Katherine Bucknell

We are delighted to introduce our latest Marfa Muse, literary scholar and novelist Katherine Bucknell.

As one of our earliest supporters, Katherine has been a loyal advocate for our brand since 2020, when she discovered us during the pandemic.Over the years, Katherine’s enthusiasm for Marfa Stance has been generously shared with her whole family, from her mother and sister to her son and his partner, they’re a truly multigenerational Marfa family!

In her career, Katherine has edited four volumes of Christopher Isherwood’s diaries and this summer will launch Christopher Isherwood Inside Out, the biography of the British-American writer best known for his novels Goodbye to Berlin–the basis for Cabaret–and A Single Man.We are excited to host Katherine for an event to celebrate her US book launch on August 14th at our Summer pop-up at Matriark in Sag Harbor.

Katherine also edited W.H. Auden’s Juvenilia: Poems 1922-1928 and co-edited the series Auden Studies, as well as publishing four novels, including Canarino, and creating an audio book, The Flynn Guarneri.

Katherine is wearing her original Parachute Parka in Black/Bronze in size S-M layering with her Quilted Liner in Dark Olive and Black / Reverse: Navy in size S. For her second look, Katherine styles her Utility Vest in Chartreuse in size XS and layers with her Parachute Parka in Stone / Reverse: Natural White and Pale Sage in size S-M.


Tell us about your background and talk us through your career journey so far

I am a literary scholar and novelist. I have a BA from Princeton, an MA from Oxford, a PhD from Columbia. I have edited all four volumes of Christopher Isherwood's diaries and a volume of his letters as well as W.H. Auden's Juvenilia. I've also published four novels.

What are you most proud of?

Honestly, I try not to feel proud except once in a while, thinking about my three children and my husband, I can't help it. I feel privileged and lucky to be able to work on these amazing writers and to have my head inside books all day.

Tell us about your latest book, the biography of Christopher Isherwood

The biography of Christopher Isherwood has taken me ten years, not including the fifteen years I worked on his diaries before that. It has been the adventure of a lifetime, to explore his experience and his imagination in such depth. He is known for Goodbye to Berlin, which Cabaret is based on, and for A Single Man, which Tom Ford adapted as his first film in 2009. But there is much more to Isherwood's story, a gay man in the twentieth century when, for most of the century, this made him an outlaw. His search for what he called a sexual homeland and a long-term relationship is both distressing and inspiring and always framed by his celebrated sense of humour. I'm a straight, married woman and a mother; writing this book has been utterly humbling and transforming.

Did anything surprise you during the research process?

As for surprises in the research process, there was something every week, a new document or a new insight. It was incredibly exciting. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that exciting things still come along, after all this time. He continues to fascinate me. He examined his own life constantly, writing about it in his diaries, accepting who he was and always trying to walk a higher pathway. He sets a marvellous example.

You’ve been a supporter of Marfa Stance from the very early days, how did you discover the brand?

I discovered Marfa Stance on Instagram during the Pandemic. One image was all it took--that is something new, striking, and useful, I thought. The beauty of it derives from its purpose, all the fun and glamour is rooted in necessity, so its authentic. For me that made it an instant classic. I do a lot of sports when I'm not sitting at my desk, and I'm very impatient with clothes that don't function. I'll spend time choosing, and I love beauty, but then I want to rely on them utterly. Like your jeans or your boots or your t-shirt.

What was your first piece and why do you love it?

I ordered the Signature Quilt, and I wore it every day. Soon I bought one for my mother, then 90, and for two of my sisters. I love the way the brand has grown organically and not too fast. New colours always relate to the existing ones, and the palette is unusual. You really can build and refresh the piece you've invested in. There's real intelligence at work in every detail, and also restraint; perhaps the hardest thing is not to overdo.

How do you style your Marfa Stance pieces and what is your favourite combination?

By now, I'm an addict, with more pieces than I care to admit. A favourite, which I always always take when I travel, is a parachute parka which I wear without a collar but with a vest buttoned inside. This is warm enough to cope with snowy weather in New England, but I can remove the vest in California. I have worn the dark side as an opera cloak over an evening gown to the opening of the Met opera in New York. I have even used it as a duvet on an unexpectedly cold night in guest room that had no blankets.

In warm weather, this spring, it's been the Utility Vest--holds a passport, an iPhone, glasses in the zip pockets. One less bag to carry on the plane and looks gorgeous over a dress if you get chilly eating outdoors in the evening.

Photographer: Amelia Allen