New York Fashion Week: Backstage with Rebecca Taylor

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Rebecca Taylor, the New Zealand born fashion designer, hosted the media backstage prior to the presentation of her fall/winter 2008 line. Having been invited to have a one-on-one interview with the designer we met backstage at Mercedes-Benz IMG Fashion Week.

 

Janet Walker: Ms. Taylor, what's your inspiration for the line?

Rebecca Taylor:  Inspiration for the line was taken by looking at pictures.  I love the idea of when women are leaving a ball and they have on a beautiful ethereal dress and its cold outside so they put on their boyfriends coat or jacket and it's slightly oversized and the sleeves are pushed up. There is a great picture of Princess Diana, at a ball, one of her first outings to a ball as Lady Diana before anyone knew who she was and she was leaving by the front door and there was this lone photographer and he snapped her. She had on one her old coat with a ball gown dress.  I really loved that look.

JW:Are you more influenced by American designers or European?

RT:  A little bit of both: Maybe European a bit more.

JW:  And why is that?

RT:  I just think there is something wonderfully creative about the European designers. They exude artisticness and creative ability. American designers can be sometimes focused more on the commercial side because we have to make a living.

JW:  What treads do you see or like to incorporate?

RT:  A lot of boyfriend jackets, slouchy boyfriend coats, layers of prints and layers of chiffon. Just so they seem all very textured light and airy. It is a little tomboyish although when you see you see the line you say, 'there is nothing tomboyish in that', beautiful dresses, little shearling vests. Just layers and prettiness.

And with those four questions the interview was complete. The PR people were working on an extremely tight schedule and there were still others waiting to interview Ms. Taylor.

My camera crew was off filming beauty segments as the hair and make-up artists performed their magic on the models prior to the arrival of the dressers.  We moved from backstage to The Salon where the runway, for the show, was covered in gold shimmer.

The backstage interview gave a hint to the expectation of the line and in no way prepared any of those present for the dynamic presentation. A mixture of deep tone fall colors utilizing a palate of reds, navy's, and deep shaded floral against a black canvas fabric were unveiled.

As with all fashion debuts the house was buzzing as the lights went down and moved into an anticipation silence. The pulsating music hit the first beat and the lights went up. 

Ms. Taylor, debuted a low waist/hip slung flat panel front, wide flare, pinstripe pant that was attractive and, for women larger than most models, offer a slimming look both with the pinstripe and the flat panel front.

My favorite piece of the collection was a plum mid-thigh sweater worn over a floral print mini. The versatility of the sweater dress and the length allow for a solid interchangeable garment that can be worn alone with tights and boots, as shown with the mini and with leggings, and even coupled with the flat panel pant. It is a stand alone or combination piece for those with on a budget. The plum color is complimentary on practically anyone and creates a slimming silhouette.

The slouchy sleeve coat that Ms. Taylor spoke of with microdot white on black was attractive and will be marketed with the white faux fur color or without. The little shearling vests always a favorite to punctuate a look or create a statement were worn over a full length sleeve slip dress.

The garments were the canvas without the use of heavy trim or any attractive distractors for the creative foundation that Ms. Taylor wanted to convey. Her use of silks, chiffons and cashmere create the soft image with the heavy fabric of traditional wool reserved for the slouchy sleeve boyfriend jacket and double breasted coats.

In addition to the backstage interview and the debut, Rebecca Taylor has always been gracious with her time and showroom allowing selected media to return for a re-see. Fortunately for me, I am one of the media. Her show room is a fun place. Not that is like Google as a working environment but it is a fun place with the relaxed feel of creativity. There is never pressure to know the right fashion terminology although I am getting more fluent at garment language. 

Some of the garments in the showroom were not incorporated in to the fall/winter 2008 presentation. A very attractive black linen shift dress with zip side pocket and a back black bow clasp at the neck leaving a circle cutout just below the shoulder blades, along with a bolero black linen jacket and two additional pieces make this quad combo a must have for early fall late summer crisp autumn nights and warm fall days.

After walking through the line at the showroom I had a few moments to speak with Antonella, Rebecca Taylor's PR director who explained some details about the movement of Rebecca Taylor fashion around the world. In March, Ms. Taylor has a trip planned to visit the thirty-four boutiques throughout Asia. The fashions of Rebecca Taylor are dropped ship approximately nine to ten times per year with about one hundred pieces for the fall collection: Seventy pieces for summer and forty for the resort wear line. Rebecca Taylor also has a winter and holiday line that caters mostly to occasion dresses.

 

Photos courtesy of IMG Mercedes Benz

Special thanks to director Anna Wilding for Backstage Film and Interview Footage.

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