NEW YORK — Designer Bryan Bradley’s longtime muse and creative director Amanda Brooks is leaving Tuleh.
Brooks, who had been consulting for Tuleh informally for years, took on the official role in 2002, working on fabrics, developing inspirations and offering her visions of how a young woman-about-town should dress. The duo’s relationship extended far beyond the company’s headquarters, though: Bradley and Brooks are extremely close friends and next-door neighbors on Chrystie Street here. They dine together three times a week, and the designer is the godfather to Brooks’ son, Zachary. Bradley has no plans to hire a new creative director.
“Her position will go more toward what it was before, and sans paycheck,” Bradley said. “We started as friends and that has been the nature the entire time, and I have no thoughts that that would change. I am glad to have the benefit of her as a friend and an opinion.”
Since Bradley split with his former personal and professional partner, Josh Patner, more than two years ago, he has worked closely with Brooks and Lillian von Stauffenberg, the label’s sales manager who left in December to move to London. It has been rumored the designer grew restless with the collaboration with Brooks.
“I am always disillusioned and frustrated,” Bradley said laughingly, addressing the rumors. “That’s just how I am.”
Brooks, seated with her painter husband, Christopher, and two children, was cheering Bradley from her front-row seat at Tuleh’s show last week. Over the weekend, she sent out an e-mail explaining her decision to leave: “My five years at Tuleh, both official and unofficial, have been the happiest work experience I have had. Josh and Bryan took me on when I had almost no experience in design or creating women’s clothing, and taught me everything there is to be learned from two people about fashion. It’s hard to believe that what I did at Tuleh could even be classified as a ‘job’ because I enjoyed doing it so much.
“At the same time, I feel like it’s the right time for me to throw my cards up in the air and see where they land,” she continued. “I have been researching an independent project over the last few months and plan to pursue that, as well as spending more time with my husband and kids.”
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