NEW YORK — Rosie Assoulin comes with an impressive résumé. Even though she decided that the Fashion Institute of Technology was not the right environment for her after just four months, the Brooklyn native got some hands-on experience with internships for Oscar de la Renta and Alber Elbaz at Lanvin in Paris, a freelance stint with Adam Lippes and working with her friend, designer Brian Reyes. Over the years, she also worked for Lee Angel’s Roxanne Assoulin, the costume jewelry designer who is the mother of her husband and business partner, Max.
This story first appeared in the June 7, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Her real fashion awakening, however, came at a much earlier age when her grandmother, also named Rosie, gave a sewing machine to the budding fashion designer.
“I’d go to my parents’ basement and cut up vintage clothes she’d kept,” the designer, who has an infectious energy, recalled. “I’d make new outfits.”
Creating clothes, she added, quickly became a little escape for her, a fantasy world where she could hone her daydream of becoming a real designer. Now the mother of three-year-old son Meyer (and a second child on the way) is realizing her dream with her launch resort collection, which she will unveil with a presentation in the Meatpacking District on Monday.
She said the decision to launch her own line was hastened by the recent successes of two close friends, Fivestory’s Claire Distenfeld and The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine. “They started something in an industry that had never heard of them before,”Assoulin said. “They came from nowhere, and both were telling me, ‘Rosie, do it. You’d be crazy to do it, but even crazier not to.’
“They saw my passion, they gave me the extra push,” she added.
The woman she designs for, Assoulin said, is a version of herself. “Most of the things come from needs in my own wardrobe.”
The lineup is elegant with many sensual touches. There are separates as well as eveningwear. Many pieces are adorned with feminine details — she added a sash, for instance, on cigarette pants and dresses. “I also love a button-down shirt, I love a ballgown,” she said. “I love a pencil skirt, a peacoat and a safari jacket.”
Suggested retail prices are from about $600 to $5,000 for special evening gowns, though the average will be around $1,100 to $1,800. Max Assoulin declined to disclose sales projections, but said the plan is to grow the line in a measured way with hopes to sell it to 25 specialty stores in the first season.
“I just had to do it, I couldn’t talk about it anymore,” she said of launching her collection. “Nobody could hear me talk about it anymore.”