that inspires you — no matter where you call home.