Women Designers

With Los Angeles becoming a creative haven for fashion designers, there is always a pool of talent rising to the top of the design ranks. Consequently, here, we’ve gathered some of the most fabulous women designers who are mastering their art and talent in everything from jewelry to handbags, denim, print and apparel, and chatted with them about their favorite hot spots, take on fall trends, inspirations and more.

Apparel

Katharine (Kat) Kidd
Founder, Katharine Kidd

This contemporary line developed “out of the search for personal identity and the desire to find a voice through creativity.”

WESTLAKE/WEST LUXURY MAGAZINE What designers typically inspire you?

KATHARINE KIDD Madame Grès, for being extremely innovative with draping and pleats, directly creating the pieces on a woman’s body. Gaby Aghion of Chloé, who introduced the idea of ready-to-wear. Stella McCartney, for her continued commitment to sustainability and cruelty-free fashion.

WLM What is your favorite fall fashion trend?

KK I’m always on the lookout for amazing jackets in the fall. With the cool L.A. nights, we are always ready to bust out a jacket or coat at any time.

WLM What do you never leave the house without?

KK Fashion-wise, I wear hats a lot! I love a good hat and also need protection from the sun. And sunglasses, of course. My mom has made it a tradition to give me an amazing pair every year for my birthday, so I have quite a collection.

WLM What item in your closet is your go-to?

KK I have various colors and alliterations of the classic jean jacket. They go with everything!

WLM Who would be your dream client to style for?

KK Pari Ehsan (Pari Dust) for the Art of Fashion and Michelle Obama—just because she is a role model for women and is very classic feminine while being fun with her choices. I think she would look amazing in KK.

Photograph by John Hong
Model Claudia Dumitru at Meraki Models

Leopard print organza “Tamika” v-neck dress with side panel detail; katharinekidd.com; $795

Leather

Staci Koondel
Designer Staci Koondel

An east coast girl living in L.A. and designing a hot leather apparel line that is on trend, minimal chic.

WESTLAKE/WEST LUXURY MAGAZINE What defines L.A. style for you?

STACI KOONDEL For me, L.A. style is really about being a little more relaxed. I was born and raised in New York but moved to L.A. 14 years ago. I tend to take my L.A. style and bump it up with a little NY flair. I think that’s why people always ask me to help them dress; they see how I take my L.A. casualness and make it look more chic.

WLM Where is your favorite place to go to in L.A.?

SK I love being near the ocean. Whether I’m taking my son skate-boarding at Venice beach or spending afternoons at Little Beach House Malibu, it’s inspiring to see all the culture, trends and individuality.

WLM What designers historically inspire you?

SK I’ve always appreciated the edgy, cool and beautiful designs of Saint Laurent but I can get just as inspired from vintage finds at the Rose Bowl flea market.

WLM What item in your closet is your go-to?

SK Any shoe with the highest heel I can find. And a leather jacket of course.

WLM Who would be your dream client to style for?

SK Amal Clooney. She’s everything in a woman—independent, a mom who has a successful career and a sophisticated yet fun style.

Photograph by Adam Keely
Model Stella Koondel

The Ash Jumpsuit, @stacikoondel; $1195. Shoes, designer’s own.

Denim

Melissa Ellin and Alicia Lynch
Founders For4NYLA

Denim designs (and some leather too) from two friends who perfectly style each pair with a swag of chain that takes the basic way beyond.

WLM Where is your favorite place to go in L.A.?

MELISSA ELLIN I love to spend the day in Venice. Abbot Kinney has diverse shops. You can always find something different there, a mixture of beach and street. And of course, great restaurants too!
ALICIA LYNCH I really love sneakers and I’m always looking for places to buy more—Sportie L.A. is a place I’ll always stop into! No trip is complete for someone who is bicoastal without an In-N-Out burger!

WLM What designers historically inspire you?

ME I am a bit of a tomboy so I gravitate towards present designers like Nili Lotan and R13. I love old Tom Ford and Saint Laurent.
AL I tend to favor a look that embraces feminine as well as masculine silhouettes, so designers like Jil Sander, Prada, Raf Simons, Isabel Marant, Chloe, Marc Jacobs.

WLM What is your favorite fall trend?

ME Pant suits for sure. I love the tailored menswear look mixed with florals and other patterns. I can’t wait to wear it this fall.
AL I really adore how styles from the ‘80s and ‘90s have made their way back. I recently bought a dress with strong shoulders and two rows of ruffles on the bottom—total ‘80s prom!

WLM What do you never leave the house without?

ME Lipstick. Even to the gym.
AL Lip gloss.

WLM What item in your closet (even if it dates back to high school) will you never part with?

ME My black Prada blazer that I bought in Italy in 1996. I love it and will never get rid of it!
AL Dates back to college—my nylon Prada knapsack!

WLM Who would be your dream client to style for?

ME That’s a tough one. Billie Eilish. I think she is adorable, love her music and I love what she stands for.
AL Hard to choose one! Hailey Bieber, Gwen Stefani…

Photograph by Mike Azria
Model Gabriella Rubbo, Nomad MGMT

4/4 iris zip crop in faded black, available at For4NYLA.com and SWITCH Boutique, 2954 N. Beverly Glen Circle, Los Angeles; 424.832.3184; $275

Handbags

Tyler Ellis
Creative Director and CEO, Tyler Ellis

Designed in Los Angeles, crafted by artisans in an atelier outside of Florence. Tyler Ellis, daughter of famed designer Perry Ellis, travels the world in search of extraordinary materials.

WLM What defines L.A. style for you?

TYLER ELLIS I’m a huge subscriber to L.A.’s casual chic vibe! In order to look great, you must feel great. I’m always in comfortable clothing, whether it is a super cute mini dress or pair of jeans and a vintage T-shirt. I love accessorizing with sparkly flat sandals and one of my signature Lee Pouchets in crushed velvet.

WLM Where is your favorite place to go to in L.A.?

TE My husband and I love to go to the Chateau Marmont for date night and dine in the romantic garden. When I was in college, I used to live there while visiting L.A., so it’s full of memories and I will definitely continue to make many more!

WLM What designers historically inspire you?

TE Chanel. I love and admire Coco Chanel’s timeless eye. I aspire to create pieces that my granddaughter will covet and will remain relevant for generations to come.

WLM What item in your closet is your go to?

TE I have an oversized knit black-and-white Chanel button-down sweater scattered with crystals that I abso-lutely adore. I bought it while living in Paris around 10 years ago and still get stopped almost every time I wear it.

WLM What item in your closet (even if it dates back to high school) will you never part with?

TE My husband bought me a vintage Perry Ellis handbag from the ‘70s for our third anniversary. Its clean lines and classic shape is so similar to my design aesthetic! I never knew my father made handbags, so this piece is very special to me.

Photograph by Adrian Doza

Small Stella Handbag in Metalic Blue Lizard, tylerellis.com; $4,530 (Many bags are made-to-order and can be ordered via the website.)

Jewelry

Nikki Erwin
Designer, Established

Edgy designs for the fine jewelry market, this brand uses varyingdegrees and colors of gold for its pieces. The designer started creating custom pieces for herself then curated a line with these original designs coupled with new ones.

WLM What is your favorite fall trend?

NIKKI ERWIN Can’t deny that I’m really happy that sweatshirts are trending.There’s nothing better than tossing on acomfy sweatshirt and looking fashionable.

WLM What jewelry completes an outfit?

NE Gold chains. The more gold, the better.

WLM What does your non-work (weekend) uniform look like?

NE Vintage tee, black skinnies and sneaks.

WLM What item in your closet (even ifit dates back to high school) will you never part with?

NE My Chucks, Cortezes and Vans (on repeat).

WLM Who would be your dream client to style jewelry for?

NE Mr. T. He just gets it.

Photograph by Elizabeth Lippman
Model Meghan Wiggins

Double Hoop diamond earrings in 18k gold, $9,850Rings on top hand: Circle Surface Pave ring in 18k gold, $6,495;Heart Surface Pave ring in 18k gold, $5,700; Trio Pave ring in 18k gold, $13,800;Pave Bauble ring in 18k gold, $23,000; Circle Surface charm bracelet in 18k gold, $24,500Rings on bottom hand: Bauble ring in 14k yellow gold, $4,235;Reverse Trio ring in 18k yellow gold, $9,895; Circle Surface Pave ring in 18k gold, $6,495;Heart Surface Pave ring in 18k gold, $5,700; All available at establishedjewelry.com

Crochet

Dominique Calvillo
Designer, Namaste and Crochet

An L.A. based crochet collection thatpresents select styles and offers custom collaborations.

WLM What defines L.A. style for you

DOMINIQUE CALVILLO What defines L.A. style for me is diversity. I love that everyone in L.A. has such unique self expression through their fashion.The only way to fit in is to be yourself.

WLM What designers historically inspire you?

DC Crochet has been around for over a century but to this day must be done by hand. I have traveled all around the world working with women who know how to crochet and even though we come from completely different backgrounds andoften don’t speak the same language, this hand-done skill is such a strong connecting point.It is always so inspiring to see the different styles and techniques that have been passed down and kept alive in our modern world.

WLM What is your favorite fall trend?

DC Chunky knit and crochet sweaters of course! This year I will be designing a collection of cozy sweaters with a soft and easy bohemian feel.

WLM What jewelry or bag completes an outfit?

DC I have a collection of art deco vintage rings that I wear with every outfit. My favorite one is a round onyx pinky ring given to me by my grandfather who had great style.

WLM Who would be your dream client to style for?

DC Currently my absolute dream is to style for Disney’s live-action rendition of The Little Mermaid.I am so excited to see what Halle Bailey does with the role and can’t think of anything more fun than to design a mermaid-inspired crochet gown!

Photograph by Sandra Czarina
Model Kiara Imani

Seven Chakra Dress, namasteandcrochet.com; $5,225. Bolero Hat by Agnoulita Hats, agnoulita.etsythemeshop.com

Apparel

Lissa Zwahlen Thoeny
Designer, Aquarius Cocktail

This brand is based on the classic and simple silhouette of the T-shirt. Its take comes to life in perfectly layered pieces made from washed and dyed silk.

WLM Where is your favorite place to go to in L.A.?

LISSA ZWAHLEN THOENY Rooftop at Petit Ermitage.

WLM What designers historically inspire you?

LZT Coco Chanel for putting men’s clothes on women. Phoebe Philo for complete originality in modern clothing. Libertine (Johnson Hartig) for being the king of re-worked vintage.

WLM What is your favorite fall trend?

LZT I dread trends and can tolerate them only in tiny doses; that said, I’m a fan of the quilting and patchwork looks on the runway, and military is always the best neutral!

WLM What jewelry or bag completes an outfit?

LZT For jewelry, a personal piece that means something to you mixed with a statement piece and you’re good to go.

WLM What item in your closet (even if it dates back to high school) will you never part with?

LZT My home-sewn dress from a Vogue pattern that was signed by Andy Warhol.

Photograph by James Weir
Model Bailey Olivas/ Q Models

Leo Cardigan, $540, and Rhonda Star Cami, $280, both available aqcclothing.com and Jill Roberts stores in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Studio City. Pants, stylist’s own

Apparel

Julie Harrah
Founder/Designer Julie Harrah

Inspired by how she and her friends live and love to explore the world, this designer wants those who wear her pieces to feel fabulous in them, wherever they may be.

WLM What defines L.A. style for you?

JULIE HARRAH L.A. style is about elegance, ease and glamour. It is the epitome of what I try to represent in my JH Julie Harrah collection. I create modern day hostess wear that brings to life what I imagine Marissa Berenson and Diana Ross would wear to a party at Farrah Fawcett and Lee Major’s house. Clothing for the L.A. woman to look show-stopping while lounging on a daybed drinking a cocktail.

WLM Where is your favorite place to go to in L.A.?

JH Right now I’m loving San Vicente Bungalows. It’s the perfect combo of good taste, fun and no phones!

WLM What designers historically inspire you?

JH I am always impressed by Pauline Trigère and Malcolm Starr. More recently I’m loving Victoria Beckham especially when she wears her designs out and about. Her “post” Los Angeles look just hits it every time for me.

WLM What is your favorite fall trend?

JH For fall I am all about layering and blending style inspirations. Especially all the western outerwear and accessories. Layering chunky knits and long coats with a beautiful printed dress and styling with a great boot is the perfect fall look for me.

WLM Who would be your dream client to style for?

JH I love Alexa Chung! I know she has her own line but everything Alexa puts on she brings to another level. I started taking note of her more recently after a friend was complimenting her look. She doesn’t need my help but it’s always fun to collaborate with clients and get their perspective. I was blown away by her Met Gala look this year!

Photograph by Richard Harra

Capri Three Piece in Blue Brown Panel PolkaDot, available at julieharrah.com/shop; SWITCH Boutique, 2954 N. Beverly Glen Circle, Los Angeles; 424.832.3184; Fred Segal Malibu, 3822 Cross Creek Road, Malibu; 424.235.2668; $1,095

 

 

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