New York & Co. helped kick off New York Fashion Week Tuesday night with its first fashion show, a consumer-skewed event at an Upper East Side mansion where actress and creative director Eva Mendes’ fall collection was presented. The line of romantic and feminine looks that ranged from glittery party dresses to lace frocks, were all available for purchase immediately. Mendes, a mother of two whose partner is the actor Ryan Gosling, took a bow at the end of the show, dressed in a burgundy lace minidress, patterned leggings and a black hair wrap — all looks from the fall line. WWD caught up with her as she got ready for the event.
WWD: You’ve been working with this brand for over three years now. How has the brand evolved over that time?
Eva Mendes: We were prepping for a year, so we’ve been working together for quite a few years now. It’s evolved a lot in the last two years since I begrudgingly started my Instagram account and my social media exposure/connection. I say begrudgingly because I just didn’t want to take the plunge, but when I realized it was just a direct connection to our customer and these women, I did it. I like listening to their stories and their feedback. A lot of my social media posts are about celebrating these women who wear our clothes, feel great in them and have comments. I love constructive criticism. So I listen to them and we make adjustments because we pretty much average a collection every six weeks. We’re constantly taking everything in and taking notes.
WWD: How do you have time to do this? You have two young daughters and a film career.
E.M.: I do, but I also have an amazing codesigner and an amazing partnership with New York & Co. The exciting part of growing together and having this kind of long-term relationship is that they can anticipate where I’m going with something. So our relationship is very defined, it’s a true partnership so I’m not doing it all by myself.
WWD: This is the company’s first show and it’s see-now-buy-now. Are you a little excited, a little nervous?
E.M.: Absolutely. I’m very, very excited and the whole see-now-buy-now is new to me. So we’ll see.
WWD: You’re known for your sense of style. Are you planning to attend any other shows during New York Fashion Week?
E.M.: No. This is it.
WWD: What else are you working on outside of this?
E.M.: Really, this is my main focus right now. And I have a cosmetics line in Walgreens. It’s exclusively at Walgreens right not but in September, we’re going to have it in select New York & Co. stores. It’s called Circa and it’s basically prestige cosmetics that are at drug-store prices. [Like my line for New York & Co.,] the theme is to create a quality product for an affordable price.
WWD: Your products are all affordable, despite the fact that you’re a celebrity and can enjoy experiencing all the highest priced luxury brands.
E.M.: It’s important to me. My mother lets me know [if something is too expensive]. With a few dresses, she’s, like, “That’s too much.” “But Mom, it’s $59.99.” “It’s too much.” And then I go back and we talk about price points. My family keeps my grounded.
WWD: Do you have any films coming out?
E.M.: No, I have a four-month-old and I also have a toddler, so that takes up all of my time.