An exclusive sketch from Rebecca Taylor's upcoming Spring 2013 collection. Photo courtesy of Rebecca TaylorWe've barely begun thinking about fall boots and coats, but designers are already set to unveil their spring 2013 designs at New York Fashion Week. In order to make sense of this whirlwind, we caught up with Rebecca Taylor, one of our favorite New York-based designers, to give us an exclusive sneak peak at her upcoming spring collection and her take on current and upcoming trends. She also discussed the fashion impact of her most famous supporter, Kate Middleton. Check out our interview below and imagine it all in Taylor's lovely New Zealand accent.
Shine: Hello, Rebecca! I can't imagine how busy you've been with your show coming up on Saturday. How are you holding up?
Rebecca Taylor: We are just beyond swamped. It's a little bit nutty here at the moment because of course there's the show but then our entire (fall) collection needs to be ready for line open. It's very hectic and it's all about multitasking.
S: What was your inspiration for your spring collection?
RT: I wanted it to feel very optimistic. It's got a lot of color like bleached out florescent orange, really bleached out pink. It has a really summery feel. I keep thinking of Don Henley "Boys of Summer." It's like being in your car, the windows rolled down, the wind, and playing your favorite music. It's got a touch of Hawaii to it. I wanted this collection to feel easy, breezy, casual, but polished with waist definition.
S: What fabrics and prints are you're using?
Rebecca Taylor backstage (note her cat logo on the step and repeat). Photo by Getty ImagesRT: Bleached out denim. We have beautiful pigment printed chiffons with hibiscus prints. We have very, very sheer linen sweaters and colorblock. We've got a print I call 'Hawaii Five-O" which sort of has a Hawaiian feel to it.
S: If you had to pick, which piece is your favorite?
RT: We've got this one denim jumpsuit almost like a gas station jumpsuit really, really bleached down. I love that with a little neon t-shirt underneath it and high heels.
S: When you're saying bleached down do you mean like stone wash?
RT: [Laughs] Yes, like a stone wash, yeah. I'm from the '80s, so it's weird to say that, but it does definitely hearken back to that.
S: What type of trends do you see emerging for spring?
RT: I think the bleached out denim is going to be huge. I think that Hawaiian-type tropical prints are going to be huge. I think black and white stories are going to be really popular. Pantsuits are going to continue to be really popular. And jackets! I don't see any cardigans anywhere, so jackets and more structured pieces.
S: Do you find you prefer designing spring collections better than fall?
RT: I have no favorite. I love fall as well because of the more interesting fabrics you get to use. A lot more layers, a lot more texture. My spring collections tend to be more about color, body shapes, and things like that.
An on-trend python dress and bomber jacket from Rebecca Taylor's Fall 2012 collection. Photo by Getty ImagesS: What about fall? What's going on in fashion this season that you like?
RT: I'm really into colored bags, but what I'm looking for myself that I don't have in my wardrobe and I think what everybody needs, is a colored bag like a bright blue or a deep sea green color, a man's style coat that has feminine proportions and luxury fabrics, and boots. I want a little bootie, but I'm finding they're all a bit chunky. I want a pointed toe and a pointed heel that's a little bit refined and a little bit sexier.
S: What do you think about the current state high heels? Our readers often complain about extreme heel heights on the market, and I don't know how wearable they are for most people.
RT: I go to stores and I see them all high, but I don't really know who's wearing them. In my retail stores they say everyone is looking for something a little bit lower. Two inches for me in the magic height. And a pointy pump--I just think that's so chic.
S: What are the hot items in your boutiques right now?
RT: We're selling, at the moment, things that feel very designer and very elevated like leather trims, zippers, things that feel very high fashion. It used to be that people wanted the quieter pieces, but now they want more. They want the whole deal.
S: Why do you think that is?
RT: I don't know. I do analyze it. I feel like because of the internet and this whole blogger style thing and street style. People get dressed up to get photographed on the street and everybody is at home reading these blogs and they just feel like, 'well, if they can do it then why can't I do it?' you know? Everyone wants to join in the fun.
Celebrities like Michelle Tractenberg, Kristen Bell, and Mena Suvari (pictured here front row) are fans of the …S: Some fashion critics have recently said there are no new trends, that trends are passe, and that fashion keeps recycling old ideas. As a designer, what would you say to that?
RT: For me I think there is newness, for sure, but I feel like it's getting so fast and we don't really have time to just sit on a trend. Like peplums are huge, retailing so well for us, and I still really believe in them. They're really relevant people love them. So do we have to move on because they've already been done six months ago? Can we not just enjoy it for a little bit? Everyone needs to just calm down. There's such a demand for new products in the store every month now, and if it's not completely different every time...the expectations have just gotten quite unrealistic.
S: That's so true! When we think back to the '80s we can group together certain trends that were present for many, many years, but now each season we're just changing it up so quickly.
R: Yes, exactly.
S: I'd love for you to talk more about styling. What's the best way if you're feeling blah when getting dressed to add some impact to your outfit?
RT: A great new shade of lipstick. I have a lot of lip glosses and lipsticks in many colors, and every time I'm convince this one is going to change my life. [Laughs] I think if there's one big thing that can make everything feel new it's a new bag. And it doesn't have to be expensive.
S: Do you have a go-to everyday uniform?
RT: Yes I have it on right now, because we had a long night last night. Skinny black Citizens [of Humanity] jeans faded out to gray with no whiskers or markings, they're a little bit cropped. I wear striped t-shirts all the time, and a jean jacket. I'm up and down the stairs, I'm in the office all day, I'm on the floor, so at the moment I'm wearing Bensimons [sneakers] and they're lemon. They're really cheap and they're something you can buy in a color and add a little perk to your wardrobe.
Kate Middleton wore a skirt suit by Rebecca Taylor that instantly sold out. Photo by Getty ImagesS: Which celebrities do you think always look great?
RT: There's the obvious ones like Gwyneth Paltrow. I always think she looks really refined. Anne Hathaway. Kirsten Dunst, I love her style. And I love Rashida Jones. She's just very cool and easy. There are a lot of young celebrities and new girls on the scene and I have to get familiar with them as some of them may be coming to our show.
S: I read you're opening a British store?
RT: That's not exactly right. We were over there looking for spaces but we didn't find one that we're happy with. For some reason the story has changed. It's a bit like telephone.
S: OK, but it is in the works?
RT: Absolutely. We're doing really well, so it's something we want to expand on.
S: Kate Middleton has worn your designs several times. Was there a boom when the Duchess was spotted in your clothes?
RT: Oh. My god. It was crazy. I've never experienced such an uptick in selling as when she wore the clothes. We were sold out in 30 minutes.
S: So people we seeking the exact items she wore?
RT: Yes, and anything similar too! We [put back into production] and shipped it out to anyone who wanted it. She is amazing. I'm such a fan of her. And, I mean, why would you ever want to do that job to begin with, really? I think that the royal family got really lucky with her.
S: Agreed. And lastly, cats have become hugely popular in fashion, from cat prints to Karl Lagerfeld's kitten getting her own fashion spreads, but all this time you've had a cat logo. Can you tell me a little about it?
RT: When I was in my 20s I was a big cat fan, and the two cats on my logo are supposed to represent myself and my business partner, Beth. There's always something super feminine about cats. I like the way they feel very independent, and they're kind of aloof. [Laughs] So I like what they represent. Dogs can be kind of goofy, cats feel just much smarter.
S: What is it like working with another woman on a successful female brand?
RT: It's great. We are really fortunate to have had such a successful working relationship for around 20 years. I don't think there's many people who can say that--I think maybe Betsey Johnson maybe had a partner--and absolutely neither of us could have done it without each other. It's a very symbiotic relationship and we understand 'I have to leave because I have t pick the kids of from school,' you know, which is something you wouldn't get from a male partner. [Laughs]
Stay tuned for coverage of Rebecca Taylor's Spring '13 fashion show right here on Yahoo! Shine.
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