“It’s now where we go on vacation,” he said. “In New York, everyone goes to the Hamptons, or wherever, but Maine has become our escape. Don’t worry, we won’t tell the Hamptons crowd about it.
Snyder’s love affair with Maine began when he was chosen to design a runway collection for LL Bean for New York Fashion Week in Winter 2020 (i.e. before the pandemic 2020). He made several trips to Freeport to seek inspiration from the company’s 100-plus-year archives and created a couture collection that incorporated twists on staples such as the Bean Boot, Fair Isle sweaters and sweaters. down jackets (reinvented as pants!). He even transformed the iconic frontier blanket into a poncho. Think of “The Devil Wears Duck Boots” and you get an idea of what his track was like.
The collection was even hailed, the designer proudly points out, by the Portland Press Herald. Snyder continues to collaborate with LL Bean, but what began as a brief alliance between Snyder and Maine has continued to grow (insert pine cone metaphors here). His latest – and biggest – collaboration in Maine is at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport. Snyder designed 20 bungalows (plus a lodge) at the 60-acre resort.
Bungalows are how an Iowan who conquered New York, put American men in tailored suits through his work at J. Crew, then launched his own fashion line, sees Maine. That means it doesn’t look like the Maine the rest of us grew up with or would expect. His first interpretation of Maine through interior design at Hidden Pond came shortly after his debut with LL Bean, and he used many of the same fabrics and materials. Like his Bean runway collection, he said the From Away Lodge design (because, as Mainers would say, Snyder comes from afar) plays with “luxury and utility.” It’s an interior design tightrope of mid-century elements mixed with refined plaids, wools, and sheepskins.
“It was really about what Maine meant to me back then,” he said. “That’s my first impression. I spent a lot of time with the lodge as COVID had just hit so I was able to immerse myself in the project. I just took the color palettes and patterns from the show and reinterpreted them.
Since then, Snyder has partnered with other Maine companies, such as Sebago. But Hidden Pond called again, asking Snyder to design interiors for 20 bungalows.
“After the success of the partnership with Todd in 2020, we were excited to further explore our shared design vision,” Justin Grimes, general manager of Kennebunkport Resort Collection, said in an email. “As a hotel, Hidden Pond prides itself on creating a sense of place that connects to the destination. Todd’s unique perspective and affinity for Maine brought that to the guest in an entirely new way.
For the bungalows, which debuted earlier this year and start at $850 a night, Snyder took inspiration from three of his favorite parts of Maine: the seaside, the countryside and the mountains, and translated them in bungalow interiors.
There are decoration choices that you would expect. Its seaside-influenced bungalows are light and bright with natural sand tones, seagrass rugs, and striking seashell-patterned wallpaper by designer and New England native John Derian. He uses dramatic wallpapers to significant effect in mountain-influenced bungalows, which take inspiration from Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain. He revisits the archives of LL Bean for country bungalows.
“Creating a mood for everyone was important,” he said. “I wanted to understand how each would be similar, but also explore the contrast. Obviously, color was the easiest way. At the edge of the sea, it’s sand, it’s seagrass beds, it’s dunes and rocks. Settling in the countryside was a bit more rustic. Then the side of the mountain was a bit darker. My thought was, you’re in that cabin deep in the woods, and you just want to be completely unplugged.
As he leaves for another Maine vacation this month, Snyder said he’s excited to see more of the state that stole his heart. He’s come a long way from the man who once thought LL Bean wasn’t a real person. Now he’s looking to tell more about Maine’s history and convey it through fashion, but he’s promised not to say too much.
“The more time I spent in Maine, the more I realized the people there are proud, but they’re not boastful,” he said. “They almost don’t want you to tell their story. They have this great place and they love it the way it is.