England’s reigning accessories queen, Anya Hindmarch, is adding a new territory to her empire. In addition to some 50 stores globally, including one uptown on Madison Avenue, on September 3 Hindmarch will officially open a dedicated Bespoke shop on the seventh floor at Bergdorf Goodman. It will be the only place on earth outside of a brick-and-mortar Hindmarch store that you can customize your Tony the Tiger totes and ultra-luxe Ultimate Boxes (more on what those are below). Designed by artist Martino Gamper, the shop will be a soup-to-nuts experience aimed at bringing the customer closer to the process of how the product is made. We hopped on the phone with the Brit bag lady to discuss the fiscal challenges of opening a Bespoke shop, the perfect hostess gift for a drunken weekend in the country, and the meaning of true luxury.
What are the origins of your Bespoke line, and how is it different from your main line?
For me, Bespoke came out of the idea of trying to find a good present. I love giving presents. The main line is about a collection, a season. And Bespoke is about a moment in time in your life as opposed to a season. It’s about personalization.
What does opening Bespoke in Bergdorf Goodman mean for your brand?
It’s really exciting because I love Bergdorf’s, and it’s such an iconic store. The customer of BG is the customer of our Bespoke store. It’s an honor to be amongst the wonderful brands they have, and we also get to collaborate on some new projects and events, so it’s an exciting moment for us.
How does Bespoke in Bergdorf Goodman differ from Bespoke in your Madison Avenue store?
We’re working with Martino Gamper, a very amazing designer, to design the space for us. He just had a big exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London, and he took a lot of old-fashioned things and messed them up and made them modern and artful. He worked on this table where we took elements of the design from old dining room tables and put them all together. It should be quite fun.
Who is the Anya Hindmarch Bespoke customer? Why are they buying it?
I hope it’s everyone to an extent! But perhaps she’s a bit jaded by designer initials—perhaps they want something more. Luxury, for me, is very much something that has a story attached to it. My husband has a trunk that was his grandfather’s and it was particularly wide because he had wide feet. Things like that, things that have a story. And a lot of times luxury is about status. My Bespoke customer doesn’t want status, they want the story. Maybe it’s a funny little joke. But it’s something that seals that moment in time and seals that story on when it gets passed down. It’s about a particular moment, but it’s not of the moment, if that makes sense.
I’ve learned that Bespoke began in your London stores because it was a service you just loved offering. There was no business plan. But I would assume that to open up in a store like Bergdorf Goodman, one needs a business plan.
It’s a very complicated thing. It still comes from the heart, and it was something I felt I really wanted. It still absolutely comes from the heart as opposed to a point of view about commerce. Obviously, now opening at Bergdorf’s, I wanted it to be very special, but we did have to gear up because there is a lot of complexity. Everything is unique, everything is one of a kind. For instance, we will keep the craftsman in the store because I wanted to connect the customer to the craftsman, because customers today are so distant from how things are made. We had to really absorb everything into our business. The design is still done with me and my design team. And we had to make sure the product fits alongside our main collection as well. For instance, the last collection we did was all about supermarket foods and Tony the Tiger. And we had to make sure the Bespoke offerings are in line with the main collection as well as in terms of colors and texture and look. It still ties in. We’ve had to structure Bespoke properly, and it’s now much more thought through than when we started, but it absolutely still comes from the heart.
Bespoke comes from your love of gifting. What have been some of your favorite bespoke gifts you have given?
Many! It’s so fun to make things that have little references to things that happened. For example, we are making these “Ultimate Boxes”—they have all these little drawers and the whole thing is covered in leather, it’s really quite lovely. And on the inside of every drawer and on the lid, we can print photographs onto the satin linings of the drawers. I once made a thank-you present for someone who had let me stay at their house for a weekend, and I printed on the top the name of the house and a reference to the weekend. I called it “Hibiscus House Hangover Box.” It was a bit of a drunken holiday, and each image in the drawers was something funny that happened, either someone cracking into a bottle of wine or someone sleeping half-naked in the shower. Poppy Delevingne was proposed to with one of those boxes, as well—each drawer had a different memory printed in it and on the inside was written, “Will you marry me?”
And the Bespoke range also includes options for men as well?
Yes, absolutely. Especially with wallets. Ask a man what features he likes in his ideal wallet and everyone will give you a different answer. So we will work with you, draw it up, and then build the perfect wallet. And we actually store those drawings, so if in five years he wants to come back and make up another one, it’s there, it’s just for you, and you can.
What is true luxury for you?
True luxury is about stories. For me, it’s not about showing wealth. Most people are quite private about how they show who they are—for me it’s about feeling a moment. Luxury is time and memories.
The next best thing to meeting your favorite model, editor, or musician? Stepping inside their closet with The Coveteur, of course. The mega-blog has long been a source of inspiration (where else can you find shopping tips and career advice all in the same place?), and today the site features Style.com’s own editor in chief, Dirk Standen. To get a glimpse at his sharp wardrobe (which includes everything from Ralph Lauren coats to soccer cleats), learn about the behind-the-scenes goings-on at Style.com, and find out why you’ll never see him in a tie, click here.
Gareth Pugh, you’ve probably heard by now, is bringing his show from Paris to New York this week. The London-based designer has partnered with Lexus, and as the company’s hashtag #designdisrupted implies, the presentation promises to be out of the ordinary. With several hundred shows and presentations on the schedule, NYFW does need an intervention, but if it’s too soon to say whether or not Pugh will shake up the fashion show system as we know it, the evening should be diverting. In recent seasons, the designer has pulled inspiration everywhere, from Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard to plastic garbage bags. Billed as a multimedia event, the Thursday night showings (at 9 and 10:30 p.m.) will feature large-scale films and live performance pieces choreographed by Wayne McGregor from London’s Royal Ballet. “Rites, rituals, and British folk tradition are key this season,” Pugh says. Here, Style.com brings you an exclusive first look at the collection.
With a styling studio that dresses the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Sofía Vergara, and Kiernan Shipka, Rachel Zoe keeps quite busy. But it’s her new Collective collaboration series for The Zoe Report that’s been the multi-hyphenate’s ultimate passion project. Zoe has announced that Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, designers whose strong point of view she favors, is the second brand to be featured in the series (it launched with Jennifer Meyer). To celebrate, Rodarte is releasing a capsule of limited-edition designs, available exclusively on The Zoe Report beginning today. “The Zoe Report readers are fashion obsessed and very eager to have a piece of glamour and to have a piece of the fashion world,” Zoe told Style.com. The Rodarte for the Zoe Report exclusive capsule includes delicate Swarovski crystal butterfly jewelry, a motif that draws on the Mulleavy sisters’ childhood home near a famous monarch butterfly migration spot. Also on offer are Rodarte’s staple T-shirts and sweatshirts updated with metallic accents. The designers’ affinity for athleisure-wear comes from their L.A. roots, and Zoe believes the trend has legs. “I mean, Karl Lagerfeld just put sneakers on the runway of his couture show,” Zoe said. “I think that just broke down walls we never thought could be broken.”
For Kate and Laura, the chance to collaborate with Zoe was the culmination of a years-long friendship. “We are all working in Los Angeles, and so it’s really hard for us to remember a time, at this point, when we haven’t known Rachel,” the Mulleavys said. And with their Spring ’15 show just days away, this special project gave them a chance to think beyond the runway. “We love the idea of great design,” they continued. “Design can be a specialized couture item, but it can also be powerful with something as simple and wearable as a T-shirt.” The meeting of these L.A. minds has created a unique offering for fans—and a metallic moment for fall.
Rodarte for The Zoe Report will be available for a limited time at Shop.TheZoeReport.com beginning September 2. Prices range from $113 to $299.
“Classy,” “elegant,” and “intelligent” are a few of the words Kerry Washington uses to describe Movado, the luxury watch brand for which she’s served as an ambassador for nearly 10 years. But those adjectives also apply to Washington herself and her TV alter ego, Olivia Pope. The actress, who’s been working with Movado since 2005—seven years before she landed her breakthrough role as Pope on the hit show Scandal—is a rarity in Hollywood. Aside from portraying an entirely new female archetype on television—one who doesn’t sacrifice her femininity and vulnerability for strength, respect, and success—Washington is equally inspiring off camera, working with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and The Creative Coalition to promote arts in the States.
When it comes to the art of fashion, Washington has become known for facing the red carpet with as much fearlessness as Olivia Pope faces Capitol Hill—and with a much larger color palette. She’s often breaking up the parade of predictable gowns with bold, unexpected hues and cuts. Take, for instance, her sequin-piped orange Prada dress at last month’s Emmys or her pregnant-belly-baring two-piece look by the house at this year’s SAG Awards. Now, with Movado’s latest campaign for fall, Washington has taken her fashion sense to a new level, collaborating on the overall look and feel of the ads with help from Mario Testino’s former assistant, photographer Alexi Lubomirski, stylist Erin Walsh, hairstylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, and makeup artist Carola Gonzalez. Ahead of the campaign’s October debut, we caught up with Washington to talk about her new role as ad stylist, reinventing the power suit for Olivia Pope, and that two-piece Prada moment.
You’ve been a brand ambassador for Movado for almost 10 years. How has the relationship with the brand changed over the years?
I always thought of the brand as really classy and elegant, so I was really excited about the opportunity to work with them. It’s been an amazing almost-decade. It’s a brand that represents quality and elegance and intelligence, and I’m so grateful to be associated with the brand and their core qualities.
Did it feel like a natural transition to start styling this time around?
I wouldn’t take credit for that. We kind of all did it together. When I’m getting ready for red-carpet stuff, it’s a real collaborative art. I think it’s the same when it comes to editorial and campaigns. You want to work with people who are really talented, so everyone comes together and you come up with something great.
How does the styling on this campaign reflect your personal aesthetic?
Well, we did different looks. For some of what we did, we went with a more casual aesthetic, like really clean and crisp, a lot of whites and neutrals—jeans and T-shirts but with a little more edge, a little more of my everyday personality.
As an actress, do you feel like you can bring something to an ad campaign that a model can’t?
I think everybody brings something different to the table. But I think anybody who is invested in the process understands that you’re telling a story about a product and a brand through images and aesthetics—clothes, hair, makeup, lighting, and color, all of things that come into play when you’re working in theater or in television.
Obviously you’re a natural in front of the camera for TV and film. When you started working in print ads, did it feel like a comfortable transition?
I’ve had a big learning curve. I come from the theater and that’s how I was trained, and even that’s not natural. I wouldn’t call myself a natural. I studied too much to be a natural—I wish I were a natural.
Well, you make it look like you’re a natural.
That’s good. I’ve been really lucky to work with awesome photographers, photo editors, and amazing stylists, so all those things helped me learn along the way. But I’m always looking to learn more. That’s part of the fun of what we do—the technology is always changing, the fashion is always changing, our bodies are always changing, so you have to keep evolving.
How do you relate to Olivia Pope’s style?
Lyn Paolo, our brilliant costume designer, and I worked really hard to come up with the Olivia Pope aesthetic because we understood that the character had to be a really powerful woman. We wanted to find a way for her to look strong but also feminine. We worked really hard on the silhouette and the palette to redefine our understanding of what a power suit could look like. In a lot of ways, when people think of a power suit for a woman, it looks a lot of times like dressing for a man. We wanted to reinvent the idea of a power suit for women. It’s been a blast; it is not how I dress at all. I do work for the White House and I work in Washington, and when I’m there, I do not dress like Olivia Pope!
But it was fun for me to bring a lot of my fashion understanding to creating the look with Lyn. One of the first houses to ever lend me clothes for the red carpet was Armani, and I wear a ton of Armani on the show, so that’s been a wonderful full circle. I’ve been able to bring my relationship with a lot of different houses and my knowledge of different collections and designers onto the show. We’re always studying what’s new. Last season I went to the CFDA Awards with Aaron Walsh and Lyn Paolo. Lyn and I met with a lot of designers in New York to make sure we could have access to the newest collections when they’re hitting stores or right before, so we’re kind of ahead of the game on this show.
Olivia has become known for her primarily white color palette. How did that decision come about?
We really wanted Olivia to stand out in the crowd in Washington. There’s kind of a uniform in Washington of black and navy and gray suits, so we thought if we could make her palette light neutrals, creams, light pink, tan, light gray, and white, then it would be clear that she is her own woman and that she works for herself and follows her own rules.
There’s also the metaphor of wearing the white hat. White is the symbol of justice, which Olivia stands for. The palette was also born out of the idea that people come to Olivia on the absolute worst day of their lives, when they’re in a state of panic and crisis and they need her to fix it. So Lyn and I both felt it was important for Olivia to wear calming colors, colors that made people feel calm and open and honest and at peace.
Out of all of the projects you’ve worked on, which character’s wardrobe has been your favorite?
That’s impossible to say! It’s impossible to answer because I care so much about wardrobe when it comes to characters. In everyday life, how we dress expresses so much about who we are and what we’re feeling and what’s going on in our lives, so what a character wears is really important. People walk up to me all the time and say, “I wish I had Olivia Pope’s closet.” I say, “Me too!”
But when I think back to my wardrobe for Save the Last Dance—I had so much fun with that character because she was a young woman who wanted to be a fashion designer. She was a real fashion risk-taker—and a real makeup risk-taker. I always loved my clothes in Ray because I love being able to act in period wardrobe and lose [myself] in a different time through the clothes and shoes and jewelry. So it’s hard to pick a favorite.
Do you have a favorite red-carpet moment?
I have a few. I loved the gown that Jason Wu made for me for the Oscars this past year. Jason is a very dear friend of mine, and we’ve been so supportive of each other through the years. He never had a gown at the Oscars before, so it was special for him and special for me because I was extremely pregnant and it was important for me to be working with someone whom I loved and trusted. And the color of that gown was so great.
The two-piece Prada that you wore to the SAG Awards when you were pregnant definitely made a statement. How did that look come about?
I tried it on and I loved it. I knew that it was going to be outside the box and really special and unique, and I had so much fun wearing it. I felt really excited about my growing belly and I’m still excited about the bright color. I wanted to have fun that night, and that dress looked like so much fun.