I first met Rosie Assoulin over a rowdy drunk dinner during Paris fashion week a few seasons back. The Man Repeller's Leandra Medine introduced us (the two are best buds) and over wine she told me that what she really wanted to do was design her own line but she was terrified to do her own thing. Fast forward about a year later and an email lands in my inbox proclaiming Rosie Assoulin as a talented young designer whose resort collection PR powerhouse KCD would be presenting. Rosie found her fashion balls.
Her debut collection for resort (she started with resort because it's "celebratory" and "spends the most time on the buying floor" she explained) is a really stellar mix of sportswear and evening wear that combines couture volumes and luxurious fabrics with an easy relaxed almost pajama-like feel. Assoulin used the word "easy" to describe many of the pieces. Silk pants come with a built-in tie that recalls a drawstring on pajama pants and certain jackets have extra pocket room so you don't have to lug a purse around. Assoulin's even putting out a wide leg pant she calls mall jeans (an homage to JNCOs)--you can't get more relaxed than that. The luxury is in the details: One striped evening dress is hand-painted by a Brooklyn artist; another is cut of individual strips of fabric, each strip has its own separate pattern.
I caught up with Assoulin to view her first ever collection and to ask her how she got over her fear.
Fashionista: So the first time I met you, you told me that you wanted to design, but that you were terrified to do it. But now here you are.. Rosie Assoulin: I never stopped being terrified. I'm still terrified--just about new things. But I found that if you can bring yourself to just focus on the next 24 hours then you can make yourself make those scary decisions. I feel like I'm in Gulliver's Travels.
How so? You know he was getting ready for this big adventure and he woke up and everything was tiny around him--castles and mountains and lakes and rivers--things that were supposed to be huge were little tiny molehills and he just walked right over them. That's how it feels a little. All of a sudden I'm here, it was just a molehill, not a huge mountain.
What happened between that night in Paris and now? What made you decide to finally do it? My friends and family giving me a good kick in the pants. And just understanding that there was no rational sense in my fear. This is something that I was truly meant to do. I couldn't get it out of my system. I couldn't do something else and feel fulfilled. This was the thing. I kind of don't even care what happens now. No [laughs] I want everyone to buy everything actually.
So tell me about the collection. All the fabrics are sourced from Italy and everything is made in New York. I really feel passionately about keeping all this here. It's the only way for a young designer to start in New York. You want that control and connection. One of our patten markers lives two blocks away and sometimes I just go over there with my son. It's fun!
What's your design background? I started interning with my husband's mom's jewelry company, Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel. I knew him before I started interning there but that's how we built our friendship and our relationship. I did that from when I was 14 to 18. Then I interned with Oscar de la Renta for a year, then Adam Lippes, then Brian Reyes, then Lanvin, then I did event planning for a year, and now I'm here.
Did you go to design school? I did for four months. And if I didn't leave they probably would have kicked me out. You know this all [gestures to her collection] came out of a place in me of me having to create my own way because I didn't do well in school. I had ADD. But I can hyper focus on this--that's how I know it's good for me.
Click through to see Rosie Assoulin's debut collection. And watch this name!