Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet. Launched in 2002, the whole thing started with the designer’s quest for the perfect pair of pants. As most enterprising creatives do, she decided one day to stop looking for them and make them on her own. Nicknamed “Staceypants”, Bendet could often be found rollerblading through the city in that first pair of bold striped bell bottoms. Shortly afterward, the line launched at Barneys New York and Andrew Rosen, the founder of Theory, came calling. They became partners and the brand was born.
What was originally a quest for the perfect pair of pants is now a lifestyle collection offering everything from party dresses and coats to embellished t-shirts and sweaters, menswear, even children’s clothing (coinciding with the birth of the designer’s daughter, Eloise). Celebrity fans of the brand include Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker and Dakota Fanning. Shoes will follow next year. In a word, Stacey Bendet is busy.
Which is why when the quirky designer agreed to sit still and answer questions from me, I jumped at the chance. I give you the hilarious, funny, witty and talented Stacey Bendet in all her glory:
FSB: First off, the spring base collection and runway show are just fabulous. What were your inspirations for this collection? What was on the mood board?
Stacey Bendet: Pretty! I wanted everything to be pretty. The colors, the shapes. Pretty and sexy. The base palette was really light, natural and chic, and the bodies were developed in a way to make you feel fashionable while remaining casual. I don’t remember the mood board. It was like seventeen collections ago. Ok, maybe not that many but it was a while ago!
FSB: Who is the Alice + Olivia woman? How do you describe your client?
Stacey: Porn star? Dentist? LES Hipster? I try to think of all different women when I design. Maybe not the dentist.
FSB: Describe a day in your life and which pieces of your collection you wear to each occasion. How do your clothes fit into your own personal life?
Stacey: This morning I woke up at 4:30 and I put on an old Doors t-shirt and our leggings and did my yoga practice (ashtanga). I showered and got dressed, I went with our bell bottom jeans, one of our torn tanks, a pair of green lizard platform shoes that I made in Hong Kong and a light cashmere grey shrug over my shoulders. Eloise woke up at 6:45 and we made smoothies and pancakes together (banana pancakes without eggs because we are vegetarian.)I got to the office around 7:45 am and went through my sketches and spent some time on my spring color stories. Then I had my morning fittings, my morning design meeting and a meeting about our website redesign. I took Eloise to the zoo in the afternoon, the green lizard platforms weren’t the best idea for Tiger Mountain.:) Dinner will be later with my friend Kelly and her boyfriend Austin Powers at a little Asian place we like. I think I will wear something sparkly.
FSB: The photos of the fall collection were positively effervescent. We went backstage to cover the makeup, hair and nails used for your show. What can you tell us about the clothing collection and what’s coming for fall?
Stacey: Glam Rock! Fur, leather, color! The fall clothes make me smile every time I look in the showroom! I am loving our suit looks, the new pant bodies, and the outerwear pieces!
FSB: What has been your greatest moment so far as a designer? Describe your greatest accomplishment.
Stacey: I don’t know! I never really feel accomplished, I just like making pretty things. Pictures, pants…I sort of feel you are only as good as your last collection and it’s all so subjective!
FSB: What are five fun things that people don’t know about you?
Stacey: I love margaritas. I got kicked out of the Soho House for rollerblading in a tutu and throwing bang snaps (I think I got thrown out for the bang snaps not the tutu, though.) I can do a handstand and put my feet on my shoulders. I throw crazy fun dinner parties. My sister is my best friend in the whole wide world. Oh, I also like to email in haiku or semi-haiku. I think that’s more than five things.
FSB: What’s the next move in the Alice + Olivia empire? What can we expect from the line as it moves forward?
Stacey: Shoes. I love shoes. I am obsessed with shoes. And I am going to make some incredibly sexy shoes.
See? As fun and effervescent as her clothes. Now you know why I adore Stacey and the fabulous Alice + Olivia line. You MUST check it out if you haven’t already. Adore!