7 posts tagged "Ann Taylor"
Ann Taylor isn’t the same old Ann Taylor. In the past three years, creative director Lisa Axelson has worked hard to give the career woman brand a facelift—lor at least the equivalent of a Clarisonic treatment—and the latest collection had definite youth appeal. Axelson mixed florals that were “tougher, more modern—not your garden variety,” as she put it, with leopards, scrolling brocade patterns, and bold stripes. What really stood out were some of the coordinating separates including a cropped, rose-printed pant suit as well as a graphic, color-blocked pencil skirt and a matching top. Worn together, the set looked like a sleek sheath but could smartly be broken up into individual parts. Accessories deserved a shout-out, too. Chunky, crystal-studded chain bracelets interlaced with neon string, perforated leather clutches, and simple ankle-strap sandals in a rainbow of colors added a playful touch to the lineup.
Ann Taylor is bringing in the big guns to front its new Fall campaign, shot by Patrick Demarchelier: Hollywood icon (and, as @mrskutcher, Twitter juggernaut) Demi Moore. “Demi is a true inspiration for modern women today, managing to balance her demanding career and her family life, while doing so much to create positive change and give back,” says Ann Taylor president Christine Beauchamp, though as the actress reveals, she’s been a fan of the label since long before her family-woman days. Style.com sat down with Moore in Los Angeles to talk Taylor, Twitter, and her personal style—on and off the red carpet.
What first attracted you to Ann Taylor?
I had actually mentioned to them that when I was a teenager and I moved to L.A., I remember going to the old Century City mall, and there was Ann Taylor. And it was a very prominent and memorable part of my youth and shopping experience. What I didn’t realize was how long Ann Taylor had actually been around until I was asked to do the campaign.
How do you feel that your own style and persona fit in with the Ann Taylor brand?
What’s been a really great part of the experience is taking what’s here in their next season and pulling things together, just based on pieces that I feel really reflect me—and at the same time, are part of the direction where I feel Ann Taylor is going. I look back at Ann Taylor and for quite a while, they were geared toward the working woman, a lot of suiting, and a little more conservative. I think, as we’ve evolved into things that literally go from working out to work to weekend, from day into night, that there has to be a combination of practicality and a sense of fun. My personal style is all about looking for things that are classic with a little bit of an edge, and so the pieces that I tended to gravitate toward, I think, reflect that. There are some really great pieces: the sweater that had the faux fur, and things where you can really see, you [could] go through your day and be wearing flats, but then throw on a pair of heels and actually make it work for the evening. I think that they’ve really done a really nice job of making a shift for Ann Taylor that I think is contemporary and chic but practical and versatile.
Of course, your evening looks need to be a little more thought-out than that—we’re talking red carpet here. How do you choose those looks?
I always think first, what’s the event, and focus on really finding something I feel is fitting my mood and the phase I’m in at that time. And something that also makes it fun and interesting for me is pushing outside of the comfort zone, but at the same time, not pushing too far. For me, I look at what’s classic, so I see what I appreciate. I look at images from the thirties and I say, “That’s something that I could see today.” In the same way I look at things for myself for every day and the red carpet and I try and give myself a little bit of push, so that I don’t get locked into something where you stop being creative and taking risks. And sometimes taking risks means you miss, you do.
I know you work with stylists for red carpet—most famously, with Rachel Zoe. Would you call your work with them a collaboration? How involved are you?
For me, it wouldn’t work without it being a collaboration. The same stylists can work with different people and you can see that individual’s personality coming through. You after a while get to know your body and things that you feel comfortable in. And what’s great is, when you get an objective point of view with a stylist, they help you see the bigger picture than just what you’re comfortable in and maybe take a few more risks.
You’re constantly being shot by paparazzi and in the public eye. Does that shape the way you dress on a daily basis?
Definitely. You can’t allow it to dictate it, but at the same time you have to be conscientious about where you’re going and if there’s the potential. It only really reflects knowing you’ll be criticized, which doesn’t necessarily feel good. There’s times when I just would like to be able to say, “I just want to throw on whatever and not think about it.” And I think you have to.
What designers are you most excited about right now?
I feel like I have my great loves: I love Lanvin; I always love Dior; at different times, Dolce; moments for Versace. I’m a big fan of Prabal Gurung’s—I think he’s really special, has a really special eye. I’m really excited to see him move more into ready-to-wear. And the craftsmanship is stunning. What I’m really loving, more than just singling out a single designer, because there’s so many that I really appreciate, is seeing that we’re moving into an ability to mix and match, like something that is Topshop, H&M, and put that with a designer piece. There [is] an openness to our ability to be creative and also have it reflect the economic times we’re in…It doesn’t have to cost $1,000 for it to have great fashion and style. I’m a big fan of Victoria Beckham’s, too. We’ve had some great matches with pieces that she’s made.
Speaking of Prabal, you championed him on Twitter before he was as well-known as he is today. What are your thoughts on the influence of Twitter and social media on fashion?
The great thing is to look at someone like Prabal, [and] to see the shift in the way things are moving. Before, the show would take place, and then you’d have to wait for the pictures to come out, and now we’re starting to see that in a lot of ways, the middle man is starting to become less and less dominant in our immediate access to the looks, the ability to purchase. And I think the reach for social media is just making that direct access more immediate. In the same way that an individual is able to communicate and connect on social media, I’m looking at shows now that are going live and people are then able to identify, to click and say, I’d like that.
Last night, Ann Taylor hosted editors and celebrities alike—including Maria Bello, Bridget Moynahan, and Bebel Gilberto, who performed—at a preview of its Fall collection. The office-friendly, working-girl separates that have long been AT staples were in evidence here, like a long sleeveless trench cinched with a double-wrap belt, and the retailer nodded at trends with outerwear like the sporty olive parkas with fur collars. But the real draw for fashion watchers was the accessories table. It’s there that the brand’s designers were most successful at translating top-tier styles into affordable, everyday versions, from the python clutch ($138) to the sculptural silver cuff ($68). The standout was a pair of cheetah-print haircalf “shootie” platform heels (left): at $228, at the upper end of the Ann Taylor range, but reasonable—even for the working girls.
Karlie Kloss is Dior‘s new face, a tidbit John Galliano offered up when he was late for his own party in Paris on Monday night. We guess casting the Spring campaign is as good an excuse as any. [WWD]
At Ann Taylor, Cintra Wilson finds Lanvin‘s first cousin, Balenciaga‘s love child, and a Louis Vuitton castoff. Not bad for under $250. [NYT]
Move over, Audrey. Angelina Jolie is in talks to star in the next big fashion film— Gucci, a big-budget thriller about the murder of Maurizio Gucci. [Variety]
Speaking of Gucci, now they’ve got an iPhone app. Yes, Angie, online shopping can be considered character research. [WWD]
Wait, there’s more: Mark Ronson’s sneakers for (you guessed it) Gucci are actually more like boat shoes. They’ll be in the Crosby Street pop-up on Friday. BYO dock. [Racked]
How to maintain the currency of the show-season cycle when the Internet and high-street stores render runway designs if not irrelevant, then maybe, oh, a bit tired before they hit the sales floors? It’s a question the fashion world has been grappling with of late, and one Ann Taylor is addressing head-on. “The shows are critical to editors and buyers,” said Lisa Axelson, the designer who’s been tapped to revamp the company’s image, “but we have real customers we need to reach in real time.” Her solution: a “see now, wear now” runway collection, where the run-of-show lists retail prices and upcoming availability alongside clothing descriptions. Axelson debuted her Fall/Holiday 2009 Modern Luxury line, a selection of pieces that build on the brand’s 55-year history of outfitting the sophisticated career woman. There were shirtdresses—an iconic Ann Taylor item, stocked in its first 1954 boutique—updated in graphite silk, great elbow- and three-quarter-sleeve toppers (the above bouclé jacket, if you’re curious, is available in December for $195), and slim cropped pants. Don’t look for any bland pantsuits here. As Axelson put it: “The emphasis is on versatile separates. We’re all wearing the same things now, just putting them together in different ways.” Is there anything more modern than that?