Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Shows

I’ve been asked many times “who’s clothing do you like?” or “What collections do you look at?”. In fact, I was asked that just this morning, so without a lot of research, I can name three of my favorite collections. I love, love, love what Christoper Bailey does at Burberry. The clothes look very modern and new to me and there’s a relaxed quality to them that just seems like genius to me. I always admire Lanvin. Alver Elbaz takes real clothes and just makes them the ultimate in chic. A collection that I can’t wait to see every season is Rodarte. Kate and Laura Mulleavy—sisters—just blow my mind with what they come up with. Their look is always total—check out the paint (tattoo like) on the models. There are many more, but these would probably be my top three.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back to Work!

It’s been a while since my last post. I think I fell right back into my old ways; after opening a collection, I always wanted some time off mentally. So, I’ve let my fashion experience settle for a while and now I’m ready to go back at it.

I’ll fill you in as to what’s been happening the past couple of weeks. It became painfully aware that we will need a showroom in New York to work with. I thought that I would be able to handle orders that we took from the Coterie, but I’ve come to realize that I need the clothing in New York hanging on someone’s rack so that we keep up the exposure. To that end, we are actively looking for a multi-line showroom in the city. I’ll keep you posted.

Production is moving along on the first line. All the fabrics have been ordered and we’re starting to finalize patterns.

I repeated the fashion show for our local hospital here in Kingston last Friday night—I’m a member of the board and it was a fundraiser to benefit the hospital. I was pleased and honored to do it. It was a lot of fun to show the clothing to non fashion professionals. The fashion press is great but they see so many shows that I certainly see how they may get a bit tired or jaded in the process. The hospital audience loved the show, and more importantly, they seemed to love the clothes—it was great to show them to appreciative, “real” people.

That’s my blog for now—more later!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's in An Age?

I’ve had a week in Sydney to ponder just what I’ve gotten myself into. It was a fairly relaxing week - lots of sightseeing, touring and walking - but the clothing line, my new business, was always on my mind.

I think one of the questions that has been asked of me, and I ask of myself, is, quite simply, am I too old to do this? Let’s face it, I’m probably the only “new” designer out this season that is an AARP member. I’ve also been told that “fashion is for the young”, “you’ve got a good business now, why would you want to start another?”, or, the one I love, “you won’t have the energy to do it.” I’ve pondered every statement and piece of well-meaning good advice I’ve received and I decided that there was no really good reason not to do it. I mean, fashion may be for the young, but does that mean I have no right to do it? There are some very talented kids out there (and for purposes of this blog, that means anyone under forty); however, at the same time, almost all of the most influential designers working today are older than I (Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld, Oscar de la Renta, Armani, to name a few). In fact, even Marc Jacobs is in his forties. So, after much thought about the “age thing”, I felt that it didn’t hold water. Anyway, I feel that I’m in one of the most creative times of my life - I just have to remember not to let others tell me that I’m not.

I’ve got a good thing going with my collectible business. It’s now almost eighteen years old. Sure there are always challenges, but over the years, we’ve been able to meet those challenges and move ahead. I have a very talented staff that is willing and able to do more - I’m very lucky that way. My established business can help me build the new one - it just makes sense to me.

When I left the garment business, I knew I could not go back if I had to work for someone else. This time, I’m doing it for me, and doing clothing the way I want.

There is one other thing. Before I decided to do this, I spent a couple of hours talking to Gene Simmons (yes, of Kiss). I flew to California to meet with him to discuss a licensing deal. He listened to me talk about plans for my company, about where we were headed and all, and he finally said to me, “You need to think bigger.” He then proceeded to rattle off about ten great business ideas. Regardless of whether or not any one of the ideas was right for my business, that wasn’t the point. The point was think big, and think often! I decided on the plane trip back that I had to give this a shot. So, thanks, Gene.