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First Resort: Erin Fetherston on Pleasing Pleats (and Prices)

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First Resort: Erin Fetherston on Pleasing Pleats (and Prices)

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Say yes to the dress, indeed. As I strolled into Erin Fetherston's first-ever Resort presentation for her contemporary line ERIN, there was no denying the focus on delicately embellished party frocks. And why not? The famously feminine designer is all about dreamy design, down to her A-list fan base (think Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, and Zooey Deschanel) and oft-copied blond bob (more on that later). As we were walked through the priced-to-buy lineup — most pieces hover around the $375 mark — we chatted with Erin about her inspiration, love of couture accents, and how she might have inspired Lady Gaga to hop on the girly-chic bandwagon (at least when it comes to her coif).

What was your general approach for this Resort collection? What did you want to emphasize overall?
I was mainly thinking about creating the best array of party dresses you could imagine. I wanted to make pieces that you would want to wear for New Year's Eve, or to holiday parties — or that you could even take forward into next spring. I think that's very reflective of my overall attitude for my line ERIN — it's about wardrobe-building pieces that are special. I like the flexibility of the resort/holiday season because I think it has many applications, and so I definitely approach it a little differently from fall or spring.

Looking around, I see so many interesting trims and treatments incorporated into these dresses.
One thing I really wanted to do — which I think is especially interesting for us, since we're doing ERIN at this price point — was to still bring in a lot of couture materials. I got really inspired by horsehair, for example. So it's sewn into organza or used as bows — even as a horsehair belt! Usually, horsehair is used as an interior construction, but there's something really beautiful about using it in an exposed way. It's just fun, and you can create directional silhouettes with it.

And, as usual, I spy many of your trademark feminine touches.
I wanted to bring in sparkle with a sophisticated approach — not blinged-out sequins!  It was also really fun for me to work with pleated materials. I did some all-over pleated dresses, but you can also use pleating as a fabric treatment, to create an embellished effect, or as an accent on a neckline.

The color palette here ranges from soft grays and pinks to deep navy — and there's even some salmon pink in the mix. How did you land on this range of hues?
This season I really wanted to explore pop colors. So there are a few dresses that incorporate the Erin Fetherston way of doing vivid pop color for day. [She holds up a navy number with a cascading, contrasting pink chiffon ruffle as an example.] For me, it's not about an all-over ruby red dress, but ruby in a pop. I also feel like that keeps things more seasonless.

I can't take my eyes off those little petaled skirts. And I actually recognize that style from a few seasons ago! Did you decide to reissue them for a specific reason?
Well, we have a very iconic image of Zooey Deschanel wearing the white petal skirt from Spring '07 that was photographed by Ellen von Unwerth. The photo hangs in my office. And every time people come in — press, buyers — everyone says, "That skirt is so brilliant. Why don't you do it again?" So we did! It comes in silk faille, and in the pleating, too. That bow skirt is a signature I'd developed before as well, as the follow-up to the petal version. [She points to a horsehair-trimmed miniskirt with oversized, draped panels in front and back.] I like novelty/fantasy skirts!

Do you have a personal favorite piece here?
[Fetherston points to the pleated, ruffled number she recently wore to the CFDA Awards] I mean, that one's totally my baby! There's always going to be a romantic, ethereal quality to my line — that's just who I am.

The fashion at this year's CFDA Awards was particularly amazing, I think. Speaking of that evening, I have to ask…did you get any one-on-one time with Lady Gaga?
I didn't, unfortunately! I think she's amazing. But I did find it funny that she came out with the blue bob this time…[She motions to her signature chin-length haircut, laughing.]

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