Tuesday, February 18th 2014

An Illustration of Style

Last week we featured several hand-drawn sketches in a Swimsuits by Body Type post. We’re huge fans of line drawings in general, and so excited to be able to showcase them on Shoptalk. They were all created by our very own off-figure stylist, Kate Cullen. We wanted give you a little info on the woman behind the pen, so we sat down with her to talk work, history, and her interesting source of recent inspiration.

SHOPBOP: How long have you been working at Shopbop?
KATE CULLEN: My one year anniversary is this month!

SB: Happy anniversary! Can you explain what do you do here?
KC: I’m an off-figure stylist. I style the items on Shopbop and East Dane that are not photographed on the models. It rules. I get to give movement and life to the apparel, and I get to work with my hands. I had a foundry professor who always said, “If you work with your hands, you won’t go crazy.”

SB: That’s good advice. Foundry class? It sounds like you have a background in art.
KC: Yes! Metalwork was one of my favorites. I was a sculpture major and then moved into fashion design, so I’ve always been making, drawing, or sketching something.

SB: Nowadays, what is your favorite thing to draw?
KC: It depends on my mood. I tend to like weird, dark art, but I like drawing women and feminine features too. Lately I’ve been drawing flowers and fun things to get through this long winter! Also, a lot of houses and fairies for my little girls.

SB: What’s inspired you recently?
KC: It’s a little strange, but right now I’m obsessed with drawing the in-flight escape pictures from airplanes. I love how they make the woman incredibly calm and poised as she climbs out of the window. My goal is to make my art funny and to make people laugh.

SB: That’s amazing and awesome. Survivalist instructions aside, what do you have planned for your next drawing?
KC: Next up is my daughter’s Wonder Woman snow globe. It’s going to end up being life size, and she’s going to freak out!

Stay tuned for Kate’s next feature!

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Monday, January 13th 2014

Talking with Cousins Undercover Anthony Carrino & John Colaneri

East Dane is all about straightforward fashion for straightforward men, and we couldn’t think of two guys who better align with that mantra than Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri of HGTV’s Cousins Undercover. We tapped the contractor pair for this week’s cover story, and snagged a few moments of their time to ask them about home remodeling, working together, and their personal style.

What’s the first thing someone should do before starting a renovation?
JOHN: Have a clear, concise vision of your design and layout of the space. You need to stick to that plan, and if changes are needed try to keep them small. Too many times people shift design and focus, and that is why their projects double in time.
ANTHONY: PLANNING! That is in caps for a reason. It is absolutely paramount to your success and to staying on budget!

What’s a contractor secret every homeowner should know?
JOHN: Always have a 15% to 20% contingency when starting a project. You will find issues or problems you did not know were there nine out of ten times.
ANTHONY: If you’re afraid you can’t cut a super straight line with a skill saw freehanded, clamp a long level or straight edge to the plywood and run the guide along it—straight as an arrow.

What are your favorite sources of design inspiration?
JOHN: Travel is the best design inspiration you can have because you are able to experience different design aesthetics and elements from around the world.
ANTHONY: The blogs are endless: Remodelista, Design Milk, and Design*Sponge, just to name a few. But my ultimate source for design inspiration is travel.

What is your favorite room to renovate and why?
JOHN: I would have to say the kitchen because it is the heart of the home and is the most used room in a house.
ANTHONY: Without trying to avoid the question, I don’t have one. I just love to renovate a full room. Helping a client realize their vision is the best part of what we do, so it’s really about their needs. We are always ready for a challenge.

What’s your design go-to?
JOHN: When looking for a wall color my go-to color is grey. It goes with any design style, and it gives you the ability to use great accent colors that will really stand out.
ANTHONY: For me, it’s the use of organic or reclaimed materials. I love mixing old and new, and organic materials and shapes serve to both warm and create visual interest within a space.

If you could design a kitchen for anyone, current or historical, who would it be?
JOHN: I am a history buff so I think it would have to be John F. Kennedy.
ANTHONY: Ha! I think it would have to be Brunelleschi himself. More so because I would love to see what he thinks of our work and company (Brunelleschi Construction) named after him.

John, what are some of Anthony’s best work qualities?
JOHN: Anthony is a true leader when it comes to construction and business. With the over 100 workers and volunteers involved in Cousins Undercover episodes, there needs to be one person driving the ship, and Anthony is that person.

Anthony, what about John?
ANTHONY: John is the most organized guy I know, and this translates into him being a ninja on the job site. With no less than fifty moving pieces on each of our projects, it is an invaluable skill—not to mention John always has the ability to make me laugh, even at the most stressful point of a job. I think I appreciate that more than anything.

What’s more important: comfort or style?
JOHN: They are both equal. Anthony and I always say: design and function go hand in hand.
ANTHONY: On the job site: comfort hands down. Out on the town: I like to be comfortable, but style rules. Fortunately, my style is comfort.

Any style go-tos?
JOHN: My favorite style is Contemporary Rustic.
ANTHONY: I love henleys, and they’re great for layering. As it gets colder, they look great under a button-down. My other winter go-to is a cardigan. I might have one in every color. Oh, and I can’t resist a good elbow patch.

Check out the Cousins Undercover story on East Dane.
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Friday, January 10th 2014

Shopbop Loves SoulCycle

Our exclusive collaboration with SoulCycle launched today, and we couldn’t be more excited! The cozy pieces are perfect for hanging out post-workout or easing into a warm-up routine. With fitness on our minds—and a cartful of activewear—we chatted with four SoulCycle NY instructors, the stars of our latest lookbook, about fashion, beauty, and their off-duty looks.

SoulCycle NYC instructors Karyn (left) and Madison.

SHOPBOP: Do you have any fashion tips for going straight from class to a night out?
KARYN: Keep it simple. If you're going straight from the studio, you don't want to carry around a bunch of extra stuff. Pack a pair of jeans, a loose flowy tank—because even post-shower your body wants to keep sweating—a blazer, wedge sneakers or heels (depending on how fancy you’re feeling), and a long necklace or some fun earrings. For me, my hair is almost completely drenched after class, so I like to throw it up into a high bun and call it a day.
MADISON: A quick rinse is always nice. I never want to put anything tight on after class—I'm definitely always on the casual side—but I always make sure I have a pair of cool sneakers or some motorcycle boots to give my outfit a bit of edge.

SB: What is your go-to outfit when you’re not working out?
KARYN: I lived in LA for the last five years, so my go-to is suited for warmer weather conditions. (Let's just pretend it's not the dead of winter outside.) Black tights, cutoff jean shorts, a slightly oversized graphic tank with a colored bra underneath, and wedge sneakers or boots. This is on the rare occasion when I'm not wearing sweatpants or shorts with legwarmers.
MADISON: My leather leggings, a white tee, blazer, and a great pair of shoes! I'm a uniform kind of girl.

SoulCycle NYC instructors Jaws (left) and Taye.

SB: Any beauty secrets to looking fresh during a killer workout?
TAYE: No make up! You think that it’s working for you, but actually, it’s working against you by clogging your pores. I love lash extensions since mascara and liner ends up burning your eyes. I also like accessorizing my look with a headband, head tie, or bracelets.
JAWS: I agree. Go in with a clean, fresh face. I always put on a nice lip balm.

SB: When you’re off-duty, what do you like to wear?
TAYE: Anything black and edgy-chic. I love the neutral look. The only pop of color that I wear are my denim Rag & Bone jean—the fit is AH-mazing! I’m also obsessed with sneaker wedges because you get the best of both worlds.
JAWS: Black jeans, heeled boots, T-shirt, and leather jacket. And of course my rings and gold watch.

SB: Which of the SoulCycle for Shopbop piece is your favorite?
MADISON: The pink Soul Sweatpants! And the grey I Love Soul Cropped Tee! Love, love, love!
TAYE: The SoulCycle Happiness Hoodie. Not only is it comfy and cute with everything, but the fabric is so soft. I also need pockets in everything that I wear.
JAWS: I'm into all black, so the Hacci Sweatshirt with Skulls!

Shop the SoulCycle collection.
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Monday, December 23rd 2013

Shopbop Weddings: Picture Perfect

There are a lot of decisions to be made while planning a wedding, with one of the biggest being the photographer. This was the case for Shopbop photographer John, who married his wife Heather in a beautiful farm setting. We talked to the newlyweds about their amazing wedding—seriously, there were chickens!—and got a few insider photography tips for brides-to-be.

SHOPBOP: Congratulations you two! Tell me about where you got married.
JOHN & HEATHER: We got married on John’s parents’ country property, under an arch that Heather and her aunt made from cedar trees, surrounded by wildflowers.

SB: That sounds beautiful. Did the weather hold up?
J&H: It was perfect—sunny with a slight breeze. But exactly when the ceremony was scheduled to start, it started raining. We delayed by 30 minutes and our guests waited under the tent and had a few drinks. The best part was that with the rain came a double rainbow that stayed through the ceremony.

SB: You’re kidding! That’s incredible. Ok, on to wardrobe. What did you both wear?
H: I wore a strapless ivory lace dress and some hand-crafted jewelry made for me by a friend.
J: I wore grey pants with a white long-sleeve shirt and suspenders. We added color with ties. All the men had a different print.

SB: The dress is gorgeous. John, you also looked very handsome. I have to ask about the hair. (Check the pictures—John has some enviable locks.)
H: I guess we both did braids! I had an updo, with multiple braids woven throughout. And my sister-in-law pulled John’s hair back into a french braid.

SB: Love it! So, what was it like when you saw each other for the first time?
J&H: It was very emotional seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle! We both could not look at each other without crying.

SB: I can imagine. Next up is the reception. How did you decorate?
J&H: With the help of family and friends! As a group, we did all of the decorating and prep, from growing our own flowers to cutting placemats out of burlap. Heather’s mom even made the cake. We had really cute cake toppers too—a hen and rooster, of course!—but we forgot them.

SB: Oh no! I’m sure you’ll find another place for them. What was the vibe of the reception?
J&H: It was very laid back. We wanted our guests to feel comfortable, to just be able to enjoy dinner and each other’s company. From our first dance—Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”—to the last, people were having a great time. At about 4am we could still hear music playing from our “honeymoon suite”—a.k.a. our tent—about 500 yards away.

SB: Sounds like a wonderful day. It’s hard to narrow it down, but try to describe the whole day in 5 words or less.
J&H: Perfect, amazing, real, love, fun!!

SB: Lovely. Now John, you are a photographer here at Shopbop. How did that influence the process of selecting someone to shoot the big day?
J: As a photographer, many of my friends are photographers too. I had worked with Cory many times and we are pretty close. Heather and I both knew he would be the perfect fit.

SB: How involved were you on the day in setting up shots and asking for pictures of things?
J: We let Cory do his thing—he is very talented.

SB: Did you take any pictures that day?
J: Yes, I took a few pictures before the ceremony while getting ready, and then busted out the camera later that night on the dance floor.

SB: Awesome. Did you learn anything from being on the other side of the lens that would be helpful to future brides?
J: Yes, I realized how hard it is to smile for a million pictures, when there is so much going on around you. My advice is to try to relax and stay in the moment. It all goes by so fast, and you want to be able to remember it all.

SB: That’s so true. All right, last question. What is the most important thing to look for when picking out a wedding photographer?
J: Compatibility. You will spend so much time with them on what is such a huge, important day. You have to be comfortable with that person.

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Thursday, December 19th 2013

Holiday Heels from Casadei

From holiday fêtes to New Year’s Eve, party season is in full swing, and one surefire way to make a festive impression is with a killer shoe. Cesare Casadei, creative director of designer shoe brand Casadei, knows a thing or two about crafting a statement sandal. We talked to him about the origins of the brand and what goes into a Casadei design.

SHOPBOP: Casadei started out designing sandals for fashionable vacationers on the Adriatic Riviera. How has the collection evolved since then?
CESARE CASADEI: The brand Casadei was founded in 1958 by my parents, Quinto and Flora Casadei. Since the very beginning, we focused on quality, research of design, and use of innovative materials, proposing collections entirely made in Italy. This approach has not changed. Of course, there has been an evolution in style. I always look to the future to find new forms, materials, and structures that can give the woman who wears Casadei shoes new emotions.

SB: All Casadei shoes are proudly made in Italy. How important is that to your company heritage?
CC: I’m very proud to preserve the company’s heritage and to uphold its complete in-house production at the headquarters in San Mauro Pascoli. This way, we control all our production, giving to our customers a product that is 100% made in Italy.

SB: What makes a Casadei shoe special?
CC: For me, the most important qualities that make a shoe design special are the combination of brilliant ideas in terms of innovative structures and materials, sense of aesthetic and proportion, as well as technical skills in the art of footwear. Our aim is always to create elegant and sophisticated styles with a perfect fit.

SB: It’s holiday party season, and the statement-making detailing on Casadei shoes makes them perfect for special events. Which styles would you suggest?
CC: For the holidays we propose any of our elegant sandals—for example, the Strappy Stiletto Sandals in black are beautifully highlighted by gold metal details.

SB: Any styling tips to really showcase a perfect pair of pumps?
CC: It depends on the woman who is wearing and interpreting them. For me, style is something very personal.

Shop Casadei shoes.

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Tuesday, December 10th 2013

Exclusive Interview: Gift Ideas from Melinda Maria

Jewelry designer Melinda Maria has a profound passion for jewelry. It’s evident in the incredible detail and quality of each one of her pieces. The Goddess Collection specifically uses semi-precious stones and 14k gold plating as a tribute to the inner beauty and power of women. They also happen to make a fantastic gift! We spoke to Melinda about her creative start, perfect presents, and her inspirations.

SHOPBOP: Your start in design came at the expense of your mother’s jewelry box. What drew you to re-crafting her pieces?
MELINDA MARIA: I have always suffered from what I like to call "Shiny Objects Syndrome." As long as I can remember, jewelry has been my passion and my obsession. I found that I was drawn to the warmth of gold, the sparkle of diamonds, and the rich color of gemstones in my mother's jewelry box. I often took it upon myself to modernize some of her pieces by pulling them apart and recreating them. The process always brought me such joy!

SB: The Goddess Collection is truly a celebration of women. Where did the inspiration for this line come from?
MM: My aim was to create a beautiful keepsake charm collection that was centered around the strength of women. I wanted each necklace to tell a story and to remind us all of some of the special qualities that women inherently possess. I have always surrounded myself with amazing women who I consider to be true goddesses.

SB: The detail and craftsmanship of designs are incredible. How do you achieve such a high quality?
MM: As a jewelry designer, ultimate craftsmanship and design is something that I strive for with each new collection. Our quality control after the collections are completed is rigorous, with the utmost attention to detail. Since the start of my line, one of my main goals has been to have customers who become collectors of Melinda Maria. In my experience, I've found that this is only possible if each and every piece is well-made and wears well.

The MELINDA MARIA Goddess Collection.

SB: The Goddess necklaces make a perfect gift. Who would you give each one to?
MM: The Goddess of Sisterhood pendant is for every woman in your life. To me, sisterhood means developing meaningful relationships with one another. I believe that all women are connected, and we need to be supportive of each other. It's truly amazing what a room full of women working together can achieve! Nothing can replace the relationship between two women who want the best for each other. The Goddess of Love pendant is the perfect gift for that special someone you just want to wrap your arms around. It's for mothers, daughters, sisters, and best friends who have been there for you through thick and thin. The Goddess of Power pendant is a great way to remind someone of the strength they have within themselves. This necklace is the ideal piece to give to someone who needs support, providing a reminder for her to be fearless in her journey.

SB: If you could give one of the necklaces to any woman in history, who would it be and why?
MM: Oprah has had an enormous impact on my life. I would give her the Goddess of Power pendant. The tagline for this goddess is, "No one can diminish your personal power." Coming from a small town in Washington state, I always had big dreams. Whenever I would set goals for myself, I aimed higher and higher, thinking, "Why not me?" Oprah is the perfect example of that. She had all the odds against her, but never gave up. She built a global brand and network from nothing! Her story is beyond inspiring to me. Because of her, I realized that everyone has a past, but it's the future that you can write for yourself.

Shop MELINDA MARIA jewelry.
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Friday, December 6th 2013

Get Handsome. Pop Up Flea & East Dane

Above: A selection of Michael & Randy's picks for Pop Up Flea on East Dane. Below, Randy Goldberg and Michael Williams.

This weekend will mark the seventh installment of Pop Up Flea, a unique menswear event founded by Michael Williams and Randy Goldberg. The event will take place at 82 Mercer St. in NYC, as well as online at We took a minute of the guys’ time to ask them about PUF.

EAST DANE: For the uninitiated, tell us a little about the Pop Up Flea.
RANDY GOLDBERG: It’s a one-weekend-at-a-time menswear store full of interesting items and staffed by good people. It's like a pop-up shop in the sense that it only lasts for three days. It's like a flea market in the sense that vendors rent a space and man their own mini-storefront.

EAST DANE: Where did the idea come from?
MICHAEL WILLIAMS: The Pop Up Flea was born, like many good things, over cocktails in Manhattan. We wanted to have a store, but we also wanted people to have a chance to meet and talk to the designers that make the stuff they love and wear.

EAST DANE: This weekend (December 6-8) marks the seventh installment of PUF, and it’s your biggest yet. Who can people expect to find there?
MICHAEL WILLIAMS: We have a lineup of over sixty different brands and vendors. Everyone from accessories designer Alexander Olch to Billykirk, plus bigger brands like Filson and Levi's Vintage Clothing.

EAST DANE: Any vendors you’re extra excited about this time around?
RANDY GOLDBERG: We're excited about everyone that is coming. We only invite great brands to participate. The litmus test is: Would we want to wear these clothes? All killer, no filler.

EAST DANE: We signed on as your online partner for the event, a first. How do you think East Dane fits with the PUF feel?
RANDY GOLDBERG: There's a lot of common ground between us and East Dane in terms of what we care about—well-made things, a great shopping experience, unique finds—so it's a natural partnership. Plus, we never thought in a million years PUF product would get the Amazon Prime treatment. That’s next level.

EAST DANE: How'd you choose the product that you selected for East Dane? Was there a guiding principle?
MICHAEL WILLIAMS: We have a supercomputer that computes a unique Pop Up Flea handsomeness algorithm that we had developed for this special East Dane shop. It chooses the most mathematically handsome selection of garments. Just kidding. We choose the stuff that we want to personally have in our closets. No computers, no robots, just good old-fashioned menswear.

Shop Michael & Randy’s East Dane picks.
Learn more about Pop Up Flea.

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Tuesday, November 19th 2013

Exclusive Interview: Julie Haus and Jason Alkire of HAUS ALKIRE

Drawing from the rich creative sources of graphic design and fashion, husband-and-wife design team Julie Haus and Jason Alkire created the innovative label HAUS ALKIRE. We talked with the couple about the origins of their brand, the importance of local production, and the inspiration behind their latest collection.

SHOPBOP: HAUS ALKIRE started as an underground project. How did that influence your designs?
JULIE HAUS & JASON ALKIRE: We began by making one-of-a-kind pieces for private clients—pieces they would treat as collector items. So, our design philosophy is to be distinctive and to live up to that original uniqueness in each garment. We develop and use complex textiles, precious materials, and our own prints, each of which is a painting, drawing, or photograph by Jason.

SB: You merge fine art with fashion design. How did you first come up with this concept?
JH & JA: We were looking for something personally fulfilling that we could build together, so the concept was a natural fit for us, as we have experience in those fields.

SB: HAUS ALKIRE originally specialized in made-to-order pieces. How do you maintain that level of uniqueness now?
JH & JA: We approach our select retailer clients the same way we approach the made-to-order clients of our own shop in New York. Each season, we personally sit down with your buyer, Justin, and discuss how we can make special pieces just for Shopbop. Therefore, most of the pieces you see on the site are limited editions, or in many cases the only pieces in existence.

SB: What is the one HAUS ALKIRE item every women needs in her wardrobe and why?
JH & JA: The Maldonne Blazer, because of its poetic and timeless take on the classic tuxedo jacket.

SB: All of your designs are made in Manhattan. Why is that important to your brand?
JH & JA: Unfortunately, in this mass market, cheaper/faster, knock-off world, the US fashion trade is eroding. Every time fashion is imported it means a bit of the American industry is being exported. We feel a sense of duty to do something to counter this. For that reason, and our emphasis on quality control, we design and manufacture here.

SB: Can you explain the inspiration behind the fall/winter collection?
JH & JA: We spent the wake of Hurricane Sandy in darkness, and it was really a visually stimulating experience. That experience is at the soul of this collection. The colors, prints, and textures came directly from our life during this time. The prints on Shopbop are artworks of a banksia flower photographed by candlelight reflected in an antique mirror, an abandoned Washington Square Park scene, and an image of an entire SoHo street block with one apartment lit by candles. The collection also explores texture through the use of exotic eel and anaconda skins, flat textured furs, washed crepe silks, cashmeres, fused wools, and the hard surfaces of Swarovski crystals.


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Friday, November 15th 2013

6 Questions for Todd Selby

The man behind, Todd Selby.

Todd Selby launched The Selby in 2008 as a place to post photo shoots he took of his friends in their homes. Five years later, has showcased the stylish lives of countless tastemakers, spawning two books: The Selby Is In Your Place and The Edible Selby. A third volume, Fashionable Selby, is set to publish in 2014.

We partnered with Todd on an exclusive set of notebooks featuring his illustrations, available on Shopbop and East Dane, and here, we took a few minutes of his time to find out what makes the man behind The Selby tick.

SHOPBOP: Tell us a little about the origin of
TODD SELBY: All people are curious and I'm definitely one of them. I love meeting people, seeing there spaces. I just started taking pictures of my friends and their spaces and everything fell into place from there.

SB: You worked on an exclusive set of notebooks for Shopbop and East Dane. What made you land on the sketches you drew for each sets’ covers?
TS: I wanted to do something fun and lighthearted and thought these designs would hit the spot.

SB: You’ve published two books, The Selby Is In Your Place and The Edible Selby, and recently announced a third to come out in March, Fashionable Selby. How did you go about editing photos and features that were included in the books?
TS: I traveled all around the world to find great people for each book and then worked with my editor at Abrams to see what fit together and what didn't for the final edit.

SB: How are the books different from your site? How are they similar?
TS: You have to do a lot more editing when you make a book. With a website, you can put as much content up as you would like.

SB: If you could visit the home of anyone, historical or contemporary, who would it be? Why?
TS: Lil Wayne, because he's my inspiration.

SB: In the spirit of The Edible Selby, which just hit Shopbop and East Dane, what is your favorite meal and who would you most like to eat it with?
TS: My favorite meal would be wine and cheese with my fiancée Danielle Sherman at the Osteria Senz'Oste in Valdobbiadene, Italy.

Shop The Selby for Shopbop.
Shop The Selby for East Dane.

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Friday, November 8th 2013

Exclusive Interview: Vika Gazinskaya

Photo by Vanessa JackmanMoscow-based designer Vika Gazinskaya’s self-named label has become an editor favorite, thanks to its clean lines and unique construction. For the fall 2013 season, Gazinskaya stripped her line of color, designing in shades of black, white, and grey, and the results are as lively and forward as the brightest of collections. We talked to Gazinskaya about the advent of her brand, street style, and her Russian influence.

SHOPBOP: Tell us about what drew you to fashion and what inspired you to launch your own collection.
VIKA GAZINSKAYA: I’ve wanted to be a designer since I was 16 years old. It’s just in my nature, despite coming from a family where no one had an art education. It seemed impossible at the time, especially coming from Russia, but here I am!

SB: If you had to describe your collection in just a few words, which would you use?
VG: I would say whimsical, special, and sculptural. Feminine, but still with the edge.

SB: How does your own style influence your label’s aesthetic?
VG: I do not know, actually. I just do what I do!

SB: This season, you moved away from bright colors and chose instead to work with a more neutral palette. What was the reason behind this shift?
VG: I try to reach something new with each collection—to work in unusual textures, shades, or prints. In the end, each one is a bit different but maintains my signature look.

SB: Your designs have a very sculptural feel to them. What inspired this signature aesthetic?
VG: I love architecture—no matter if it’s old, ancient, modern, or brand new. When I go to a new city, I walk around for hours just looking at the buildings. They all have something to say! Architecture gives me a unique understanding of volume and form, as well as texture and color.

SB: Is there someone you’d love to see wearing your designs?
VG: There are so many, but I’m just as satisfied when I see any happy woman wearing my dresses!

Shop Vika Gazinskaya.

Photo by Vanessa Jackman.

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