Her last name is one of the most well known in American history but Ariana Rockefeller is hoping her new womenswear collection speaks for itself. While the philanthropist and fifth-generation Rockefeller officially launched her eponymous lifestyle brand last year, her new Spring 2014 collection clearly shows the designer is just hitting her style stride.
"I'm inspired by what I want to see hanging in my closet," Rockefeller told me. "It's easy, comfortable, classic, and suitable for travel that requires layers." I caught up with the jet set All-American to learn more.
Julie Bensman: This is the second complete collection you've put out. What have you learned since doing the first one?
Ariana Rockefeller: To simplify while still enjoying the creative process. You don't always have to reinvent the wheel, or get bound up in too many details. Perfecting the pattern for a classic blouse and then mixing it up with different fabrications, colors, etc. is a way to keep things fresh, but maintain a classic and reliable line with fit and form.
JB: The new collection features some major pops of neon. Why do you think this is a trend we will continue to see?
AR: A pop of neon infuses any collection with a sense of fun. Wearing color states you are confident enough to be noticed (and confidence is beautiful!).
JB: Which are some of your favorite pieces in the new collection?
AR: I've been wearing the Nadia tunic dress and the Lila bow-tie blouse with jeans a lot. They're just so easy.
JB: If you could do a style collaboration with any brand, which would it be and why?
AR: J.Crew! I basically live in my line, J.Crew jeans, cashmere and T-shirts. It would be exciting to work with such a large company to bring my vision to a more mainstream level.
JB: New York Fashion Week Fall 2014 is coming up soon — which are your favorite shows each season?
AR: I always love Reem Acra. She made my 30th birthday gown and I admire her greatly as a designer. Her shows are always amazing productions.
JB: What's the best style advice you've ever received and from whom?
AR: From my friend and mentor Harlan Bratcher, who is V.P. of Armani Exchange. When I was starting my business, he said, "All you have is your integrity." You have real style when you stay true to yourself and your vision.