Industry Views - July 2013

Nanette Lepore Comes Home

Apparel fashion designer Nanette Lepore, known for fabulous prints, started her line in 1993. The following year, it was carried in Neiman Marcus. By 2000, the first Nanette Lepore boutique opened. During the next dozen years, the brand expanded to include shoes, handbags and swimwear. It is sold in nine brand shops, 120 department stores, 360 specialty shops and 19 countries. This year brings the debut during the September N.Y. Home Fashions Market of Nanette Lepore Villa, a home collection produced by Peking Handicraft, Inc. (PHI). Lepore shares insights into her style and entrance into “home.”

Why a bedding line and why PHI?

“Bedding is logical because I work so much with textiles and fabrics in apparel. I was dying to break into home.” [Lepore dipped a toe into the field with a limited edition rug collection several years back.]
“We love what PHI does. I saw what they did with the Trina Turk Collection and felt like they understood my brand. They don’t set limitations and they do get excited by beauty. I never hear ‘no’ from them!”

Are all the bedding designs derived from your apparel patterns?

“Prints in the future will be a mix of new designs and designs drawn from our archives. Some might be patterns we intended to use and didn’t. Some of the apparel prints we did use are lovely and we can’t reuse them in apparel, so they will come to live again in home textiles.”

What are hallmarks of your style?

“There is femininity in my clothing and a strong modern aesthetic with iconic references. Working with bedding is like getting dressed in a way. You have layering with bedding as in apparel.”

What’s next for you in home?

“One King’s Lane had a one-hit event for charity and we did towels for that. I’m a huge fan of gorgeous towels, so I’m excited to do that and also to continue on again with rugs in beautiful colors and patterns.”

Did you always know you’d be a fashion designer?

“My dad was an abstract expressionist painter. My grandfathers were a carpenter and a bricklayer. So growing up I was not intimidated to create.

“I have an eye for color and beauty. As a child, I just wanted to learn to sew, but when I grew up, I went on to study Spanish and Social Work in college.

“There came a point when I decided to tap into the ambitions I had when I was a child—that passion for sewing. I feel lucky that I was able to find that passion again in life for clothing, and develop and hone it.”

Paisley Medallion (shown above) from Nanette Lepore Villa is adapted from a shirt print in Lepore’s apparel line. See another collection design on p. 34.

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