NEW YORK — As is the trend with many women of means launching lifestyle collections, Gabriela Hearst is her own muse. She lives in an impeccably appointed West Village townhouse with her husband, Austin Hearst, and their twin daughters (a third baby is on the way) and grew up on a ranch in Uruguay. Her new line, called Gabriela Hearst, is a reflection of her world, past and present. In other words, it’s a collection of extremely nice clothes for women with extremely nice lives.
“I wanted to create a brand that had that feeling of things that are well made and made long lasting,” she said, sitting on the couch in her living room, where the collection will be shown Friday. “When you grow up in the middle of nowhere on the ranch everything is done to last. You can’t go to a shop close by and buy new things. Everything has a utilitarian purpose and at the same time it’s beautiful.”
Flipping through her brand book, designed by Peter Miles, she points out a photograph of her mother as a young girl with horses on the ranch. There’s an equestrian flavor to the clothes in the hardware, but it’s more about flawless classics with special details. The fabrics are exceptional, all Italian and English double faced cashmere, merinos, cady silks, chiffons, denim, wax canvas and leathers, worked in a palette of navy, green, burgundy, ivory and black on silhouettes that exude luxury and good taste. A navy sweater is laced with grosgrain ribbon around the neckline, and blanket-like wraps that fasten with a chic safety pin are made of the softest Italian yarns. There are knee-length skirts done in rich leather, neat military jackets, and reverible shearlings. A long tailored camel skirt is slit high enough to suggest that the woman wearing it is elegant but not a bore. Hearst is launching with handbags and shoes too, an impressive range of boots, from riding styles with a small wedge heel to sturdy knee-highs with stacked heels painted to look like wood grain. She minded her details.
It’s not Hearst’s first time at the rodeo. She launched Candela, her contemporary line, that retails at Shopbop and Saks Fifth Avenue, in 2004. Like her new venture, Candela was tied to her personal style. “When I started Candela it was my early twenties and it had a bohemian spirit,” said Hearst. “I grew up. As a designer, you want to challenge yourself.”
She spent two years conceptualizing Gabriela Hearst before hiring a team and beginning production six months ago. “You want to make sure you end up with the best craftsmanship,” she said. The collection looks expensive and quality costs. Shoes are priced from $495-$1,500 and the ready to wear starts at $695 for tops to $6,000 for the outerwear.