Vanessa Williams held court Wednesday morning at Claudette in Greenwich Village to introduce her apparel collection for HSN, the multiplatform retailer, to the media.
“She was an absolute pleasure to work with,” said Lynne Ronon, chief executive officer of Nation Design Partners, which manufactured her collection. “She has a vision and point of view and totally gets TV shopping.”
Williams spoke knowledgeably about her designs, which range from jumpsuits and animal-print skirts to pencil skirts, wrap dresses, and moto jackets. She said she designed the collection with herself, her 79-year-old mother and her three daughters, who range in age from 19 to 32, in mind. (Her middle daughter is Jillian Hervey, a member of the musical group Lion Babe. Another is a Pilates instructor, and the youngest is a student at Chapman University and a professional model).
For her TV appearance, Williams said she’ll have models of all ages and sizes showing off the collection (including her 19-year-old daughter), which ranges from XS to 3X. The 56-year-old actress/singer said she learned a lot about designing fashion from her childhood (her mother had a Singer sewing machine in her bedroom and would make her clothes) to her roles on “Ugly Betty,” working with Patricia Field as costume designer, to “Desperate Housewives,” as well as her experiences in Broadway shows such as “Into the Woods” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
“I know what I’m talking about,” said Williams, who said she’ll have no trouble describing the pieces in her collection on-air. “I know about draping and cut. I know the value of a good shoulder,” she said. She noted that the shoulder pads can come off and go on, and you can pop them in as accessories. “It gives you that flair. You can build a great wardrobe and it helps you look really unique.”
Williams will be on-air July 11 during The List from 9 to 11 p.m., and then a full hour from 11 p.m. to midnight.
Eventually, Williams would like to launch scarves, belts, outerwear, and athleisure, done in a glamorous way.
Williams said her favorite piece is the biker jacket (which she wore at the breakfast), to which she added matte sequins to give it a hint of sparkle. She also pointed to the jumpsuit and especially loves the cupro fabric.
Ronon was asked what happens if Williams line sells out online the week and a half before she goes on-air?
“She can sing,” she joked.
Williams said her mother and oldest daughter are part of the promotional campaign. She anticipates a large part of the audience will be women 70 and older, who go to church and book clubs and want sophisticated dressing. But she also hopes women her daughters’ ages will want to wear the line. She said her pieces can easily be mixed and matched. She also plans to do cashmere sweaters.
As for new projects, Williams said she’s recording a new album with BMG that will come out next year. She noted that it’s been 10 years since she’s done an album. She’s also participating in the 39th annual Capital Fourth celebration, a live music event, in Washington, D.C., and B. Michael has designed her gown.
“I’m glad to still be in the game,” said Williams.