Erin Fetherston lives a consummately “art-directed life.” Those are her words, not ours — although anyone who has ever crossed paths with the New York-based Californian already knows this. Few designers project the perfectly manicured — and perfectly consistent — persona that she does: always smiling, head tilted just so and that platinum blonde hair with long, blunt bangs. As for her clothes, she dresses, without fail,in a dreamy coquette way with sweet dresses and fluid, airy separates. “It’s real. I’m like that all the time,” says Fetherston, when asked if it’s all just an on-camera act. “You should see my apartment. It’s light, feminine and has a sense of whimsy.” And then she says it again: “It’s a totally art-directed life. And my two dogs are perfect in it.” (And how. She has a Chinese crested powderpuff and a bichon Maltese.)
Come fall, the Erin Fetherston lifestyle can be had for a more affordable price. The designer is putting her ready-to-wear collection on hold — “I have plans for the main line at a later date,” is all she’ll say about that — and, in its place, will introduce a contemporary line, Erin, to make its debut during New York Fashion Week. “This isn’t a little-sister line that’s second fiddle to something else,” says Fetherston, who recently named Stefani Zien, formerly of Rachel Roy, the company’s new director of sales and marketing. “I want this to be a stand-alone program.”
Price points aside — which range from $73 to $250 at wholesale — the real difference lies in the clothes: Erin skews more toward everyday wear, with ample ladyfied sportswear. T-shirts are embellished with beadwork and chiffon accents (“like a kiss from a cocktail dress”), a winter parka is done in icy metallic lamé and skinny black pants come with a swath of silk trailing in the back, like a cape. “I still want to create unique things,” she says. “There are plenty of perfect-fitting trousers out there.” Day dresses, simple tanks and blouses and a tuxedo jacket with sheer bishop sleeves round out the collection.
According to Fetherston, her 2007 collaboration with Target and recent partnership with Juicy Couture, which wraps up next month, played heavily in her decision to take a lower-price route. “I became more aware of a large Erin Fetherston fan base that hasn’t necessarily been able to buy into the designer price point,” she says. “I don’t want to leave that girl out anymore.”
The declining economy made an impact, too. “When the climate isn’t good, that really takes the fun out of buying something that’s going to be a $2,000 dress,” she adds. “I don’t want to be so removed anymore. That’s not where we are.”
Such is the reality check that has affected numerous designers of her generation who have made a similar lower-price move of late. Richard Chai, Doo-Ri Chung and Yigal Azrouël have all entered the contemporary market, while Zac Posen added a bridge line. But Fetherston has no regrets about her decision to start with rtw, and during the couture shows in 2005 to boot. “Since I was totally on my own, I could use that opportunity to present myself and my aesthetic as a designer without having the immediate pressure of business demands and production delivery cycles,” she says. “For me, it was great. I was able to give myself a little time.” But she still has a bone to pick with the press coverage from those early years: Reports that her company was funded by her then-boyfriend’s mother are completely false. “This has really plagued me,” she says, her composure breaking for a fiery few seconds. “This business has always been — and is still — a hundred percent my own.”
In fact, Fetherston’s first look book consisted of photographs she took of herself in various outfits, which she then Photoshopped together. “That’s the definition of a one-woman show,” she remarks. “I totally am the Erin girl. It’s never been part of my strategy, but I can see how it helps create context for the brand.” And it’s a brand sensibility that has, at times, landed in the most unconventional categories, such as the tin containers she designed for LU Biscuits in 2009. “It’s easy for me to bring my perspective to almost any kind of visual project. From the beginning, I’ve always had a clear point of view of my universe.”
For the record, Fetherston’s Crème Roulée canister featured a sketch of a girl holding giant wafers shaped like rolls of fabric. The girl, no surprise, sported long, cropped bangs.
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)