JCR: What do you attribute to the shifting consumer taste for self-expressive styles?
EC: To me, it is due to the weakness of creativity and originality currently in fashion.
JCR: Do you agree that the current jewelry craze is at the heart of the movement?
EC: It is an easy way to self-express — especially with vintage baubles — whether a person is tall, thin, plump, stylish, or classic, one can easily buy a piece of jewelry to make a unique statement.
JCR: Where else will consumers turn to stylistically set themselves apart?
EC: Unique dining experiences (i.e. Freemans), auctions (like the Madeleine Castaing auction currently at Sotheby’s Paris), cabinets of curiosities (flea markets for fashion and home buying designers which focus on creating one-off styles) and brands like Libertine and Undercover.
JCR: What does sexiness have to do with this new flair?
EC: Sexiness is walking into a room tall and proud because you scored the only vintage brooch in a London flea market and it’s on your lapel.
JCR: SEEDHOUSE is really about this kind of self-expressive fashion, how has your business changed as the movement begins to take hold?
EC: The vintage accessory portion of my business is on fire! We also make many customized gowns, coats, and bedspreads for those special individuals which is endless.
JCR: Do you think the movement will grow to a point where we’re seeing eccentric and over the top styles seen in the ’70s,’80s and early ’90s? Is it about fun with fashion again?
EC: A key point to note is that the jeans and t-shirt market did not exist during the specified eras, and this has taken over the current fashion climate. Many of the fashion retailers/editors now visit SEEDHOUSE wearing jeans. This is now acceptable, and to me very disappointing. I miss the days of fashion icons, like Polly Mellen, dressing up. Dressing up needs to be reinforced from the top. Please Anna Wintour and Robert Burke (Bergdorf Goodman’s fashion director), insist!
JCR: How will this new taste impact the way consumers are marketed to?
EC: It will make department stores rethink their ways of buying the same for all regions. Different regions will call for more customization per store like a specialty store does, and there will be more thoughtful buys — also, more events that bring unique items to the consumer, making one feel tres important and exclusive is the way to go, artisan days, etc. [Barneys New York is organizing such a day in early November.]
JCR: How will stores accommodate consumer taste for one of a kind, discreetly distributed products?
EC: They will create more urgency to come the first day, that first hour of a collection’s arrival. And of course you always feel special when you know there were only a few made of that bag, shoe, or coat vs. thinking I got one of 10,000, how unfortunate am I!
JCR: Can men compete? Are men generally more confident to express singular style?
EC: I don’t think men are as confident as women (maybe gay men compete) but straight? Certainly not. Men need to start appreciating jewelry more, large cuffs, brooches, etc. Eccentric styles? I do hope to see more of this, Zac Posen‘s style I do adore and I know he can lead others in this direction, and P. Diddy (is that his name this week?), keep your style outrageous!
JCR: You’ve worked with Azzedine Alaia, Dries Van Noten, and Lanvin, what’s the forecast for these types of brands in this climate?
EC: They will be more and more appreciated, as they do what they want and stay true to themselves despite the fashion of the times. I am happy to see their performance at retail currently. They are consistently with who they want to dress in their sizing, two key points to be successful at retail.
JCR: ls it a case of down with function, in with fashion?
EC: Sadly, function will not go away, people have gotten too casual and comfortable, please help Jason, natural born elegance is not so easy to find.
Photos: SEEDHOUSE by Krista Freibaum