In an era of placemat-sized mini skirts and skinny jeans that only suit waifs, New York designer Byron Lars has made a name focusing on dresses and jackets with curvy, feminine appeal.
No wonder first lady Michelle Obama often rocks his Beauty Mark by Byron Lars day-to-cocktail frocks and sportswear. The industry veteran (in business since 1991) also creates capsule collections for Anthropologie. Excerpts from a Q&A interview:
Q. Your styles have darts, tucks and boning to shape a womans figure. Why is this important?
A. I try to make clothes that make you feel better. And that kind of structuring helps a girl keep in full control of her assets.
Q. Whats your line like for fall?
A. I was interested in mixing in tough elements – sequins that look like python scales, pieces in a really good pleather. It drapes really well on dresses and skirts, and feels feminine but powerful.
Q. Youre known for well-cut-blouses. Whats the secret?
A. I have a really good fit model. And I also try to add visual elements that are slimming and flattering – ruching, draping.
Q. You also do a line with Anthropologie. How is it different from your main line?
A. The Anthro styles skew a little more eccentric. And its nice that the store can include a pretty comprehensive range of pieces – jackets, coats, etc.
Q. You designed a glam line of Barbies from 1997 to 2011. How was that different from doing womenswear?
A. With Barbie, youre tapping into a fantasy – shes got to be bigger and more fabulous than any real person. Shes kind of like Prince; you dont need too many of her rocking around in real life!
Q. What would you like to design that you havent?
A. Extended sizes! Right now my line goes up to size 12, but Id love to do women from 14 to 20. Many brands who serve these women just dial it in.