Rebecca Taylor, the New York-based contemporary fashion designer, breezed into Miami last week for an appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue Dadeland, and to scout potential sites for her first South Florida retail store.
Just as easygoing, good-natured and delightful as you would imagine from the look of her feminine frocks, flowy skirts and silky tops, the New Zealand-born Taylor said she was relishing a respite from the cold weather.
Wearing leopard print track pants and a textured, lace T-shirt from her own collection paired with Pierre Hardy sandals, she graciously sat down with us in the midst of her hectic day.
Q. Tell me about your designs — what inspires you?
We ship every four weeks and we make a lot of clothes, and in-between making clothes, I have three children, so I have to find my inspiration where it can get me. I read a lot; I watch a lot of movies. Living in New York is inspiring — I try to go to all the art galleries, up to MoMa, the Guggenheim, the MET. All the bookstores are amazing. If you can’t get inspired in New York, you might as well just give up in this industry.
Q. Would you describe your clothes as feminine, Bohemian?
Modern, feminine, versatile, easy.
Q. Are you a big fan of using color, especially for the spring?
Personally, I am not a fan of wearing color. Bright blue for me is one color that I feel — and this, in a sense, sounds so New York fashiony, but it is actually a neutral.
Electric blue, leopard, white, particularly white texture, these are all just neutrals that can really work with each other. I find color works really well when you need a special occasion dress and you want a pop. I know color is very important for the girl down here, because you guys have the weather for it.
Q. Is this your first trip to Miami?
It is. I am really, really excited to be here, like sort of out-of-balance excited at the office yesterday. It was 32 degrees when I left the house yesterday, freezing. And I got in the elevator and told everybody, “I am going to Miami!” and they are just looking at me, you know, I was like, OK, don’t share the excitement.
Q. I understand you are a big fan of Art Deco architecture?
Yes, where I grew up in New Zealand, a little bit north of us, there was a big earthquake in the ‘30s that kind of leveled [Napier] — actually, my grandmother was buried, but they found her. And they rebuilt the whole town in the 1930s sort of Art Deco, 40s-ish kind of vibe, and it really reminds me of New Zealand.
Q. I know you have stores in New York. Do you have others as well?
Yes, we have three in New York, we have one in Atlanta, and we are looking at opening one here. We are looking at different malls. A lot of people talk about the Design District, so we want to check it out. Bal Harbour we’re checking out. We don’t have leases or anything under contract. We also have two out in California, one in Scottsdale, Ariz., and in Westchester.
Q. What would be the time frame if you were to open in Miami?
The powers that be are talking in the next six months. We’re really moving forward with our retail expansion. It’s really giving us the breadth of product that we can sell, which may not be picked up by boutiques or department stores.
Q. Will that mean you will be expanding your line?
Absolutely. I feel that we could use more of a casual component to the collection. That is how a lot of America is dressing now. And I also feel, on the flip side of that, that we could do more event dressing.
Q. Any thought of going into accessories? Do you make shoes?
We do a few pairs of shoes. We’re doing more for fall, but only available in our boutiques. We’re expanding on that, and that is why the boutiques are great because we can use them as a testing ground for various categories. I am wanting to do more with accessories. We do some really beautiful embellishments on our clothes and I think that would work really well with very simply shaped clutches. Jewelry is something we are also looking at — just rounding out the lifestyle brand.