Nanette Lepore has really been branching out lately--between her JCPenney junior's line L'Amour and new swim and home goods licensing agreements, it feels like a new era for the brand.
Lepore, herself, agrees. "I know, it feels like that on the inside too," she told us backstage. "It's funny you notice!"
Of course, the day was all about noticing her spring collection, which she dubbed "Neo Romantic."
"I was looking at the [Victoria & Albert] show about the Club Kid era but not wanting anything to feel '80s," she explained, "so it's a creation of the neo-romantic for our time."
Lepore's vision of the new neo-romantic (post-romantic?) was somewhat-contrarily influenced by a movement away from body-con shapes and the rising popularity of erotic fiction. "I'm kind of fascinated that everybody loves to read these trashy romance novels right now," Lepore said with a laugh.
So how did it manifest itself? In light, breezy pieces--embroidered net dresses, drawstring skirts--paired with structured, sexier looks in leather and tweed.
That idea of sexy mixed with floaty was nailed in our favorite look: a blush leather tank top paired with a blush lace top that felt perfectly effortless. But Lepore also loves bright colors and lots of print, which was a welcome relief from the stark black and white palette that has dominated the spring runways.
And the shoes--chunky and strappy, a Lepore staple--actually looked comfortable. A note about female designers: They actually design with women in mind. "I always think to myself, if I am not wearing it, then I'm doing something wrong," Lepore said. "I love to bring something home because it means I've done something right."