Self-proclaimed maximalist J.J. Martin is a woman who knows how to stand out in a crowd. Her loud and proud vintage style – prints on colors on more prints – broadcasts a distinctly sunny individualism among the dark designer duds of the fashion parade. A longtime journalist and editor at large for Wallpaper* magazine, she’s launched a second career with a passion project inspired by her extensive vintage collection: LaDoubleJ, a site featuring insider stories about the stylish denizens of Milan in (shoppable) vintage pieces sourced from all over Italy.
The site is an expression of Martin’s joyous attitude – pop styling and free-spirited writing, more colors, more patterns, and an overwhelmingly positive view of the much-maligned city of Milan, where the Los Angeles native has lived for fifteen years with her Italian husband, meeting the many talents of the city through her journalism work. Not afraid to embrace the “girlish” side of fashion, she laments the masculine, big-brand bent of publishing and uses her site to promote the Milanese women she admires: “There were all these women getting lost that I love and that I wanted to write about.”
Seen through her eyes, the city is bubbling with talent and energy, and with hardworking, under-publicized creative geniuses, who are photographed on the lovelier streets of Milan or in their art and design packed villas. With her buoyant personality, Martin has a knack for getting even the more demure Milanese women to open up. “I’m obsessed with these Italian sciure,” she says, a sciura being, in local dialect, a discreet doyenne of charm and style, advanced in years and ever so much the wiser and more elegant because of it. Seeing, for example, the design guru Rossana Orlandi in a 1970s Roberta di Camerino coat and dress set, standing proud amidst the gallery that is her empire, a little sciura envy is inevitable—as is a good dose of admiration for Milan.