Behind the Seams

Interviews

Falling for MISS WU

HERO

Rooted in femininity, inspired by the colorful textures of the ’60s and crafted with the sophisticated pedigree of the Jason Wu mainline, MISS WU is nonchalant dressing done smartly.

Exclusively available at Nordstrom, the second season of Wu’s work-to-weekend diffusion line arrives in stores today! With fall quickly approaching, our MISS WU shopping list is full of covetable wardrobe essentials, from super-soft cashmere striped sweaters to pleated chiffon skirts. Before we charge away, The Thread phoned the New York-based designer to get the scoop on his ladylike must-haves for fall/winter 2013, and as one might expect, we got a crash course in the Wu way of style.

Meet Miss Wu Take 1 & Take 2: A model moment: Meghan Collison (left) in a spring MISS WU Lace Yoke Faille Dress and Magda Laguinge in a fall MISS WU Leather Dress.

“I loved the idea of designing a collection that was a little whimsical, chic and yet still very feminine, which is a [hallmark] of my aesthetic,” says Wu on what he set out to accomplish in terms of creativity and wearability with this newly stocked line. “The fall line is aligned with the spirit of MISS WU, which we really established with season one.”

In January, MISS WU launched with Canadian-born model Meghan Collison as the muse of downtown chic. And for fall, Argentine stunner Magda Laguinge became the heroine of understated elegance. It seems to us that Wu may just have a penchant for models with names starting with M? “I actually didn’t realize that! I guess it’s an M for MISS WU,” he says with a laugh. “The clothes are as important as the girl that wears them. I’ve known Meghan and Magda for a long time. Each girl has a great individual style, and they both really have this MISS WU sensibility that I look for in a model. When they wear the clothes, you almost get the sense that they’re actually the clothes they just have in their own closet, which is what I really wanted for MISS WU.”

Warm Outerwear, Cool Styles: LEFT: MISS WU Genuine Shearling Moto Jacket & MISS WU ‘Gallone’ Jacquard Dress | RIGHT: MISS WU ‘Torre’ Wool Blend Jacket with Removable Genuine Fur Collar, MISS WU ‘Vera’ Lace Print Silk Blouse & MISS WU Paneled Tech Pants

The fall MISS WU collection continues to unveil the personality and relaxed attitude of Wu’s design aesthetic—as well as shed light on his obsession with the ’60s. When designing this collection, Wu envisioned a playful young woman, but who is she and where is she going? “She’s out and about, she’s on the town. She’s traveling a little bit, and so we see the first introduction to outerwear,” he says. “We also see her in different [kinds of] weather, and I just thought, with this season, we’re able to explore further into her wardrobe.”

It’s My Life: LEFT: MISS WU Tech Nylon Puffer Jacket & MISS WU ‘Sofie’ Stripe Cashmere Sweater | RIGHT: MISS WU Pocket Crêpe de Chine Blouse & MISS WU Stripe Pleated Chiffon Skirt

The shoot for the MISS WU lookbook took place in New York’s artsy-cool Chelsea neighborhood. Photographed by Simon Burstall, props played an important role in setting the tone and authentic look into the life of MISS WU. We asked Wu to walk us through his production and concepting process.

“I love working with props, and I used them for both the first and second collection so we could really envision the girl in the space, in her life. I wanted to set up these different vignettes so it looked like she was in different scenarios that would occur in her day-to-day life,” he says. “There’s a sense of realness, that she’s an approachable girl. The lookbook really serves as a window into MISS WU’s life this season. She had the backgammon set that I thought was really charming, as though it were something she would like to play. We also used a Persian rug, which showed her love of color and interesting patterns. These are all things I envisioned she would own in her apartment.”

Wearer-of-Wu: Actress-turned-author Jessica Alba recently donned the MISS WU Abstract Chain Jacquard Dress during a book-signing event for The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True To You.

There was a definite contrast between Wu’s fall mainline collection, which featured a palette of black on black, along with the vivid colors and patterns of MISS WU. If the Jason Wu woman had a one-on-one with the MISS WU girl, what style advice would she pass down? For Wu, the answer is simple: “Keep it individual, keep it feminine and keep it sophisticated.”

Go behind the scenes of the MISS WU Fall/Winter ’13 lookbook shoot for an intimate view of the collection.

Qianna Smith

Photos courtesy of Jason Wu/Simon Burstall & portrait by Jayme Thorton

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Fearless: The Creative Courage of Alexis Bittar

It was 1930 when fashion jewelry made its first sparkling appearance onto the market, yet only in the last 20 years has the movement reached its true brilliance. Today, women don accessories out of pure desire rather than privilege, and that’s largely thanks to innovative jewelers like Alexis Bittar. Since 1990, this Brooklyn-born New Yorker has challenged conventional notions of luxury, producing a collection rooted in artisan techniques but crafted from accessible materials. Bittar’s glimmering creations have brought an entirely new meaning to the concept of semiprecious stones and metals with his use of Lucite (acrylic glass), chrysocolla (a minor ore of copper) and labradorite (a feldspar mineral).

Viva Femme: The reverence and strength of Bittar’s designs is captured in shots from his spring/summer 2013 lookbook

This out-of-the-box type of creativity takes courage, and Bittar seems to have plenty on reserve. “I started my business single-handedly and built it organically,” says Bittar, who got his start by selling his hand-carved pieces on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village.

Does this self-taught jeweler miss his street vendor days, working among the pulse of the people? “There was more simplicity back then because now I’m pretty much holed up in an office for most of the day, but no, I don’t really miss it,” he says. “There’s a lack of seeing colorful characters every day, but I’m surrounded by creative people. In some ways, my generation has become the prevailing decision-makers of fashion and art. If you’re in your 50s, 40s or even late 30s, you’re in that place where you’re at the top, basically, so I pretty much have this amazing think tank around me.”

HERO

The Big Bangle Theory: Alexis Bittar ‘Mod’ Knot Bracelet, Large Quilted Bracelet, ‘Mod’ Wrap Bracelet (Nordstrom Exclusive), Small Quilted Bracelet & ‘Mod’ Knot Bracelet (Nordstrom Exclusive)

And it’s with good reason that Bittar feels he’s a leader amongst his peers. His ability to excite the market by using experimental materials like matte car paint, PVD coating and Lucite at a time when no one else was helped him push his business to the next level. Bittar’s pragmatic nature never lets him lose sight of what’s important—and that’s well-made, highly desirable fashion accessories. “I produce the Lucite collection here in New York; to have the freedom as an artist to make quick design changes and being hands-on ensures better quality control.” His American-made pieces go through the hands of seven artisans before they’re complete.

“During a recent meeting, someone said to me, ‘You know you’re fearless, right?” says Bittar, who initially was taken by surprise then humbled by the comment. “One of the things that has helped me in design is that I am slightly fearless, particularly in terms of what I put out there on the editorial end. Obviously, if it needs to sell, I can’t be 100% fearless. Yet, with some of the things that I’m most proud of, the initial reaction was shock. Like ‘Who would ever wear that?’ And I like that, because I can always tell in my gut if a piece is good.”

And the Winner Is…: Actress Dakota Fanning presented Bittar with his 2010 CFDA award

From receiving the coveted title of Accessory Designer of the Year in 2010 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America to collaborating with the likes of Jason Wu and costume designer Patricia Field on Sex and the City, Bittar continually pushes the envelope to stay a step above the rest. “Every time I design a collection at the top, there have to be a few pieces that people look at and say, ‘Oh, my God.'”

Stately Style: First Lady Michelle Obama makes a bold statement in the ‘Elements‘ collection—and also donned Bittar on Election Night in 2012 as well as for the State of the Union address in February

What’s Bittar’s most memorable custom design partnership? “As far as brands go, I’d say Burberry. It was so powerful being that it was my first collaboration,” he says. “As far as celebrities go, it’s a tough call, but I’d say First Lady Michelle Obama. She was paramount in helping change the image of what America was capable of, in terms of change. And being connected to that even in a small way has been very impactful.”

Jewels to Covet & Collect: Alexis Bittar ‘Elements – Cordova’ Large Cuff, ‘Elements – Cordova’ Stone Ring, ‘Miss Havisham – Liquid Gold’ Orbiting Drop Earrings & ‘Miss Havisham – Liquid Gold’ Long Pendant Necklace

This summer, Bittar takes wearable art to a new level with his latest offering of his ‘Elements Cordova‘ and ‘Miss Havisham‘ collections. “Cordova is kind of a combination of American Indian/1930s influence, and I like the idea that the two are coupled,” says the designer, whose sketches start from a imaginative place rather than a need base. “’Miss Havisham’ features matte soft white enamel and gold that looks like liquid is dripping onto it. It’s very sculptural and modern.”

Where will Bittar escape to rejuvenate his creative mind during this sunny season? “I’m going to Istanbul if civil war doesn’t break out in Turkey, and my back up plan is Botswana. I love going to Africa,” he says.

If one of these exotic destinations inspires Bittar’s next collection, the one thing we’re sure of is that he’ll be creating the jewelry he wants fearlessly and with a conviction for style.

Qianna Smith
Images Courtesy of Alexis Bittar

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Making a Style Statement with Kendra Scott

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For over a decade, Kendra Scott has been crafting jewelry that helps women harness their power of self-expression. The Austin, Texasbased designer has developed a timelessly vibrant collection of precious and semi-precious gemstones that fuse wearability with affordability.

Gone are the days of donning statement jewelry only for special occasions. Kendra’s exquisite pieces are designed to be multifunctional, so you can transition your look with ease for every occasion. The Thread phoned the accessories guru and asked her to share a few stylish pointers on how to maximize your summer style with a few bright and bold baubles.

“I really strive to make pieces that can go from the soccer field to the boardroom to a gala, because I believe that the right accessory can do just that,” says the busy mom-trepreneur. “You can easily wear a fabulous pair of chandelier earrings or an incredible statement necklace with jeans, a T-shirt and a cute blazer at work, then amp the look up for evening by throwing on a little black dress with fun bangles and a cocktail ring.”

Kendra (pictured above at her office) incorporates her accessories philosophy into her own everyday personal style, choosing to always wear just one standout piece. “Coco Chanel had a great saying about accessories: ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.’ I always think about that when I’m getting dressed,” says Kendra, who believes that piling on too many pieces can dilute the power of the statement piece.

With so many jewelry options, how does a girl edit cleverly? Kendra advises a less-is-more approach. “If I’m wearing a big statement necklace, I’d wear small stud earrings and maybe just a simple ring. When I’m wearing huge chandelier earrings, I’m probably not going to wear a necklace. Instead, I might wear an awesome cuff, because those are far enough apart that they are not going to distract from one another.”

Styled: British model Jourdan Dunn shows how layering stones and beads can give a simple tank a little earthy texture that’s effortlessly chic.

Get the look: Kendra Scott ‘Elle’ Small Oval EarringsKendra Scott ‘Rayne’ Stone Tassel Pendant Necklace in Turquoise

When it comes to being well put together, it’s clear that accessories have the power to revive—and revolutionize—any outfit, and Kendra agrees. “First off, jewelry doesn’t have a size, which is a beautiful thing when you’re a woman. Jewelry always fits, so even if you’re having one of those days when the scale is not tipping in the direction you would like it to, you can put on a beautiful piece of jewelry, and the way you’ll feel—as well as your outfit—comes alive.”

Kendra tells The Thread that you should think of jewelry as just one aspect of the accessorizing process. “A simple navy blue dress is just that: a simple dress. But add a hot pink or turquoise earring, and all of a sudden, that outfit has come to whole different place. I really believe that your accessories (shoes, handbag, belts, hats)—and not just your jewelry—can add that extra oomph to take an average outfit and make it extraordinary.”

The Beauty of Bali: Kendra Scott ‘Elle – Small’ Earrings,‘Carla’ Oval Stone Earrings in Abalone Shell, ‘Valora’ Filigree Bib Necklace in Turquoise Magnesite, ‘Isha’ Mixed Stone Rings in Fiji (set of 3), ‘Maritza’ Ring in Ivory Mother of Pearl, ‘Island Escapade – Nalin’ Collar Necklace in Bali

Last year, Kendra took a trip to the Indonesian island of Bali and fell in love with the tropical landscapes, the people and the vibrant local textiles. Her getaway provided the inspiration she needed to create the summer 2013 collection dubbed Island Escape. “This collection, you’re going to see a lot of use of shells—abalone, brown mother of pearl—and intricate filigree detail. We even used Balinese wood in some of the pieces,” says the jeweler, who wanted this line to reflect the beautiful architecture and hand-carved wood moldings seen in the temples and archways of the island.

Casual and cool: model Amanda Norgaard stacks a few pieces around her neck and wrist to make this T-shirt-and-jeans look into something both comfortable and classic.

Get the Look: Kendra Scott ‘Elise’ Pendant Necklace in Turquoise Magnesite

The designer made her mark in the industry by referencing fashion trends and adding a timeless factor. “My grandmother celebrated her 101st birthday this year, and when I started out, a lot of my inspiration came from the great jewelry she collected from the ’20s to the ’70s. Many of her pieces are relevant today, so I sort of took that timeless quality to develop my own collection.”

Discover the classic versatility of the Kendra Scott collection.

Qianna Smith
Photos by David Heiser, Kelly Rucker & Whitney Radley

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Interviews

Tales of the Jungle: KENZO Then & Now

When it comes to the jungle of fashion, some may say that KENZO is king. Jungle prints have been at the core of the brand since Kenzo Takada opened his first boutique in Paris in 1970. The walls of the shop were famously decorated in jungle prints, inspiring Takada to call the store his ‘Jungle Jap.’

Fast-forward 43 years, and KENZO’s tale of the jungle continues with the adventures of creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, who traveled to the tropical landscapes of Thailand to find inspiration for spring/summer 2013. During their journey through Koh Yao Noi and Khao Sok, the Opening Ceremony founders discovered the clouded leopard and, in turn, the print story for the collection.

As The Thread gears up for summer getaways and of course the fashions that make this time of year so fun, we asked the jet-setting design duo to discuss the importance of travel, the beauty of cloudlike spots and seeing the world through the lens of KENZO.

Destination Thailand: Khao Sok is inhabited by rare wildlife such as elephants, leopards and Malayan sun bears.

The Thread: This season you took us to the jungles of Asia, and then for fall/winter 2013 you found inspiration in the ancient temples of China, India and Nepal. Do you feel your collections represent the multicultural future of fashion?

Humberto Leon: We do so much traveling throughout the year that our inspirations come from every corner of the globe. We constantly keep our eyes open when we’re in a different city, from going to exhibitions to looking at what the kids on the street are wearing.

Both Carol and I have multiple facets to our heritage, Carol as a Korean American and myself having a Chinese mother and a Peruvian father. With the evolution of technology and social networks online, borders have—much like in music or television—been broken when it comes to fashion. We have young fans of fashion in Russia as well as Brazil, Thailand and Iceland. Even though all of these places are hundreds and thousands of miles apart, what remains the same in each of these countries is the fact that every person who walks into a store wants to know that they can afford something that has been well produced, has value for their money and is beautifully designed. If that’s what the multicultural future of fashion means, then we’re happy to be a part of it.

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The Thread: Your SS13 collection paid tribute to the clouded leopard. Tell us about your first discovery of this endangered animal, and what in particular drew you to this rare creature?

Carol Lim: At the beginning of 2012, Humberto and I decided to take a trip to the East Asian jungle. We’ve always been intrigued with this part of the world, and when we joined KENZO we discovered that Thailand was one of the places that Kenzo Takada had visited while on his legendary boat trip from Tokyo to Paris. So, we felt it was appropriate for us to visit this special and mysterious place. It ended up being one of the most amazing trips we had ever taken. We discovered the clouded leopard during our many treks into the jungle. It was such a beautiful animal that we immediately thought a print inspired by its coat would be great for the collection.

Purrfect: Backstage at the SS13 show during Paris Fashion Week, the surreal hues of camouflage clouded-leopard print popped with perfection.

Psychedelic Forest Print: KENZO Orchid Print Crepe Top & KENZO Forest Print Poplin Bermuda Shorts

The Thread: From the camouflage clouded-leopard print to the psychedelic forest print to the leaf print, take us through your creative process and how you manage the role of both fashion designer and print designer?

Humberto Leon: We usually start by having a conversation about where we see the collection going, the themes, what we really see happening with the garments. Then we usually get started with the research and discussion of fabrics, etc. Working at KENZO, a company so famed for its prints, it’s really not that difficult. They’re such automatic complementary roles that at a certain moment everything merges.

Tiger Tales: The leaf prints reveal a camouflaged tiger. KENZO Forest Print Sweater

The Thread: Beyoncé recently donned the clouded-leopard print to kick off the French leg of her ‘Mrs. Carter Show’ world tour. What went into creating this custom romper? Does a look like this represent the ‘energetic, fun and high-spirited’ vibe you want to inject back into the KENZO brand?

Humberto Leon: When Beyoncé asked us to propose costumes for her tour, we immediately envisioned different looks featuring all of our key KENZO prints such as the clouded leopard, flying tiger and psychedelic rainforest. Beyoncé is a strong force, and we wanted to be able to highlight her energy with our prints. The use of such vivid, vibrant, fun colors and motifs for her custom silhouettes, in our mind reinforces the already abundant brightness she exudes to all who watch her enthralling, and most importantly, energetic performances.

Her costumes for us represent the fun and energy that used to exist at KENZO at the time of its founder, Kenzo Takada, a time and atmosphere we want to bring back and highlight. When we saw Beyoncé wearing the outfits on stage, we knew we had made the right decision to collaborate on such an exciting project.

Fierce Fashions: KENZO Leopard Jacquard Sweater Dress

Qianna Smith

Runway photos courtesy of KENZO
Portrait by Sebastian Kim

Travel the KENZO way this summer and discover the wonder and allure of Thailand.

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Interviews

A McQueen Moment with Marie Claire’s Kyle Anderson

Arguably the epitome of British sartorial ingenuity, Alexander McQueen has just launched on Nordstrom.com for pre-fall 2013, with a highly covetable assortment of precision-cut jackets, structured separates and fitted dresses. So what better way to celebrate this exciting new designer addition than with expert style advice on how to curate a wardrobe of investment pieces?

The Thread tapped Kyle Anderson, accessories director for Marie Claire, to shed some light on why women need timeless, well-crafted designs—and in the process, he showed us how to personalize a few of his must-have looks from the collection.

Wear To Stand Out: Alexander McQueen Lace Metal Bracelet & Alexander McQueen ‘God Save McQueen’ Ring

THE THREAD: Why do accessories matter, and how can accessories add individuality to a look?
KYLE ANDERSON: Accessories are the most important way to personalize your look and make it your own. It’s all about the high/low mix. I recommend that everyone invest in covetable classic pieces that you can wear forever, like watches, classic fine jewelry, a pointy-toe pump like a Manolo, the classic top handle day bag, a chain bag and an metallic evening clutch. Then mix in personal finds and trendier items to put your own unique stamp on it. You could throw on a cool bracelet you bought on vacation, along with cost-friendly costume jewelry and trendy shoes for a thrill.

If it’s colorful, funky and trendy, don’t spend a lot on it. I suggest that you invest that money in the key ticket items that you wear every day. To me, nothing says personal style like mixing a handmade bracelet with something like a Rolex, or wearing a classic designer bag with trendy flat sandals in the summer. You always want to mix something really classic and chic with something funky and unexpected that makes you feel confident—makes you feel like you are really you.

Fashion’s Finest: Nina Garcia, Marie Claire’s creative director, and Kyle at Paris Fashion Week in March. (Photo by Style by Deni.)

THE THREAD: When you’re at a runway show or at a market appointment, what quality does a look or an accessory need in order to get you excited?
KYLE: I’ve been an accessories editor for eight years, which is a long time, so I’ve seen a lot. What gets me excited is seeing something I haven’t seen before. I like it when designers take risks. I like glamour and things that make me scream, “I want this!”—then I know others will want it too. It’s just a feeling. I get goose bumps and then text photos to Nina [Garcia] and say, “OMG, look at this amazing bag!” I love it when people think outside of the box. We see so much that it takes a lot to stand out.

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THE THREAD: Tell us about the first McQueen show you ever attended. What makes a McQueen show so special?
KYLE: My first McQueen show was just last year, for the spring/summer 2013 collection. McQueen is such a cutting-edge brand that takes risks and does unexpectedly mind-blowing shows.

Flowers and bees inspired the collection; there was huge screen of buzzing bees for the backdrop. I loved it, and I loved the accessories. We shot their runway Lucite shoe for a full page in our April issue. I adored the floral with the tough shoes, because that’s what McQueen does really well—the mix of pretty and hard. McQueen is known for having the most standout statement shoes every season; the shoes become collector’s items, and people who wear them make a statement that they are confident and know who they are—or who they want to become. Women who own their look and who are never forgotten wear McQueen.

THE THREAD: Any standout looks from McQueen’s FW13 collection that made you say, “I absolutely need to style/shoot that”?
KYLE: For FW13, I liked the pearl accents; they were very punk. The looks were medieval and pearl-encrusted, but there was something bondage and punk about it—the perfect editorial combination.

THE THREAD: What do you appreciate most about Sarah Burton’s aesthetic/creativity?
KYLE: I think Sarah gave McQueen a much softer, more feminine look. Since Sarah took over design, it’s had a bit more wearability and overall femininity, and that’s been a buzz in the industry. I think Sarah identifies well with female consumers.

KYLE’S GUIDE ON COOL

For the Love of Leather: Alexander McQueen Oversized Collar Leather Jacket & Alexander Wang Jade Sandal

The Look (pictured above): “I like this oversized-collar leather jacket because I’m obsessed with black leather,” says Kyle. “Whether it’s the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s or current trends, people always are looking for the perfect black leather jacket. I think this one is feminine and cool.”

How to Wear It: “I’d wear this jacket in the spring with a tank underneath, skinny black jeans and sandals—think a fall-meets-winter look. Why not pair it with these red Alexander Wang sandals? The look doesn’t have to be biker head to toe. These platforms still have a hard-edge look, and I think all black with a red summer sandal would look cool.”

Instant Classic: Alexander McQueen Flounce Leaf Crepe Dress & Saint Laurent ‘Janis’ Bootie

The Look: “This little black dress is super-versatile. It’s great for everyday wear and especially for work. You’ll get the mileage out of this dress, and it’s a great buy because of the sleeves,” adds Kyle. “Most offices are freezing in the summer.”

How to Wear It: “I like the flirty shape of the skirt on this dress and the more structured fitted sleeves. You can dress it down, add some edge or keep it classic. Make this look your own with these Saint Laurent booties. The combination is a little sexy: rock-‘n’-roll-meets-daytime professional. It’s about mixing it up!”

Discover the masterfully crafted world of McQueen.

Check out Kyle’s blog for more drool-worthy accessories and daily snapshots of his often-photographed style.

Qianna Smith

Runway images courtesy of McQueen

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Interviews

From Mom, with Love: Lessons of a Full Life

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…

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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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Charlotte Olympia Unveils the Cosmic Collection

During Paris Fashion Week in March, The Thread ventured to the 8th arrondissement, near Place Charles de Gaulle, to check out the pop-up showroom of London-based shoe brand Charlotte Olympia.

We were on a mission: to slip into shoes from the Cosmic Collection of designer Charlotte Dellal (pictured above). Handcrafted in Italy, this capsule line of suede flats celebrates the 12 star signs and features hand-painted Zodiac symbols embellished with Swarovski crystals.

The stars must have been aligned that day, because not only did we get to try on the collection, we gained an understanding of what a pair of shoes can reveal about a person! Each style comes with a one-of-a-kind horoscope book, so whether you’re a curious Aquarius or a larger-than-life Leo, there’s no guessing as to what puts pep in your step.

Go behind the seams of the Cosmic Collection, as Charlotte shares some insight on her journey through the Zodiac.

THE THREAD: When conceptualizing this collection, what interesting discoveries did you make about the 12 signs of the Zodiac and how they relate to shoes?

CHARLOTTE DELLAL: The Cosmic Collection is something I have toyed with for a long time. As with most of my collections, the Zodiac is a topic that easily adapts to a large dose of novelty and fun while still being quite classic. I decided to focus on individual jewel-like accessories, including details such as choosing the color of a shoe depending on the element of the star sign.

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Four Elements: The color palette takes inspiration from earth, air, fire and water.

THE THREAD: Why do you think people enjoy following horoscopes and astrology?

CHARLOTTE: I think people are generally interested in all things mystical. Personally, I don’t live by astrology, but I am open to certain elements and enjoy recognizing my star sign’s traits in myself. I do love to know other people’s star signs too—I am quite good at guessing!

THE THREAD: Tell us about the creative process of making your horoscope accessories book. Did you learn something new about your own shoe style?

CHARLOTTE: I learned a lot about the different characteristics of each sign. In terms of my own sign, Geminis are apparently youthful and witty, which is something I try to apply to my work. I enjoy a good giggle! I do relate to the nervousness and indecisiveness: I am often in two minds about something!

THE THREAD: You once said you “don’t really think in flats.” What was the turning point that made you realize a woman’s closet needs flats too?

CHARLOTTE: I’ve always worn heels and flats but mostly heels! As my motto goes: “The higher the heel, the better you feel!” Flats can be feminine and fun–two adjectives that define the very essence of Charlotte Olympia. For example, the ‘Kitty’ is a classic and it is featured in the Encore Collection. It is one of our bestsellers and is the perfect run-around shoe. Plus, what kind of female designer would I be if I only designed heels?!

What do your shoes say about you? Find the answers with the Cosmic Collection.

Qianna Smith
Photos by Ford Leland

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Behind the Seams: Wildfox’s Kimberley Gordon

For Wildfox‘s latest lookbook, Kimberley Gordon transformed Dutch model Valerie Van Der Graaf into a modern-day pinup girl, reviving nostalgia for classic Americana. We phoned the Los Angeles-based designer to chat about this very playful spring/summer ’13 collection, and she in turn created a few sketches (exclusive to The Thread) that reveal her creative process.

A Woman of Many Talents: Gordon wears many hats—designer, photographer and graphic artist—and is also a noted fashion illustrator.

A self-described pop-culture junkie, the British-born beauty is the creative force behind the vintage-inspired knitwear brand Wildfox. Since launching in 2007, the brand’s girl-power-promoting tee shirt designs have become a Hollywood standard for cool. Celebrity fans include Beyoncé, Katie Perry, Jennifer Lopez and Taylor Swift, which should give you an idea of what the Wildfox girl represents—it’s empowerment.

Wildly Foxy: The Wildfox girl is “unattainable and beautiful” just like a quintessential pinup girl.

This season Gordon was seduced by the allure and innocence of this pop icon that is reinvented every decade.

“The whole era of 1950s rockabilly is so interesting to me, and it’s very American. I love Grease, oldies and I collect all the cheesecake pinup books by Olivia De Berardinis. It just kind of made sense to do a pinup girl collection that captured an Americana feeling and remembered a wartime sex symbol,” she says on how the line was conceptualized.

Gordon certainly is a master in the art of visual storytelling. And although she’s not a formally trained designer, taking on the role was a natural manifestation of her many creative talents.

“I never really set out to be a designer. I moved to LA because of my love for movies,” she explains. “My background is in film and cinematography. As I was carving out my career here, I realized that design encompasses all of the things that I’m passionate about, such as film, photography, casting, beauty and styling. I’ve always done illustration and graphic design, so it all just fell together—that’s why you see a lot of storytelling in the collections.”

Cherry Bomb: Wildfox ‘Joan’ Cherry Print Top

From childhood, she has been obsessed with American pop culture. Teen idols like Britney Spears, Mandy Moore and the Backstreet Boys were catalysts for her interest in the world of calculated fantasy.

“I wasn’t fascinated by the idol itself, but by the team of people working together to create their iconic image. There’s really a formula to it all because pop stars aren’t born, they’re made and supported by a team, a lot like the production of fashion.”

Truth or Dare: Wildfox ‘Hippie’ Crewneck Tee

When it came to the production of the collection’s lookbook and campaign, Gordon knew she had to photograph London-based model Valerie Van Der Graaf. “It’s so hard to find a model with curves, and Valerie is such a rare girl,” she says. “She’s busty, beautiful and has this intoxicating energy, which are all things a pinup girl should represent.”

Oh là là: Wildfox ‘Falling In Love’ Tee

What present-day starlets would make for an ideal Wildfox pinup girl? “Scarlett Johansson, Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried and of course Dita Von Teese,” adds the designer, who aspires to express the collection from an LA girl’s point of view.

Say What?!: Wildfox ‘Cry Baby’ Top & Wildfox ‘Double Dare’ Halter Top

This spring, keep the boys guessing with your own pinned-to-perfection Wildfox style.

–Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Wildfox

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The Goddess Guide: A Day in the Life of Melinda Maria

Inspired by her own glamorously graceful life, jewelry designer Melinda Maria has created a collection of pendant necklaces that represent the greatest qualities inside every woman: love, peace, power, prosperity and sisterhood.

Melinda Maria Goddess Cluster Pendant Necklace, pictured L to R: Love, Peace, Power, Prosperity, Sisterhood

Exclusive to Nordstrom, The Goddess Collection transforms accessories into a personal experience, where you can choose who you want to be. Each 14k gold-plated necklace is set with a one-of-a-kind charm, a stone and a symbol, each of which aims to entice the most stylish woman to unlock and ignite her inner goddess.

The Los Angeles-based jeweler gives us an inside look at her life and shares how she strives to live like a goddess every day, while also shedding light on what each symbol means to her.

The Look of Love: Pictured at the Bel Air home she shares with husband Art Spigel and their two sons Levi Lucky (left), 2, and Max Magic, 3, who seem to have inherited their mother’s green thumb.

THE THREAD: Why is it important for women to tap into their inner goddesses, and how do you hope this collection enables them to?

MELINDA MARIA: I have always loved how jewelry can be inherently sentimental. I wanted to create a charm collection that is truly unique and creates a sense of empowerment to women. Women tend to forget about the qualities they embody to help them flow through life with ease, especially in times of stress or when things get tough. The Goddesses are beautiful pieces of jewelry that I hope can also serve as a reminder around your neck to always remember the inner goddess powers you have within you.

The Look of Peace: Melinda Maria keeps fit and zen by doing yoga in the morning before heading to her studio. For this Spokane, Washington, native, peace is about finding the “inner strength to stay calm and act with grace,” especially when faced with conflict.

The Look of Power: For this designer, a woman is powerful when she is “fearless and confident.”

Tell us about the making of the collection. How does it differ from others?

MELINDA MARIA: This is the first time I’ve introduced charms to the Melinda Maria collection. It was fun to brainstorm ideas to help create a cohesive representation of each goddess and then see them come to life as I played around with different combinations of charms. I feel like this was a very personal collection for me, and one that is so representative of all the special women in my life. Generally with design, we’re able to think about different pieces working for different people with different styles. I wanted every Goddess to work for every woman!

The Look of Prosperity: Chase after your dreams and, like Melinda Maria says, “Go for your gold.”

This collection is very empowering. What’s your secret to living a happier, more powerful and more enlightened life?

MELINDA MARIA: There really is no secret. However, I’ve found that the minute you stop judging others, you are able to release the judgment of yourself. For me, personally, it’s about being OK with all my faults, being able to accept failure and being comfortable in my own skin, so that nobody can bring me down. Of course, we all have shortcomings, but choosing to accept them as part of what makes me myself has always helped make me feel empowered.

The Look of Sisterhood: A girls’ night out is a must. Here, Melinda Maria shares a laugh with a friend at SLS Hotels’ The Bazaar in Beverly Hills.

Any heroines who have helped you cultivate the goddess you are today?

MELINDA MARIA: My mother, sisters, nieces, aunts and best friends. They have all played a role in who I am today and the way I am as a mother, friend, sister, aunt and niece myself. I have such incredible and diverse women in my life, who I constantly learn from and are inspired by daily.

Be inspired to write your own goddess guide and celebrate your feminine strength with this handcrafted collection of pendants.

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Melinda Maria

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Interviews

A Closer Look into the World of Kelly Wearstler

Let’s just call Kelly Wearstler the can-do superwoman of design. From home to jewelry to ready-to-wear fashions, this West Hollywood-based curator of style has been blazing creative trails for over 17 years. Wearstler’s unique point of view as an interior designer was her first claim to fame. She has poshed up some of the world’s most renowned hotels and residences—the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Viceroy resorts as well as various private homes in the Trousdale Estates—while also finding time to pen four books that explore her design inspirations.

Unafraid to take risks, Wearstler has built a lifestyle brand for the “charismatic, cultured, and curious”—all qualities the designer certainly possesses herself. Intrigued? Join the Thread as we dive a little deeper into the world of Wearstler.

Downtown Chic: Kelly Wearstler ‘Cyclone’ Foil Print Tank, ‘Hydra’ Crop Jacket and ‘Practitioner’ Denim Pants

THE THREAD: Describe your design point of view. What commonalities do you think your area of designs—fashion, jewelry, textiles, tableware and interiors—share?

KELLY WEARSTLER: My voice as a designer also presents itself in the way I dress—taking risks, breaking the rules, mixing old and new. I have a strong love of color, texture and patterns. I have always been inspired by fashion in my interiors, and now my interiors are inspiring my fashion and jewelry collections.

Pattern Perfection: Kelly Wearstler ‘Arachine’ Silk Dress

As the weather heats up, what spring trends are on your radar? Which looks should women be getting excited for this season?

KELLY: This season, I’m loving stripes and layering lots of jewelry—as well as my cool biker jacket in amazing rich colors and textures.

How does your personal style complement your design philosophy?

KELLY: I love when design elements have a bit of tension in style, material and texture but create one beautiful, harmonious vibe. In my ready-to-wear collection, I love to mix different fabrics together, such as leather and cashmere or leather and denim.

Mini Made: Kelly Wearstler ‘Spirula’ Stretch Cotton Dress

Tell us, are you planning any fun summer escapes? What would be on your packing list?

KELLY: I’m heading to Sun Valley, Idaho, with my husband and our two boys. My packing list always includes SkinCeuticals sunscreen, my Canon G12 camera, a parasol, one of my easy super-cool dresses, my printed Kelly Wearstler scarves and tees, Thierry Lasry sunglasses, Melissa Odabash bikinis and a sketch pad and pencil.

Mod Brit: Kelly Wearstler ‘Artifice’ Tank and ‘Aristocrat’ Print Skirt

Can you share the best fashion advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

KELLY: The best advice I’ve ever received was from my mom: to “take risks and love what you do.”

Qianna Smith

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