Oscar de la Renta's former senior buyer of textiles has launched her own ready-to-wear collection of feminine sportswear and dresses, inspired by art and a sense of timeless style — for all body types. We caught up with the designer in New York City to hear all about her second season, her French-American upbringing, and working under Oscar de la Renta as he designed his gorgeous bridal collections.
What's your source of inspiration?
"I was raised in a Franco-American home. My sense of language, culture, and of course fashion, bridged two worlds. I was born with an interest in design and constantly trying to balance the inherent draw of French femininity with the chic sensibility of New York fashion. After studying design around the world, from RISD to Central St. Martins, I got the opportunity to work with such fashion greats as Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta. Oscar knew how to design a dress to make a woman feel beautiful. He paid great attention to cut, quality textiles and expert craftsmanship — ideals that made a lasting impression on me and remain at the core of my own collection."
Her designs are full of artistic collaborations.
"I select a new artist each season to collaborate with on an original print for the collection, which usually stems directly from a piece of art. Together, we translate a print from canvas to fabric, essentially creating a piece of wearable art. I then use this print as the inspiration for the collection, bringing color, texture and design to life in fine European fabrics. For Spring/Summer 2016 I worked with artist Chelsea Hrynick Browne on a pastel hued Palm Leaf print that utilized Chelsea's layering technique to create the illusion of texture. It was the perfect start to a collection inspired by the 1950's breezy glamour of the Florida Keys."
Photo: Courtesy of Alexandra Reboul
She designs for all body types and has plans to create custom bridal gowns.
"I enjoy the intimacy of working with private clients — getting to understand their sense of style and how my collection can work for them. As a designer of dresses, there is nothing more iconic than a bridal gown, and it's always an exciting project! I love designing for real women and that's why I pay such great attention to fit. The right cut should translate beautifully at any size. It's a thrill for me to watch how one of my dresses can transform a woman. She feels beautiful, empowered, feminine; it's the power of fashion and it's my favorite part about being a designer."
Her top styling tips for brides?
"Engaged girls, take a look at your closet and survey the dresses you wear the most. Are they fit and flare? Cap-sleeve? Portrait collar? Take note of the silhouettes that flatter you most in your everyday life — chances are they will be best for your wedding day as well." When it comes to accessories, her number one tip is all about the shoes. "Buy a fabulous pair of shoes that you can wear again and again — remembering them always as the shoes that took you down the aisle. And, most importantly — nothing looks better on a woman than happiness and confidence. Remember to wear both!"
Photo: Courtesy of Alexandra Reboul
And her favorite bridal trends...
"I love laser-cut florals, feathers, and lingerie-inspired looks. I also see a lot of bridal parties dressed in white and I think it's such an elegant way for brides to share the day with their closest friends. I don't love pants and crop tops — I think that's a bridal look that needs to fade."
Reboul's favorite bride of all time?
"It's a tie between Angelina Jolie and Grace Kelly for my favorite bridal fashion moment. I love how Angelina Jolie added such a personal touch by using her children's drawings on her dress. It was such a unique way of incorporating sentiment, and making her children feel like an honored part of the day. I love Grace Kelly's dress for the timeless elegance. It would feel just as beautiful today as it did 60 years ago."
Her dream client to dress?
"I'd love to put Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in an Alexandra Reboul look. She always looks so classic, refined, beautiful and elegant. I'd put her in one of my Sunset Tweed dresses from spring that she can wear as easily among royalty as at dinner with her fabulous friends."