Tanya Taylor saw her sales triple for spring 2015 — with new retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom and more Saks Fifth Avenue locations on board — providing more exposure than ever before for her three year old ready-to-wear brand that counts Michelle Obama and Lena Dunham as fans. In mid-August, Taylor will add another critical retail point to her list by launching her own e-commerce business.
"I think we’re responding to what’s working and building on it," said Taylor at the preview for her second resort collection on Wednesday, explaining that she is eager for more selling data. "I’m more than willing to design and understand what people are responding to. You want to know what someone's looking at but not buying." The site will be designed by New York agency Wondersauce, which recently created the e-commerce platform for newly launched swimwear label Bikyni.
Feedback from retailers on her spring collection informed the design of her resort offering, which features a range of knits (which make up 40 percent of her business at retail) and embroidered shirts, which she calls basics with a twist. "It's a button-up but it has detail and personality," she said. "It feels like you could wear it over something like a cool coat or buttoned up, more polished. It has that versatility."
Taylor also shed some light on why she thinks her knits perform so well, saying they're unlike anything else on the market right now. "They have this delicate feeling to them, almost like an old-school feeling," the designer explained. "Older knits had that detail. That's why my mom likes to wear them." The collection also features thicker alpaca sweaters made in Peru with a chintz finish produced by heat-pressed embroidery.
In addition to the colorful prints she is known for, Taylor wanted to provide more neutral options this season. "We needed neutrals that could go back to our prints, that could really tone everything down," she said. Instead of black and white, colors she already uses in her patterned dresses and knits, she felt drawn to olive and light pink. "They feel so soft together."
This isn't to say that she plays it completely safe with resort: Taylor used lace for the first time as an accent on slip dresses and channeled a bohemian aesthetic with long, flowing georgette dresses. She also designed an embroidered peony accented with long tassels that appears on several pieces. "This nutty embroidery — it's maybe my favorite thing ever," she said. "There's something about how color is streaming in the tassels that reminded me of how when a cloud settles, there is that dripping vibe."
Despite the funkier elements, Taylor said she wanted to focus on what her customer would consider an "essential" from the brand for the resort collection. "We’re never going to do something super-basic, but we can do things that are clean and still have texture," she said. "You have an opportunity between the collections to do something a little more real, a little more natural."
See Tanya Taylor's full resort 2016 collection in the gallery below.