- Nanette Lepore: A Return to Pretty -
If you’ve shopped the contemporary department at Neiman Marcus or keep up with the mainstays in American fashion, you’ve most likely run across the beautiful boho styles of American designer Nanette Lepore. She visited Houston earlier this year at Neiman Marcus with a Dress for Dinner event, and I was able to sit down with the woman who began her business from a $5000 loan.
Nanette grew up in Ohio always wanting to sew. At 12, she convinced her Mom to let take a sewing class and made a lot of her own clothes. Nanette remembers buying Betsy Johnson patterns to make wide pants and jackets that her sister would then take once she completed it. With 2 brothers and 1 sister (now mostly dancers) growing up to a painter and Professor of Fine Arts father, the creative process came naturally in their family.
With a $5000 loan from Dad, the Fashion Institute of Technology educated designer opened a store-front between a gas station and a soup kitchen in NYC. The designer explained that she started studying Fashion Merchandising, but a professor saw her potential and told Nanette she really should be at FIT. Thanks to the support of her father and a great professor, we now have the gypsy-influenced collections at our fingertips Nanette Lepore turns out season after season.
When I asked Nanette where the boho influences come from, she told me of a short time they lived in California. Her father was in love with the west and moved their family to California for a little while when she was young. In the process, her father convinced the rest of their family to move to the west coast as well, but when he took a Professor job in Ohio, Nanette and her family moved back east. Summers were still spent on the West coast with family, so Nanette had the best of both worlds. The Painted Desert was a must-stop for she and her family on their many drives out west.
Having dressed the likes of Isabella Rosalini, Uma Thurman, and Sarah Jessica Parker (who wore a Nanette Lepore dress on Sex & the City that was featured in Elle in 2012), Nanette Lepore is a well-known constant in the world of American made designs and is a big proponent for the New York Garment District. 90% of the Nanette Lepore’s collection is made in New York City. This talented lady is also married to a Professor of Art (set-up by her Dad) with a beautiful daughter named Violet. Creativity abounds in the designers family… husband, father, and siblings!
What was the inspiration behind Nanette Lepore Spring/Summer 2014? Nanette described the collection as edgy romance. Like the torn floral she wore during our interview, the collection is a sort of “return to pretty” with a more structured/different edge. The designer also added shoes, handbags, and swim wear to her robust collection which you can see on the models on the runway and scattered throughout the Nanette Lepore selection at Neiman Marcus.
I truly enjoyed my time with Nanette learning of her hard work and perseverance to the incredible designer she is today! The beautiful collection speaks for itself, but the amazing lady behind Nanette Lepore brought another level of appreciation for the pretty pieces we see on the runway.