Kelly Wearstler's designs on fashion
I stopped by interior design diva Kelly Wearstler's office in West Hollywood the other day to see her fashion collection launching in mid-August. And I was impressed by the kinds of details she was able to incorporate into clothes that will sell in the advanced contemporary price category (most pieces are $185 to $750).
There was a specialness to the clothes that made them seem handmade or one-of-a-kind, even if they weren't. Take for example, a black leather blazer with stick people-shaped embroideries at the cuffs, a hot pink dip-dyed silk and organza jacket, and breezy blouses with irregular-looking stripes.
Wearstler will be selling her eponymous collection of clothing and accessories at Neiman Marcus stores, as well as at KellyWearstler.com and at her new store on Melrose Avenue, slated to open Sept. 1. And though she may have been heckled for her over-the-top outfits when she was a judge on Bravo's "Top Design" in 2007, her clothing line is totally wearable.
The collection has been in the works for four years, said Wearstler, dressed in a funky mix of clothes ("I still crawl around in smelly thrift stores looking for cool things," she said), including Hysteric Glamour jeans, a fraying Iro jacket, a vintage belt, Martin Margiela boots and a Balenciaga coral bracelet.
The most challenging part was sourcing the materials. "Designers don't want to share where they have things made. So we relied on a lot of people to make our ready-to-wear samples who do our sculptures and other things. And the handicap ended up being cool because it gave our pieces a different hand," she said.
Wearstler seems to be enjoying how her interior design work is informing her clothing design and vice-versa. She has both design teams working together in the same office. And you can see the resemblance between her decorative bobble-stone boxes and a pyrite charm bracelet; between a perforated metal vase and a perforated metal cuff bracelet; between the wavy lines on the border of her "Mulholland" China pattern, and the diagonal bleached out stripes on a pair of wedgewood blue trousers.
"If it was just a graphic stripe, it wouldn't have soul," she explains. "This way, it looks hand-done, even if it's not."
For now, she's happy to go back and forth, working for an hour here on a residential design project for a client in Kuwait (she showed me the plan for the kids' library -- yes, you read that right), and an hour there choosing the right cord belt for her spring collection. Because as she said, "I've been wanting to do this for a long time."
-- Booth Moore
Photos of Kelly Wearstler's fall 2011 collection from the designer.