The lovely Erin Fetherston paid a visit to Walnut Creek, CA’s spanking new Neiman Marcus—it just opened on March 9—on Wednesday for a little meet and greet with her loyal East Bay fans. Fetherston, after all, grew up in the Bay Area, and went to Piedmont High (I had no idea!). So there was a lot of love on the very shiny second floor of Neiman’s, where the designer personally introduced each look in her spring Erin by Erin Fetherston line. No matter that she’s already on to designing her Spring 2013 collection, she was just as enthusiastic about this season’s creations as if it were the first time she’d presented them. Fetherston looked beautiful in her own white lace and silk design with hair swept to the side in lieu of her signature straight-edged bangs. She was gracious with the fawning crowd, taking questions after the presentation and chatting with them afterwards. I asked if California still inspired her designs, and she said yes indeed, but that Paris glamour (she lived there for 5 years) and the fast pace of New York (she lives there now), are also big influences. Here’s a great tidbit from the public Q&A on her fave designers:
(Christian Lacroix’s designs are) truly art. He’s truly a master. So from the creative perspective I love that. On the other hand I love Chanel and what Coco Chanel created. She really created a visual code that has endured and is still relevant. I love my Chanel bag as much as the next person. In a more contemporary context, I really admire… Diane Furstenberg and Tory Burch, women who really built a brand around having a perspective and having a lifestyle and wanting to make that accessible.
And now for my (brief!) one-on-one sit-down with Ms. Fetherston!
Stylenik: Where did you get your inspiration for the butterfly motif?
Erin Fetherston: Well, I always love a butterfly. Specificaly for this collection I was really wanting to tap into the energy of the ’60s. I had seen this photograph of Mia Farrow going to the Truman Capote Black and White Ball in 1960s wearing this gorgous butterfly mask and super-chic little shift dress. In a way it was the jumping off point in terms of inspiration for this season.
Sn: Can a shorter-in-stature hourglass shaped woman like myself look good in a shift dress?
EF: A bigger shoe can balance it out. I actually have to say I think it depends on the fabric. There are a few in this collection that are cotton pique and I think that works. Sometimes when people are thicker in their midsection they tend to have smaller limbs and I think that’s a great silhouette for them. It can be super flattering. For someone who has a nice waist I would go into more of the fluid fabrics. Like the shift dresses in silver crepe for example. But I don’t like to give rules. I think you have to try things on. Sometimes it’s just about having the hem shortened or a bigger shoe to find that right balance.
Sn: Where do you think California fits into the international fashion world?
EF: I feel like fashion is completely being dictated by young Hollywood. In a way what sells clothes are those weekly magazines. That’s very California, West Coast driven so I think that California totally has its place in the landscape.