Interviews

Tuesday, October 21st 2014

Interview with Gillian & Laura, Designers of For Love & Lemons

Laura Hall and Gillian Mahin, designers of For Love & Lemons.

Designers Gillian Mahin and Laura Hall draw their inspiration from a little bit of everywhere, but their fall collection takes them back to their roots: Jackson Hole, WY. With lots of lace, the duo’s brand For Love & Lemons specializes in romantic, yet edgy silhouettes just begging to be worn. Shopbop got a chance to talk shop with Gillian and Laura about what’s next for the brand.

SHOPBOP: Your fall line is gorgeous. How did you settle on the direction for this one?
GILLIAN & LAURA: Thank you! Well, settling on the direction was easy for this one. We are both from Jackson Hole, WY, and have always wanted to design a collection based on our roots to show people where For Love & Lemons all started! Fall is the perfect time for this collection because Jackson is very rustic and all country. We had a lot of fun playing with vintage prints that have paisley, washed-out flowers, and little cowboys on them. We also used heavier fabrics like corduroy and faux suede. This collection was so important to us because we wanted people to see how much growing up in a small country town really shaped us as designers and our brand as a whole.

SB: All the shows for spring just ended, but we’re guessing you’re already looking ahead. What can we expect to see next?
G & L: Spring is our favorite collection to design for. It's around the time that everyone has cabin fever and is completely over wearing too many layers of dark colors. So we really go wild with spring! You can expect to see a lot of bright vintage-looking prints, sheer layers of burnout chiffon, lacy pastel crop-top and skirt sets, and some pretty incredible engineered embroidery. Everything is bold, airy, and will leave you craving a tropical getaway.

The For Love & Lemons studio space in L.A.

SB: What is the best part about working with your best friend?
G & L: We laugh A LOT. Even when things are stressful, we always find a way to make light of it and reminisce on things that we overcame that were much more difficult. And we always have each other’s backs! We know that we are in it together and no one is trying to outdo the other. And lastly, we get to go on "business trips" together everywhere, which can feel like mini vacations when you are with your best friend.  

SB: When you’re your own boss, it can be hard to strike a balance between work and play. How do you ladies do it?
G & L: We know that when we are at work, we work, because no one else is going to do it for us! And as soon as the day is over, we go across the street and get a glass of wine and go into BFF mode again. But if one of us is having a bad day at work, we know how important it is to put things aside for a bit and go have a little fun. We have found a good balance through trial and error.

From the For Love & Lemons collection: Eternal Love dress, Grace Mini dress, and Potpourri dress.

SB: What office styling advice do you have for someone who wants to be stylish, but still has a dress code?
G & L: Well it all depends on the dress code, but there is a way to have fun with it. We believe you should always keep it professional and sleek: you want to look like a boss lady who knows what she is doing. But if you have to wear suits and pumps, play around with a nice-fitting pantsuit, something high-waisted that shows off your figure—we are really into that trend right now. Add some feminine accessories to it. Or switch up your basic blouse and throw on a pretty print or lace, something to show your own personal taste. The key is to always be able to pull one piece from your closet that you adore without overdoing it! 

SB: Just for fun: favorite restaurant in L.A.?
G & L: It's hard to pick one, so here are our top three: Sugarfish, Bestia, and Pace.

SB: Describe your personal style, in three words or less.
G: ’90s, minimalist, lacy.
L: Simple, slinky, sheer.

Shop For Love & Lemons

Tuesday, October 14th 2014

Interview with Alissa Benishai, Designer of Phat Buddha Yogawear

Alissa Benishai, designer of Phat Buddha yogawear.

A dressing-room mishap led designer Alissa Benishai to create Phat Buddha, a line of activewear that includes the popular glitter workout capris. Taking what could have been just an embarrassing moment, Alissa turned the experience into a brand that fuses design and function, perfect for the studio or on the go. We chatted with Alissa about how Phat Buddha came to be. 

SHOPBOP: Tell us about how Phat Buddha got its start.
ALISSA BENISHAI: Upon completing my Bikram Yoga training in Hawaii, I returned to NYC as my thinnest self ever. Excited to begin my training as an instructor, I needed a new wardrobe to go with my new svelte status! It was this shopping debacle that launched Phat Buddha. You see, when I attempted to remove a size small top that I was trying on at a retail store, I got stuck in the garment! Taking matters into my own hands, I tapped into the expertise of those who had already built greatness, including real estate mogul Jack Guttman, and my mom, a fashion genius. Phat Buddha was born, a one-size-fits most, seamless, fashion-forward luxury brand, with affordable pricing.

SB: Describe your personal style in three words or less.
AB: Homeless chic.

SB: What is the most rewarding part of your day?
AB: Giving back. My mentors, including fashion tycoon Elie Tahari, have taught me that to achieve fulfillment, one must give back what was so freely given to them. I wake up every day loving what I do because I know, in the end, it is ultimately helping people. I always find time to mentor young entrepreneurs and do charity work because it makes me feel grateful for what I have. I struggled along the way, and there have been those who have helped me become what I am today. I couldn't be more grateful, and the only way to repay them is to help those in need.

Shopbop Exclusives: Phat Buddha Jane Glitter Workout Capris and the Phat Buddha Lafayette Tank.

SB: When you’re your own boss, it can be hard to strike a balance between work and play. How do you do it?
AB: Well, I've already played. I grew up in NYC and enjoyed that part of my life already. Today, I thrive on surrounding myself with family, good friends, and the knowledge that my "day of rest" comes at the end of each week. I do enjoy music and singing, which engage my creativity.

SB: If you could design anything other than yoga wear, what would it be and why?
AB: I would not design anything else. Phat Buddha is an extension of me.

Shop Phat Buddha.

Tuesday, October 7th 2014

Q&A with PARTYSKIRTS Designers Lauren & Mariel Armstrong

The designers of PARTYSKIRTS by SKOT are sisters, best friends, and coworkers—and they manage to make it all work. Lauren and Mariel Armstrong launched the brand after making skirts for themselves and promptly finding themselves inundated with orders from friends. The duo continues to add more colors and lengths each season, as well as a range of pieces to complete every PARTYSKIRTS by SKOT ensemble. We got a chance to chat with the two about life, work, and their spirit shoe.

SHOPBOP: If you weren’t designers of your own line, what kind of day job would you have?
MARIEL: I would still love to work in fashion—ideally working in design or creative direction for another brand I love.
LAUREN: Something we had to learn quickly with our own business is the world of social media, and I have grown to really love it! I would love to do it for a brand I love and admire one day.

SB: Describe your personal style in three words or less.
M: Stylish, comfortable, and quirky.
L: Classic, sophisticated, and casual (we live in Vancouver, after all!).

SB: Love that you added “Lady Lengths” to your line! What’s the next big step for PARTYSKIRTS?
M + L: We are adding a third length this winter! A “Full Length” skirt, which everyone has been asking about for a while. It is such a fun and versatile alternative for black-tie attire. We also love it just paired with a tee, leather jacket, and flats for a dinner out. We will be adding more items to wear with PARTYSKIRTS for Spring 2015.

SB: When you are your own boss, it can be hard to strike a balance between work and play. How do you ladies do it?
M: It helps getting to work together. Whenever we are feeling run down we have each other to perk one another up. So sometimes work turns into play and vice versa.
L: We joke that we take turns having a bad day, but it is true. We also make an effort to do things together as sisters that don’t involve PARTYSKIRTS.

SB: Be honest—what are the best and worst things about working with your sister?
M: They kind of go hand in hand. But if I had to decide, I would say the best part is that we know each other so well and we have so much fun together. The worst part is that we fight, but it never lasts and that is because we are sisters.
L: The best part is that I get to walk into the office every morning and see my best friend! Every day is different for us, and it has been amazing to grow together. The worst part is when issues come up in our business and there is tension between us as sisters! But we are pretty quick to get over it, as we have had many years of resolving sisterly fights and we don’t have time to dwell on things.

SB: How would you style a PARTYSKIRT at the office?
M: I’d pair it with a T-shirt and Converse sneakers.
L: With a cashmere turtleneck, black tights, and a cute pair of flats.

SB: Just for fun: if you were a shoe, what kind would you be?
M: A Charlotte Olympia Kitty flat.
L: A Chanel ballet flat.

Shop PARTYSKIRTS by SKOT.

Thursday, September 4th 2014

Kate Foley on Her Bag Collaboration with Time’s Arrow

Stylist and creative consultant Kate Foley with the Kate Foley x Time's Arrow Ishi Wristlet from the new collection.

There’s always that one girl that everyone wants to be. Right now, that girl is stylist and creative consultant Kate Foley. Her recent collaboration with handbag designer Time’s Arrow is bringing vibrant color to an already gorgeous collection, and we just had to know more.

SHOPBOP: Congratulations on the collaboration with Time’s Arrow! How did the partnership come about?
KATE FOLEY: I met Christine Park when I came to view the first Time’s Arrow collection. Upon seeing the bags, I instantly felt a rush of excitement and totally fell in love! After seeing collection after collection of crazily expensive bags, it was such a relief to see a brand making beautiful, high-quality bags at a great price point.

Kate Foley and one of the more demure bags of the collection, the Affine small shoulder bag.

SB: How did you inject your signature style into the Time’s Arrow look?
KF: I love color and always find myself drawn to accessories in bright, rich shades, which I pair with gold, whether that’s jewelry that I wear or the hardware on a bag or shoe. I also have a love for crazy, wacky prints, so I think the bags are 100% my signature style.

SB: What was the best part of this partnership?
KF: Working with the Time’s Arrow team. They're all wonderful, and it was great to bounce ideas back and forth and come up with such a great collection that we're all excited about!

SB: What was the most challenging?
KF: The most challenging part was editing down the colorways and styles so the collection didn't end up being huge!


Kate Foley's bright Helene small shoulder bag compliments an equally wild print.

SB: If you had to pick, which bag are you the most excited about?
KF: It's so hard to say! One moment one bag is a favorite, and the next moment it's a different one. I love how the Ishi wristlets came out. The blue on blue is beautiful, but I also love the Carmine/Capri colorway, which comes in the Helene and the Affine. I don't think I could choose just one!

Shop the Kate Foley x Time’s Arrow collection.


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Monday, August 11th 2014

Style Muse: Shiona Turini


Style Muse Shiona Turini in the Cosmo offices.

With her enviable work history and an even more enviable closet, it was a thrill to chat with our latest Style Muse, Shiona Turini. As the Fashion Market Director of Cosmopolitan magazine, Shiona’s got amazing insider access, so we got the scoop on fall trends, her fashion month plans, and closet must-haves.

SHOPBOP: What fall trend are you most excited about?
SHIONA TURINI: This season there were some great suiting options from Dior, Stella McCartney, and Gucci that I'm excited to wear—but in a way that's less “power suit” and more Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. I also love the subtle hints of bondage, which we saw in lace-up details at Dior, Jonathan Simkhai, and Alexandre Vauthier. And of course, I'm always a fan of leopard and cheetah, which, to me, are always on trend.

SB: As a known heel lover, how do you feel about the sneaker’s big fashion moment?
ST: I'm a huge lover of all things Nike, and I love a good designer sneaker collab, à la Riccardo Tisci for Nike or Solange Knowles's Girls of Blaze capsule with Puma. But I must admit I'm much more of a collector than an actual wearer of sneakers. Heels give the illusion of a longer leg, better posture, and make an outfit look more polished and pulled together. I'm not ready to give that up for a fashion sneaker!


Chrissie Morris sandals.

SB: Fashion week is fast approaching. Which shows are you dying to see?
ST: Fashion week is always an exciting time for me—I love the magic of seeing a show for the very first time, and there are so many I'm dying to see. In New York, I'm counting down the days until the Altuzarra and Alexander Wang shows. I love the feeling that the DKNY and Donna Karan shows leave you with—a huge appreciation for NYC. Cushnie Et Ochs, Wes Gordon, and Zana Bayne have become three of my favorite new shows in New York. And of course Marc Jacobs is always a highlight. In Paris, I'm really looking forward to Anthony Vaccarello, Balmain, Valentino, Dior, and of course, Chanel. The sets at Chanel are always so epic and breathtaking.

SB: What’s your go-to look?
ST: I like to say that I invented the crop top. I know it's not true, but it's a style that I've been wearing proudly since high school. I have a small waist and curvier hips, so a cropped shirt paired with a high-waisted bottom is one of the most flattering looks for my body. A crop top with an A-line skirt, high-waisted pant, or pencil skirt works very well for me, so I stick with it as a uniform.


Style Muse Shiona Turini in a Nicolas crop top, Helmut Lang blazer, and Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent skirt.

SB: What are the five pieces you could never live without?
ST: Gold jewelry, single-sole pumps, bodysuits, a black A-line skirt, long-sleeved crop tops, and a black, cropped leather jacket. I know that's six but what can I say, I'm a rule breaker.

Check out Shiona Turini in the Cosmo offices.
Shop What’s New.


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Thursday, July 17th 2014

Girls vs. Guys: Dressing for a Wedding


Make it easy for yourself, dress for wedding season with our Wedding Guest boutique.

If you’re in your late 20s to early 30s, chances are most of your summer weekends are occupied by weddings. My husband and I are in the midst of three in a row, which has sparked a debate. When it comes to getting ready to attend a wedding, who has it easier: guys or girls?

Obviously, from a female point of view, I’d argue that girls have it much harder. A new dress, shoes, and accessories are practically required (unless you get that rare case of zero guest crossover from wedding to wedding). Then you’ve got hair, nails, and an evenly—ahem, professionally—applied faux tan. Not to say that this isn’t fun, but after ceremony number one million, it can get a bit stressful.

Now, my husband would say that men suffer the opposite problem. Where we have a plethora of options, guys can be limited in theirs. A fantastic suit is a true investment piece, meaning the average guy isn’t suiting up Stinson-style each day of the week. With one or two suits, most men can really only look to a new shirt, tie, cufflinks, or shoes to switch things up. He claims that wearing basically the same thing to party after party can also get tough.

We’re probably both right. Luckily, Shopbop and East Dane have us covered. For the ladies, there’s a curated boutique of full looks, all perfect for any type of wedding your friends and family can throw at you. Highly recommend. For the fellas, East Dane has an edit of suits, blazers, and vests to spice up a summer wedding wardrobe. It seems the key to this debate is shopping!

--Libby S.

Shop the Shopbop Wedding Guest boutique.
Shop the East Dane Summer Suit Edit.


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Monday, July 14th 2014

Style Muse: Pamela Love


Pamela Love outside her Brooklyn home.

Spending the day on set with Pamela Love is always fun, but heading to her magical home in Brooklyn is even better. The award-winning jewelry designer welcomed Team Shopbop with open arms and a spicy stocked fridge.

SHOPBOP: Thanks for having us to your lovely home! What would you say us the one thing every house needs?
PAMELA LOVE: Starting out with the tough ones! Every home should have a beautiful flat screen. Just kidding! I really think every home needs a beautiful rug. I love rugs, and think they do a lot to create an amazingly warm environment.

SB: Describe your interior design aesthetic in three words or less.
PL: Eclectic, bohemian, disorganized.

SB: If you were forced to only wear one piece of jewelry, what would it be?
PL: Forced? Oh, that’s so hard! If I had to, I would only wear my wedding and engagement rings. Those count as one, right?

SB: What is the craziest thing to influence your designs so far?
PL: So much of my inspiration is crazy, it’s difficult to narrow down, but I would have to say that the Industrial Revolution really stands out as something different. That was for a collection I did a few years ago.

SB: What are your thoughts on 3D printers for the use of design?
PL: 3D printing can be a helpful tool when used moderately. But in excess, I really believe it can negatively affect the spirit of the work.

SB: OK, last one and you can get back to the shoot. What one item is always in your refrigerator?
PL: Hot sauce!

Shop Pamela Love.


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Saturday, June 21st 2014

Music (And Style) Muse: Harley Viera-Newton

Not only were we lucky enough to be invited into the amazing home of our latest style muse, Harley Viera-Newton, but she also created an exclusive playlist just for Shopbop fans. “This is my gearing-up-for-summer playlist,” she says. “Best listened to on the beach with a lemonade (or in the office, pretending you’re there).”

No matter where you are, kick back and enjoy Harley’s exclusive playlist—we’ve got it set on repeat.

See Harley’s Shopbop feature.


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Tuesday, June 3rd 2014

A Look into the Life of The Glamourai’s Kelly Framel

Clothing designer and founder of The Glamourai, Kelly Framel has an affinity for DIY, vintage finds, and home décor. She got her start in fashion by designing evening gowns for Naeem Khan and has since worked with big names like Coach, Dior, and Dolce & Gabbana. We talked to Framel about the evolution of her blog over the years and what it’s like to be behind the scenes of an editorial shoot.

SHOPBOP: Since you started it in 2008, The Glamourai has evolved from a personal style blog into something much bigger. How did this come about, and how do you continue to challenge yourself and expand the website?
KELLY FRAMEL: When I started the site, I was working as an eveningwear designer creating astronomically expensive, demi-couture gowns. Sharing my personal style gave me a creative outlet to express my more realistic, everyday experience of fashion. At the time, the blogging community was very small, and it was simply rewarding to be part of the conversation within a group that I myself was drawing a lot of inspiration from. I never expected anyone outside that little insular community to read it! But inevitably that world grew, and more people started paying attention to the space, so it no longer felt interesting or creatively rewarding to make the stories about myself. It became important for me to elevate the work I was creating for the site and raise the caliber of conversations that people expect to find online. It's remained very personal, but it is now approached from a broader, more ambitious creative perspective.
 
SB: How would you describe your personal taste—in fashion, décor, etc.?
KF: I'm in a constant state of evolution, and always will be. I live my creative process on my sleeve, so to speak. My furniture is moved around monthly, and I've tried on just about every character in the fashion lexicon. But as I get older, I'm realizing that the constants I always settle back into are eclectic and bohemian, balanced out with a heavy reliance on the classics.
 
SB: You grew up in Austin, TX. How is your aesthetic and work influenced by Southern culture?
KF: If anything, growing up in Austin taught me to think independently. It's a little oasis of weirdness, and there's this great sense of being removed from the rest of Texas, removed from the world. Because of that, it seems to breed a funny little mix of iconoclasts. I wasn't exposed to a ton of fashion growing up there, but I never considered that there was an option outside of doing something creative with my life.

SB: From casting models to finding the perfect location, a lot of work goes into each of your editorial shoots. What’s your favorite part of the process? What’s most challenging?
KF: The most challenging thing is creating great work with tiny little teams and a shoestring budget. We are scrappy as hell! But I love collaborating with other creatives, and literally nothing makes me happier in life than being on set, steering an idea out of my imagination and into reality. I'm always dreaming up shoots I want to make. Finding the time, money, and teams to execute them with is an everyday challenge.

SB: Styling and photography are a big part of your life. But sometimes—like this Shopbop lookbook—you’re in front of the camera. What is unique about being on the modeling side of things?
KF: It's so much easier! I do it so infrequently these days I'd forgotten how freeing it is to not be the one managing all the details. Building sets, coordinating wardrobe, hiring the cast and crew, ensuring everyone makes their call time, dealing with location agreements, handling equipment rentals, insurances—all the while trying to think five steps ahead, make a ton of on-the-fly decisions, and still maintain a really artful mindset. I love the work we do and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but every once in a while it's fun to simply show up, get my hair and makeup done, put on some cool clothes, and prance around the streets of Soho. 

Check out The Glamourai.

Friday, May 16th 2014

Break Time: Dig In & Drink Up

I bought my husband a meat smoker for his birthday, and this weekend we’re finally going to try it out! Needless to say, I’ve been scouring the internet for the best recipes. I may have also wandered down the search rabbit hole into some food forums, leading me to find these three articles focused on eating, drinking, and being merry. Bon appetit!

Food is never far from my mind. In fact, it’s usually about midway through lunch that I start thinking about dinner. I’ve always assumed that everyone was the same way. But apparently, some people actually see food as a nuisance. These are the types of people who invented Soylent. (Yes, like the movie. No, not people.)
[The New Yorker]

There’s nothing like an ice-cold beverage on a hot day, and advertisers know this. In fact, some alcohol companies are actually using weather data to direct their marketing plans. They’re able to correlate weather patterns with beer sales to get the most bang for their buck. Who knew Chicagoans drink more when it’s unseasonably chilly?
[Men’s Journal]

I normally don’t get excited by a local news cooking segment, but when undercover comedian Nick Prueher and something called a Meat Milkshake are involved, it’s impossible not to.
[Grantland]

--Libby S.

Shop What’s New.


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