Ali MacGraw Talks Gifts at Ibu

Helen Mitternight



Love means never having to say you’re sorry for a bad gift.


Ok, yes, it had to be said. I interviewed Ali MacGraw before she joined Susan Hull Walker at Ibu, Charleston’s source for ethically-sourced, women-created clothing and accessories.


Actress Ali Macgraw for Ibu - photo by Ferris Kaplan


If you’re not familiar, Ali MacGraw was the breakout star of the iconic 1970 movie “Love Story,” that resulted in the iconic quote, “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.”


You’d think Ms. MacGraw would be sick of hearing about Love Story, but she’s completely gracious, saying, “Love Story gave me access—the likes of which I would never have known, all over the world.”


But she’s in town to talk about gift-giving, particularly gifts from the colorful King Street showroom of Ibu.


MacGraw met Ibu’s Hull Walker at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, where she lives. Hull Walker asked her to be an ambassador and MacGraw, who often wore tribal clothes in Santa Fe, agreed it would be a good fit.


Ali MacGraw and Ibu owner Susan Hull Walker - photo by Ferris Kaplan


MacGraw has wrapped a number of colorful gifts curated from the Ibu stock.


“It was my job to wrap presents when I was a child,” she says, adding that she will be talking about the importance of thoughtful gift-giving to guests at two Ibu holiday parties.


“I was brought up to thank people who have been kind to me all year,” she says on the Ibu rooftop before Wednesday’s party. “Like the FedEx man, or the person clearing the brush. Of course, I give them a check, but it like tying it to something that looks festive and pretty. Like I found some incredible Pakistani foil baskets and I would add a fantastic Italian cake, or very fresh Clementines. It’s festive and thoughtful.”


Colorful gifts at Ibu, wrapped by Ali MacGraw - photo by Ferris Kaplan


The best gift she ever got was from her son, she says.


“When I turned 65, my son (actor/director Josh Evans) gave me an old watch. It was engraved, ‘For My Timeless Mama, All My Love.’ A gift has to be thoughtful. It doesn’t interest me to give or get a ‘gift du jour.’ I would rather spend days or hours rooting through a store,” she says.


MacGraw will be designing a collection with Ibu in the spring comprising some original designs and some curated pieces.


“It’s been great. For the first time, I’ve been able to say, ‘I love the dress, but I wish it came in an East African fabric,’ and they answer, “We can do that.’ I have so much respect for Ibu, and what it’s about. It’s about relationships, with professional results.”


MacGraw says she loves that current fashion has no rules and that outfits can be created using materials from different ethnicities.


Actress Ali Macgraw for Ibu - photo by Ferris Kaplan


“That’s what the world is, isn’t it? A mix of ethnicities. I’ve never subscribed to, ‘Oh, it’s on page 63 of Vogue, so I have to have it,’ never mind that it’s photographed on a 14-year-old Croatian a third of my body weight.”


She says that her work with Ibu matches her passion.


“To do service while creating something artistic…it’s too good to be true,” she says.

Tickets are still available for the Thursday gathering at 6 pm at the Ibu showroom, 183B King Street. Refreshments will be served and Ali MacGraw will speak at 6:15 pm