A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon at Neiman Marcus in honor of Rachel Roy. Lately, Rachel has been in Atlanta fairly often as she is both a SCAD Style Lab mentor, advising many of SCAD's talented fashion students, as well the Honorary Chairperson of the upcoming SCAD Seen Gala. I had the opportunity to speak with Rachel one-on-one before the event, and she is truly so kind, down to earth, and gracious. (Don't we all know that those qualities are refreshing and becoming increasingly rare!) It's impossible to be jealous of her success and her beauty because she is so nice.
One of the great mysteries to those of us not in the fashion business is how so many designers seem to present collections that all feature the same or similar trends, colors, lines, and lengths. It's as if designers are all magically on the same wave-length or something. Well, it's actually not magic. What Rachel told me was that most designers- including herself- attend the fabric shows in Paris, and it's there where designers see the latest fabrics, trends, and the colors of the moment. I suppose that they absorb what they see at the shows and then they interpret it in a way that is unique to their individual styles, aesthetics, and points of view. In Rachel's case, she created a Spring 2011 collection that embraced color blocking, but the way that she made the clothes wearable was by also mixing in neutrals. As you can see below, the clothes are very pretty, feminine, and absolutely wearable.
Rachel gave me a few sage words of advice that, although she used them in the context of fashion, I believe can be applied to interior design as well. First, she said that before you even open your mouth, you are telling a story- your story- with the way in which you dress. Do you dress colorfully? Or do you don neutrals? Do you prefer feminine frocks to streamlined suits? What is the story that you are trying to convey with your clothing? And you know, isn't this true of interior design as well?
And secondly, she said that one point she stresses with her SCAD students is that while you should pursue your passion, you need to be smart about it. As an up-and-coming designer, you may have honed your technical skills, but you need to engage the other side of your brain as well. It's a balancing act of art and commerce, and you have to be willing to do both. Again, I think the same applies to interior design. You're only going to get so far if you can't run the business side of things.
Finally, I asked Rachel what pieces should be in every woman's wardrobe. She believes that we should all have a nice trench coat (so classic), a men's style shirt that has been tailored at the waist, and pencil skirts for a touch of femininity. And in case you're wondering how to achieve Rachel's smokey eye, it involves shadow, liner, mascara, and a lot of blending and smoking it out. Actually, that was my very first question I asked her because I couldn't get over how dramatic her eyes looked.
Rachel will be back in Atlanta on May 24 for the SCAD Seen Gala. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit SCAD's Gala website. And of course, to purchase Rachel's Spring collection, visit Neiman Marcus.com.
All photos by Philip Shone Photography.