DRESS FOR A CAUSE: It started on social media, as so many things do nowadays.
Model and actress Emily Ratajkowski about three months ago reached out to Venice, Calif., dress designer and fellow former model Christy Dawn Petersen about her namesake company’s Fitzgerald dress made of vintage Chantilly lace and silk. The two met several years ago at a modeling job. Ratajkowski ended up wearing the dress to a wedding she attended. Dawn Petersen followed up a few weeks later with an email asking Ratajkowski if she would collaborate with her on a dress. She agreed.
“Within a week, we met and designed the dress,” Dawn Petersen said. “We did it really fast. It was cool to see someone so busy want to work with a smaller company like us.”
The last time Dawn Petersen did a collaboration was at the time of her dress line launch two years ago when she partnered with Langley Fox Hemingway.
Ratajkowski came up with a square neckline minidress with three-quarter sleeves that fan out at the ends. The dress, named Emily, will come in six colors and one print, made from deadstock fabric. About 100 dresses will be produced and, as with all Christy Dawn dresses, will be made in downtown Los Angeles. It will retail for $250 and goes on sale Dec. 7.
Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from sales of the Emily dress will go to Planned Parenthood.
“I let Emily take full rein on the charity of her choice because I wanted her to be really inspired to give to a charity that she was passionate about and I know she’s done a lot of work with Planned Parenthood so I was definitely on board,” Dawn Petersen said.
Christy Dawn, with all of its dresses made from deadstock fabrics Dawn Petersen herself sources, has amassed a loyal following that includes Erin Wasson, Taylor Swift and Brooklyn Decker. The vintage-inspired dresses range from $180 to $540 for the Fitzgerald dress.
The designer draws inspiration from her upbringing in the small city of Placerville, Calif. Her vintage-inspired dresses are a nod to that with breathy, flowing cuts further translated in the cedar box affixed with lavender that dresses are packaged in for shoppers. She earlier this year opened her first brick-and-mortar store, totaling 800 square feet, on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice.
Traffic to the store has been brisk and attracted a line out the door on Black Friday with a special promotion that day offering half off to the first five shoppers in line and 30 percent off for everyone else.
“It was amazing,” Dawn Petersen said. “It was one of those moments in my career where I [said], ‘Wow, people want to wear my designs.’”