Pamella Roland

When it comes to navigating through life, so much of what we know is passed down from mother to child. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked Donna Karan, Lubov Azria, Lela Rose, Rachel Roy, Pamella Roland, Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Zoe and Kelly Wearstler to tell us, “What’s the greatest advice mothers can share with their children?”

Check out the candid, poignant family photos that each of these designing women generously shared with us…


Donna Karan: Make time for love. “The best advice a mother can give to her child is that love is about time−the time you spend with others, and time you spend taking care of yourself. You need to find the balance and do both,” says Donna Karan, pictured with her daughter Gabby on her wedding day in 2002. (For her special day, Gabby wore a short dress with an added long tulle skirt, made by her mother, of course!)

Lubov Azria: Live your dreams. “Each of my daughters has a unique journey they are embarking on, and I support them wholeheartedly. I always advise them with what I tell myself every day: Work hard, stay focused on your vision, and follow your dreams. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,'” says Azria, Chief Creative Officer of BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP, which includes BCBG and Herve Leger.

This busy business woman is mother to 6 children with husband Max Azria. Above, Lubov (pictured second from left) enjoys some girl time on Malibu Beach with her daughters Anaïs, 16, Agnès, 14, Marine, 21, and Chloé, 18.

Lela Rose: Conquer with kindness. Designer Lela Rose keeps her motherly advice simple and sweet: “Be nice, be nice, be nice.”

The New York-based Texan transplant is pictured with her two children, Grey, 11, and Rosey, 6, and their two Yorkshire terriers, Stitch and Bobbin.

Rachel Roy: You can make a difference. “The best advice I give my girls, which my mother instilled in me, is the importance of giving back to those in need,” shares Rachel Roy, pictured with her two daughters, Tallulah Ruth, 5, and Ava, 13.

Pamella Roland: Easy does it. “As my children have grown, my best advice to mothers of young children would be to not sweat the small stuff−you let go and let your children learn by making their mistakes, and you have to pick your battles,” says Pamella Roland.

During New York Fashion Week, you can always spot her three children, Cole, Sydney and Cassandra, cheering from the front row.

We offer Pamella Roland in selected stores. For locations, please contact a Designer Specialist at 1.877.543.7463.

Rebecca Minkoff: Search for excellence. “Find your PASSION and give 100%. It may or may not be easy to find; maybe the search will be painful and long, but you will find it at some point. And the feeling of satisfaction knowing you have given 100% brings tremendous contentment,” says Rebecca Minkoff, photographed with son Luca Shai, who will turn 2 in September.

Rachel Zoe: Do the right thing. “Always be kind, always have manners and always be grateful. Never be greedy, never be jealous and never be cruel,” says Rachel Zoe on the words of wisdom she instills in her son Skyler, 2.

Kelly Wearstler: Be a go-getter. “The best advice I can give my boys is the same advice my mother instilled in me: the only person who can make something happen for you is YOU. Be compassionate, be self-reliant, and love what you do,” shares Kelly Wearstler with her boys Elliott, 9, and Oliver, 10.

On Mother’s Day, remember the women who gave—and lived out—the best life advice for you.

(Uh-oh: Still need last-minute Mother’s Day gifts? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered!)

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of each designer

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We asked Nanette Lepore and Pamella Roland, whose collections are two Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW) staples, to sketch highlighted looks from their fall/winter 2013 (FW13) collections. The result is a sneak peek of colors and textures that will soon descend on the runways at Lincoln Center.

Image courtesy of Pamella Roland.

An eveningwear mastermind, Pamella Roland is known for creating looks that define red-carpet glam. Her FW13 preview clearly demonstrates her POV on sophistication is as refined as ever. We asked the Michigan native, who is always so put together, if she has ever experienced an ‘undone’ moment at MBFW.

“I had a dress that was ready to go out on the runway and then the zipper broke. You cannot fix a zipper in two seconds, so the dress did not go out. There was no time to sit down and have a little fit, and some designers do. For me, the dress just doesn’t go out and you keep it moving,” says Roland, who will present her fall vision on February 11 at 1pm EST. “I had another zipper malfunction last fall. I told the model to put her hand on her hip and make it work. Those things happen and you just have to keep your cool about it.” (Check out our recent interview with Pamella for more inside info on her current collections and inspirations.)

Image courtesy of Nanette Lepore.

Nanette Lepore, who is known for her use of assorted colors, hones in on rich jewel tones for the Pantone Fall 2013 Fashion Color Report. She’ll reveal her latest collection on February 13 at 11am EST — stay tuned to the Thread as we cover it!

We offer Pamella Roland in selected stores. For assistance, please contact a Designer Specialist at 1.877.543.7463.

—Qianna Smith


Fashion imitates art for Pamella Roland‘s spring/summer 2013 collection. Roland, who celebrated 10 years in fashion last year, talks to The Thread about her latest muse, American painter Ellsworth Kelly, and why she felt inspired to channel his black-and-white drawings into her latest design scheme.

THE THREAD: American painter Ellsworth Kelly provided the inspiration for your spring/summer 2013 collection. Which particular works of his did you infuse into your designs? What about his aesthetic resonates with your own?
Pamella Roland: I actually own an Ellsworth Kelly black-and-white painting. He’s an amazing artist and also a great person. I’m on the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and so I got the opportunity to get to know him better. I’m just impressed with everything about him; he’s a very interesting man. I collect art, and because I own one of his black-and-white paintings, I just decided it would be great to do a collection that paid tribute to his work. His ability to create a powerful work of art in a minimal way resonates with me. I’m not a fan of over-embellishment.

Tell us about your work with the Whitney Museum. How has your role on the board aided your overall creative process?
Pamella: I am the secretary on the Board of Trustees at the Whitney Museum. I have supported the arts pretty much all my adult life. I was one of the youngest to be selected for the board of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, a post I took up at 25. And I’m now a life member on the board. I have always been into the arts probably more than fashion, in a way. At the time that I was growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, being a fashion designer was somewhat hard to fathom. I had always loved fashion and had worked at various clothing stores from age 14 through university, but when I was younger, I never really thought I’d be a fashion designer. I hold a business degree from Michigan State University, but my minor is in art history because art is something I’ve always loved. My father was the type of person who didn’t believe you could make any money with an art degree. I’m glad I have my business degree because I own and run a business. Oftentimes, being a designer and knowing how to run a business don’t go together.

Your collections are known for their use of color, but for SS13, we see a slight deviation with the use of black and white and a more tailored assortment. What prompted this change?
Pamella: When designing a runway collection, I usually do either art or travel. I really love modern art, but I’m also involved with American art history, and I love it when I get the chance to fuse the two disciplines together. You’ll see the marriage of the two in my work and also in the way I decorate my home. The new collection will see this too, but I have to keep some anticipation for Fashion Week.

Yes, we are known for color, which is funny because I’m known as a person who loves to wear black. But as I become a more creative person, my interest in how I dress isn’t as important as my collection. The collection allows me to express my creative side. When I was younger, I wanted to look perfect all the time. Now that I’m 54, I am more of a minimalist. I did do this more black-and-white tailored collection, and what promoted the change was Ellsworth Kelly being my inspiration. You cannot do Ellsworth Kelly and a bunch of ruffles—it just would not go together.

Last fall, you celebrated 10 years in fashion. What does your design POV say about you? How has it evolved?
Pamella: I have evolved a ton. You’re always learning, and of course, you learn from your mistakes. The core reason I started this business was to make beautiful clothes that flatter women. I started this business when I was in my forties. I was approaching middle age, but today, I think middle age is more like 50 than 40. I wear the clothes, so I understand that a real woman’s body is not a model’s body, so I stuck to that. We’ve always been told that our fit is very good, and that’s because I am so picky about it. Even when it comes to runway, we fit the models. I have a design team, but when it comes to fit, I can see what works before anyone. I have become aware of the clothes. In the last 10 years, I have evolved as a wife, mother and entrepreneur. I have three children. I have been told that I’m very calm before a show. My design team is not about drama; I’ve had too many dramas with teenage daughters who are now in their twenties. You can get past anything when you deal with teenage daughters.

Which online fashion personalities are on your radar?
Pamella:’s street style photographer Tommy Ton as well as illustrator and writer Garance Doré.

Describe how your fashion philosophy influences your collection.
Pamella: Now that I’ve gotten older, I dress the daughters and the mothers. I don’t wear everything I design, but we have clothes for every type of body. My twenty-something daughters wear my designs. Jane Seymour, she wears our things so beautifully, and she’s 61, and then on the other end of the spectrum, you have country artist Kellie Pickler, who is 26 and looks stunning in my dresses. We’ve also dressed Queen Latifah, who is 42, quite a few times. These women represent three different ages and body types as well as my universal design appeal.

With New York Fashion Week a month away, what’s getting you excited for fall/winter 2013?
Pamella: Right after a show, you have to start thinking about the next show and your next line. And now that our fabrics and beading are coming in, and we’re designing, and it starts coming together, I get excited because now it’s about asking my team what we want this to be. I have large collections and we always have to cut them down, but there’s so many things I end up wanting to do and that I get excited about. What I love about this job is the ability to create.

Interview by Qianna Smith | Photo credit: Nigel Barker & Pamella Roland