A good designer creates amazing clothing that you covet. A great designer creates a world so cool and so fabulous that you just have to be a part of it. A great designer defines a place you want to go, and the type of woman you want to be, even if just for that day.
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Christopher Bailey of Burberry said of his recent collection, “…it’s not so much about the pieces themselves, but the attitude with which they’re worn.” Below are women designers who design for women, and whose pieces are deliberate and fun. I hope they will be your inspiration next time you’re shopping for that perfect outfit.
The Designer: Lela Rose
Lela Rose is based in New York City, but hails from the Lone State and her outfits can be seen on the likes of Jenna and Barbara Bush. Lela Rose calls her designs â€œclassic with a twistâ€? and designs for the 99% of women who don’t look like supermodels. Her clothing is flattering and wearable with an elegant edge.
The Elyse, a silk polka dot ruffle halter dress with charcoal velvet sash. Lela Rose is sold locally at Neapolitan in Winnetka, Sweet William in Hinsdale and at Ultimo in Chicago. Also available at www.bergdorfgoodman.com.
It’s a hazy late afternoon in summer and you’ve been invited to an outdoor cocktail hour. Dressed in a prim and proper frock, you mingle among guests on a sprawling patio with marble columns, admiring the sculpture garden beyond. You pause for a photograph and the â€œItâ€? crowd wonders who you are.
The Designer: Collette Dinnigan
A designer from down under, Collette Dinnigan has been designing lingerie, bridal and ready-to-wear for more than 10 years. In 2005, she was named Best Australian Designer of the Year by In Style magazine and has been gaining in popularity on the red carpet ever since. Dinnigan’s designs are light and airy, her summery silks flirty and flowing.
Everything that glitters is good with Dinnigan’s sparkly confections: Charlize Theron in Collette Dinnigan; silk crinkle blouson top and shimmer mini skirt over metallic pants. Locally, Ultimo and Barneys New York in Chicago stock Collette Dinnigan.
Think Christmas in July. For you, holidays last year-round. You’re festive and always perfectly adorned. Tinsel trim and ribbon embellishments are always in, making you shine at night and glow by day.
The Designer: Hollywould
Before starting her own line, designer Holly Dunlap worked for Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and Lily Pulitzer. Taking a little inspiration from each design house, Holly dreams up shoes, handbags and ready-to-wear that is dazzling, bold and carefree. The name Hollywould is actually her nickname, as in “Holly would do it” and her latest collections channel this daring and fun attitude.
Tahiti halter dress in shell print silk jersey and Coral Branch wicker clutch, both at www.ilovehollywould.com.
You forget about work and jet to Cabo san Lucas, where you cabana hop at a pool party while drinking Red Bull margaritas and dancing the salsa.
The Designer: Marchesa
Design duo Georgina Chapman and Kerin Craig have received much criticism over Chapman dating Harvey Weinstein, founder of Miramax, and the coincidence of their designs so quickly gracing A-listers. So the Hollywood mogul must help out a bit, but when has fashion not been about connections? Regardless, I’m taken by their glamorous designs and am wild over the line’s inspiration, Marchesa Casati, Europe’s most notorious celebrity, and its most eccentric.
Scarlett Johanssen in Marchesa. Marchesa is available at www.neimanmarcus.com.
Your driver arrives and you climb in the sleek black car. Up the lane you wind, watching the villa become larger than life with its twinkling lights and glowing windows. This is an important place to be, and you have important people to see. Like the real Marchesa, who once paraded her pet cheetah by a diamond-encrusted leash, you have your own tricks up your sleeve.
The Designer: Erin Fetherston
Based in Paris, Erin Fetherston balances fairy tale with sensibility. Her bio is short and to-the-point: â€œI’m a young American designer with a couture collection in Paris.â€? Her pieces say the rest.
Sarah Jessica Parker in Erin Fetherston. You can find Erin Fetherston at Helen Yi.
Think Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides, but with a happier ending. You’re young at heart, dreamy and making your own fun. You’re as confident and excited as you used to feel when playing dress up. Surrounded by friends, you choose play over work and think life is a glass of champagne.
When it comes to your next shopping trip, think about who you are and who you want to be. Dream a little. After all, it’s not about how you look, but about how you feel. And you can rock any outfit that feels right to you.