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If you, too, can't get enough of rising design stars who effortlessly blend Cali's casual coolness with Europe's effortless chicness, meet Katherine Feiner. After cutting her teeth at Burberry, Vera Wang and Preen, the Malibu-bred, London-educated designer launched her namesake luxury label late last year.
For her upcoming autumn/winter collection, the bicoastal talent took inspiration from LA's on-the-go lifestyle and her very own global travels. The result: a range of day-to-night dresses, fall-ready floral jumpsuits, delicately beaded tops and more comfy and refined pieces that would fit both Brit royalty Kate Middleton and American twee queen Zooey Deschanel. Stylish post-summer standouts include this dark floral Viola Dress, this drop-waist Rebecca Dress and this Style Scroll-worthy Ruthy jumpsuit. Priced from $125 to $290, the line's currently available for pre-order online and will land at Neiman Marcus this fall.
We got to know Big Apple- and City of Angels-based Feiner and picked her brain on her favorite pieces, how the LA traffic inspired her line and her top spots in LA to get her creative juices flowing.
Pieces from the designer's spring/summer '14 collection.
As an LA native, how has your hometown and Cali inspired your designs?
"It's all about the comfort and functionality. Being born and raised in Los Angeles, I know we all spend our fair share of time in our cars. I constantly find myself leaving in the morning, driving all over town for meetings, and then having no time to battle the traffic on the 405 or PCH to get all the way home to change before my dinner or evening meeting.
In my younger years, that meant that my car became my closet (you all know what I'm talking about)—but now I find that I need to leave in the morning feeling comfortable enough to be dashing in and out of meetings, and that my clothes could carry me into my evening plans (with a stealth change of heels hidden in my back seat).
That has definitely defined our obsession with functionality and transitional pieces. I personally try on every single garment that comes into our studio. I wear them out, jumping in and out of cars, wearing them day to night. If I find myself tugging on a neckline or pulling down a hem, it's back to the studio to be re-worked. Nobody in LA has time for that!"
Pieces from the designer's fall/winter '14 collection.
Who or what are your design muses?
"Travel is definitely my most important muse. I tend to use a recent trip or an anticipated trip as a guide for the kind of mood we want to create with our collections. Thanks to my childhood in LA, I associate happiness and contentment with being under the sun, covered in sand and next to the Pacific Ocean. Even through my college years in Europe, this is what I always thought of as my core.
When we start a design process, I always step back and think, 'Where do I want these clothes to take people?', 'Where will they want to wear them?', 'What kind of experiences will they have in these clothes?' This can materialize in everything from our silhouettes and prints to textiles and fabrics.
Perfect example: I recently got married on the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and honeymooned in Santorini. Our new Spring collection, which will be revealed in September, was developed on details from those towns we visited, from the windows in the old fisherman's houses in Santorini, to the floral patterns in the gardens of the villa where we were married. Every collection invokes a time and place. I know in 20 years I'll be able to look back at our seasons and it'll tell a story as whole."
Where do you go in LA to get inspired?
"I love being home in Malibu, as it used to be when my husband and I were growing up (we met in high school). We definitely still can find that serenity when we're home, walking on the beach bundled in an old sweatshirt and jean shorts. It just has an immediate calming effect. And having lived in Europe for close to seven years, I am a definite museum junkie. I love the Adamson House in Malibu, with its Spanish architecture and incredible tile work. The upkeep has been meticulously handled, and when you step into that house you can really feel how the family lived when Malibu was literally almost desolate.
The Huntington Library in Pasadena is one of my favorite spots ever. The botanical gardens are almost always in full bloom (thank you SoCal weather), and the Chinese garden is incredibly serene. I do also have to say, I am a huge fan of historic Olvera Street. Our showroom is Downtown in the Garment District, and the fact that this incredible little pocket of LA is so close is kind of amazing. Talk about colors, food, music, culture all mashed up into a small area. Yes, some of it has been tampered with to cater to tourists, but if you know the places to go, it's a goldmine."
Pieces from the designer's fall/winter '14 collection.
What's your favorite piece from your latest collection?
"My favorites from our fall '14 collection are definitely the Marais Blazer in our 'Secret Garden' print, and our Zoey beaded tank. I am a staples girl, so having the Marais printed blazer in my wardrobe adds the perfect pop to most of my daily go-to outfits. It's light enough to wear during the day and perfect for a transition to night. I wear it with the sleeves rolled up with my favorite jean short cutoffs, a slouchy white linen tank and black gladiator sandals or flats. Switch out those jean cutoffs for a flowy black silk chiffon mini skirt and some sassy heels and you're ready to go.
The Zoey top is definitely special piece and close to my heart. We design all our textiles in-house, and I live and breath for beading and embroidery. This top has a neutral base of nude netting off set by striking black beading, and it can be combined with a million different colors.
I've worn it out to dinner half tucked into the front of a deep scarlet red pencil skirt with classic black pumps. I've also paired it with simple jeans for a more casual look, like going out for cocktails in Santa Monica with girlfriends. Nailed it every time!"
· Katherine Feiner [Official Site]