Runway Recap: Meet the Team + Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at NYFW
We’ve officially recovered from the whirlwind that is New York Fashion Week… The best part looking back? Photos! Here, a few of our favorite moments from model fittings to styling, editing and of course, the magic that takes place backstage.
Best part? Before the show, STYLUST sat down with the styling team behind the Spring 2012 collection: Arianne Phillips, our stylist—also fashion editor, Oscar-nominated costume designer who has worked with Madonna for years and all of our favorite magazines (from Italian Vogue to Harper’s Bazaar)—and London’s Central Saint Martin’s grad + Rome native, Charles Benton, our consulting designer—who has worked with some of the greatest names in fashion, the likes of Giambattista Valli at Ungaro, Burberry, Givenchy, Theory, and now bebe. Here, they dish about everything from the collection’s inspirations, to their personal favorite looks to what it was like to work together. Read on for deets!
STYLUST: What was the inspiration behind the collection?
ARIANNE: The initial idea behind the show was the American ideal of femininity and the iconic woman hearkening back to an age of romanticism, like the Gibson girl. She personified a powerful, strong but romantic woman, which is very bebe. In order for us to tell our story, we created an updated, modernized version of what power and romance look like together. There is a sense of fun and ease to this collection. Manny and Charlie had this idea for it to be all white, so there is a purity to this romance.
CHARLES: Yes, I would say the styling is a vintage reference done in a very modern way. It really does celebrate the American woman, because it’s about independence. The color is replaced by texture. It’s not flat, it’s very three-dimensional. And the whiteness of the collection is a great thing, especially at times like this. It’s a message of hope, a message of lightness, and the collection follows through on that.
STYLUST: Who do you see wearing this collection, and where would she wear it?
CHARLES: It’s effortless… I can see a girl in NYC walking down Soho wearing something from our collection, and at the same time someone from California or someone in the Midwest. Anyone can wear this collection…
ARIANNE: Yea, it’s a very cool girl. There are dresses that can be worn to a wedding at the beach, a tea or cocktail party, or to work. There is a duality in these clothes and an urban aspect to the white… So you can see a girl in any city from Chicago to Miami to New York going from day to night—from the office to a great rooftop cocktail party. The white is very fresh and clean, and it’s beautiful on all skin tones. There really is something for everyone in this collection—all ages, shapes and sizes. Whether your thing is a long linen skirt, or a flirty short dress, or perhaps your version of white is a great pair of shorts with a jacket or a suit.
STYLUST: How did you approach the styling?
ARIANNE: It’s all about balance. First and foremost, it’s all about the clothes. Accessories have to add something to it… You can’t just accessorize to accessorize. I usually start with a lot accessories and then I start pulling them away depending on what informs the balance of the dress or suit.
STYLUST: What are your favorite details?
ARIANNE: Because the collection is one color, Charlie played with a lot of texture. We have a lot macramé and laces. The fabric is stretchy, more body-hugging, feminine and body-conscious. We used light fabrics like silks and trims. Everything is very organic but at the same time super elegant.
CHARLES: There is a lot of volume yet it really does show the body—even though you wouldn’t necessarily think so—because it’s so sheer. There are keyholes and there is a sexiness to it, but it’s not in-your-face, it’s very elegant. It’s a peek-a-boo sexy. There’s a flirtation to it. Very girly, but a sophisticated-girly.
STYLUST: What was it like working together?
CHARLES: We worked on the collection together for five months. Arianne was very hands-on. She gets it and has so much knowledge. She has an incredible eye, instantly knows what looks good and what doesn’t, and likes to work personally with the designer.
ARIANNE: I first started working for bebe six years ago and I relate to the DNA of it. I really admire and respect Manny Mashouf, the founder of bebe. I believe in fashion for everyone and I love that bebe is for everyone. It’s affordable and it follows trends in a way that is accessible to many people, and that is a political belief to me. We came up with a story much like working on a film, ‘What does she do in the 21st century? Who is she?’. That really appeals to me as a stylist. Charlie brings technique, understanding and construction. Manny brings cutting-edge trend ideas. We have fun—it’s a dialogue. It’s like play time. It’s a great team. Runway is inspirational and it inspires not only the bebe girl but everyone on our team.
STYLUST: What are your personal favorite looks from the collection?
CHARLES: The shirt dresses with the macramé detail. I’m also really into the bloomers…
ARIANNE: Favorite things are things that I would wear like the nylon anorak… White is challenging to wear, but I’m inspired by this collection. I also like the opening shirt dress, you could wear it with leggings or capri pants. I love the versatility in short dresses. I also love the finale dress—the fabric walks behind her. There are also lots of great lace and crochet detailed t-shirts that are very wearable, very modern. I’m obsessed with them, and the sunglasses!