Three designers who launched their collections at New York Fashion Week in February — Gabriela Hearst, Ji Oh and Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock, the husband-and-wife team behind Brock Collection — discuss what they learned from their first experience and what they changed for their second act.
WWD: What was the most exciting part of planning your first NYFW presentation last season?
Gabriela Hearst: It was our launch season and we’d been conceptualizing the project for more than two years, so it had been a long journey to get there. Only a few trusted key people had seen the collection so we were very excited to finally show it.
Ji Oh: The most exciting part for me was the casting. Finding the right face and the right attitude isn’t so easy, but still very fun. When a girl comes in and tries my clothes on and looks great, nothing makes me happier.
Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock: Seeing the world we dreamt of come together was the most exciting part. The days before our presentation were our favorite — the styling, casting, hair and makeup tests, and set design.
WWD: What was the most stressful or frustrating part?
G.H.: As the debut season was a very personal collection, we decided to present the collection in my home. I was 30-plus weeks pregnant at the time, which made it more challenging being on my feet all day, but we powered through the day, feeding off from all the excitement.
J.O.: The most stressful part was doing a thousand different things at the same time. I am still a small company, so on top of doing the presentation, I still had all of the normal day-to-day tasks in keeping my company going — production, deliveries, etc. I like multitasking and can handle it well usually, but it was stressful. I feel much more prepared going into my second season.
L.V. and K.B.: Shooting the look book in 30 minutes before the presentation was far and away the most stressful bit. Our photographer, Peter Goldman, did an incredible job and, as always, we were so happy with the result.
WWD: Were you pleased? Did you view your presentation as a success?
G.H.: It was a success, we had a great turnout and the reviews were very positive. Barneys New York picked up the line, which was our aim. We were extremely pleased with the result, but we are always thinking of improving and doing things better. Baby steps.
J.O.: I was very pleased. Creatives don’t often feel satisfied with their own work, but I was very satisfied with how it turned out. It was executed the way I want and people seemed to understand the concept.
L.V. and K.B.: We feel so lucky to have an incredible team to make this all possible. For us, our first showing was a success.
WWD: What lessons did you learn from the experience, and what do you plan to do differently for spring 2016?
G.H.: What I learned from our debut presentation was to pace myself and to come with a clear mind. All the hard work has been done and now, it is about being in the moment. [This season] we are presenting in Lindsey Adelman’s showroom in Noho. I admire Lindsey tremendously as an artist, designer and woman and I think Lindsey’s pieces will complement our spring collection beautifully.
J.O.: The biggest lesson I learned was to plan ahead as much as possible. It’s never too early to start working on certain things.
L.V. and K.B.: The thrill of [the presentation] reminded us of how much we love what we do. We hope to always love the experience, to always put our hearts into it.
WWD: Is there anything you can reveal about your upcoming show?
G.H.: Expect good coffee.
J.O.: For a presentation, I like the models to seem like they are in a realistic situation while wearing my clothes. I want them to be free and comfortable. You’ll see that concept again this season.
L.V. and K.B.: The setting is on our minds. We are working with a set designer this season and looking forward to seeing where the collaboration takes us.