Knit and leather accessories designer Lauren Urstadt
Lauren Urstadt began designing accessories for labels like Kate Spade and Betsey Johnson more than a decade ago. She launched her eponymous accessories line of luxe cashmere knits and boldly colored and embellished leather gloves in stores ranging from Bendel's to Blueberi this year, and earlier this month she unveiled her first stand-alone boutique in Soho. Look out for new ready-to-wear items come spring, like lightweight knit tank dresses and vests. We caught up with Urstadt in her newly opened store to hear about her most essential winter wares.
You sell your designs at places like Henri Bendel, Intermix, and Oak. Why open up your own store?
I wanted to showcase more men's pieces and unusual designs that retailers hadn't been buying, like the color block, racing stripe, and chain leather gloves. Everyone was selling out of the same fingerless knit gloves.
Are you worried about opening in this economy?
A lot of people from the neighborhood have been calling us brave, but I think if you have a unique, special product, people will buy it. People aren't buying mainstream basics right now.
Do you have a favorite item in the collection?
I would say the Flip — it's a cashmere knit shrug with a draping neck that can be worn as a scarf or a hood. I designed it to be very versatile. Either that, or the cashmere and lambskin leather gloves with silk lining.
Any style tips for men who are venturing into winter accessories?
Steer away from the norm and what's considered safe. Don't be afraid of color. Let your accessories make a statement.
How would you describe your personal style?
Relaxed with a rock and roll edge. I wear a lot of black, and I can't live without my motorcycle jacket.
Who are your favorite designers?
Yohji Yamamoto, Karl Lagerfeld, and Alexander McQueen. I really relate to the way McQueen incorporates hardware and accessories into his designs. They're very sculptural, but also so sexy.
What are your favorite trends for winter?
A nice thick neck warmer — cashmere is such a necessity. And I like pairing a thin jacket with extra-long, elbow-length gloves.
Which trends do you wish would go away?
Frilly, ruffly tops that are over-the-top girly. Also, eighties trends, like stirrup pants and high-waisted jeans.
Is there any trend you wish would make a comeback?
Seventies Brit pop: Tight jackets, skinny pants, and cool shoes. I love that hip London look.
Is there any item you're lusting after right now?
Chunky silver jewelry by Chrome Hearts.
What should every woman have in her closet?
Long black leather gloves, a black tank top, and high-heeled, knee-length black boots that are easy to walk in. Mine are from John Fluevog.
What's something you never leave the house without?
My Dr. Hauschka lip balm.
Lauren Urstadt New York, 79 Sullivan St., nr. Broome St.
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