A secret: The first thing I bought when I moved to New York was a Charlotte Ronson dress. It was cream, with little flowers, and I wore it for two weeks straight, which seemed to make it cooler. I couldn't explain it to my then-roommates, but something about the tiny print, the a-line shape, and the pink label made me feel like I finally belonged in the city - pretending not to care, but secretly swooning. At different points, I felt like a Reading Festival VIP, a sister from The Virgin Suicides, and a Soho DJ. And this is the magic of Charlotte. Somehow, her simple clothes make you feel like the coolest girl in the world. Her famous addicts like Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan may not need help in that department, but for a girl holed up in Brooklyn, the feeling - and the dress - were priceless. Four years later, Charlotte has more clothes, more fans, and - yes - a favorite swear word. Get a glimpse of how she does it below...
Charlotte's muse and poster girl, Annabelle Dexter Jones, in a line from Charlotte's Spring collection. Annabelle is a college student, and also Charlotte's little sister. Let's do basics. How old are you; how old is your line? I'm 29 and Charlotte Ronson launched in the Spring of 2005... but C. Ronson, which was our first brand, that started in 2000. Have you always wanted to be a designer? Always... my mom is very stylish, and she would let me pick out her outfits when I was little... I was always dressing Barbie dolls or Cindy dolls, and making clothes for them... and Annabelle, my little sister, I would pick out her clothes sometimes. And I was always making collages. I was always interested in fashion and art, and I didn't quite know what, but I knew I wanted to do something. Did you train in fashion? No, I went to NYU and majored in Studio Art, but I had internships... I worked at Cynthia Rowley for a little while, and I interned at Bazaar, which is how I knew I didn't want to work at a magazine! It takes a while to figure out exactly what you want to do, and how to get there... everybody pays their dues. I certainly did.
Charlotte Ronson's Inspiration Board, as seen in her Manhattan studio. Your have a twin sister, Samantha [at right in the photo]. Does having a twin influence your style? Oh definitely. You're always grouped together with your twin, you know, you're always twins. So it was really important for me, even though we were treated as individuals at home... we even went to different schools, so it was like, we had double the friends but we were still twins. So my style was a way for me to distinguish myself from my sister. I was all about clothes, and I chose very girly things, very fun things... Samantha was more of a tomboy, but sometimes I wonder how much I moved her into that, because I was so girly and she needed to have her own style, too. Did you ever dress Samantha growing up? Yes, I dressed everyone!
Charlotte Ronson wedges. Charlotte says shoes "are the easiest thing to design because it's not about someone's body type, how a dress will fall depending on someone's height... it's just what you like to wear on your feet!" Tell us about your design process. Where do you start? Well having a store is great because we can look at things that have sold well in the past... Ah! You're the first person who hasn't said, oh I go on trips and I travel and come back with these inspirations... I wish I could go on trips! But all designers have a practical element, you have to, where you know what your customer likes and you want to make sure they have it... so the store tells us what's doing well, but you know, your customer and your buyer [for a department store or boutique] want different things. One of the hardest things for me is to choose who to listen to. Who do you listen to? Me!
Pieces from Charlotte's Spring collection And now, the Proust Questionnaire... which we wrote down on a piece of Charlotte's Hello Kitty Paper.... WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE WORD? Smitten. WHAT'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE WORD? Um, like... In fact, that's my least favorite. "Um, like," when they're used together. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE NOISE OR SOUND? Music. Not all music, definitely not all music... let's say, my favorite right now is my brother, Mark Ronson, his new album. WHAT'S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE NOISE OR SOUND? Techno music. WHAT MAKES YOU INSPIRED? Old movies, Bridget Bardot, and old family photos. WHAT MAKES YOU NEVER WANT TO WORK AGAIN? When I think that I could go on holiday to get "inspiration"... WHAT JOB WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE, OTHER THAN YOUR OWN? I really like to take pictures. I would like to take pictures as a job. WHAT JOB WOULD YOU NEVER WANT TO HAVE? I could never be a publicist, and I could never sell anything. I just don't have the personality. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SWEAR WORD? I don't know. Wanker? LAST QUESTION: IF HEAVEN EXISTS, WHAT SHOULD GOD SAY TO YOU WHEN YOU ARRIVE THERE? Are you kidding me? That's such a heavy question! Really? I have to answer that? That's crazy. NEVERTHELESS, IT IS PART OF THE PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE. But I don't want to die!