News & Runway

Designer Dossier: Alice + Olivia

If you needed to describe the Alice + Olivia aesthetic, you could do it in two words: pretty, eclectic. Where other designers excel in downtown cool or fantasy attic confections, Stacey Bendet (the creater, designer, and owner) creates real girl down-to-earth looks are supremely wearable. Think of it like a high end version of Zara, Forever21, and Asos rolled into one. Each season, Bendet brings something new to the table while always retaining a "girls just want to have fun" feel. 

Though she studied French and International Relations at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania, she was preordained (it seems) to be a clothing designer. Her father ran a textile importing business, which no doubt was helpful when Stacey got her first inspiration to create clothing. It was the chance viewing of a stripe-patterned upholstery with a 70s rock star vibe to it that had her making a pair of pants for herself in similar fabric. What followed is a discovery fairytale. 

While wearing her pants one day, she was stopped by Lisa Kline (who owns an eponymous boutique) asking about the provenance of her legwear. She told Kline they were hers and was given an order for them virtually on the spot. A small capsule collection followed of just pants at which time Bendet met her business partner, Adam Rosen. She's expanded her collection year-over-year and now creates a full line of womenswear and has collaborated on a line of shoes for Payless. Her designs are sold in hundreds of stores from Barneys New York to her own Alice + Olivia boutiques. She's also a mother of two and a wife. Envy her success? Know that she's achieved it the old fashioned way, a dash of luck and a lot of work. Bendet gets up at 4:30 AM every day (starting with yoga) in order to deliver a unique take on girly trends gone upscale, season after season. Here are some of our favorite looks from recent collections.