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“I’m quite familiar with the midwest. It was not such a stretch to partner with Kohl’s for me. I know I grew up in Paris and I know I was at Vogue for 17 years, but I have that other side too,” Vera Wang tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
There are not many fashion designers who can boast the longevity of success that Vera Wang can. At 68, the designer has easily been dubbed the “Queen of Bridal” while simultaneously running her successful namesake ready-to-wear line. And 10 years ago, Vera Wang embarked on a partnership with one of the biggest retailers in the country, Kohl’s — to launch her Simply Vera Vera Wang line.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the partnership, Wang launched a special capsule collection with a diverse mix of apparel, shoes, handbags, and jewelry all affordably priced under $100. On Thursday night in New York, Wang was joined by Camilla Belle, Coco Rocha, Danielle Bernstein among many others to celebrate the special anniversary collection.
When Simply Vera Vera Wang first launched, it seemed like an odd fit. Here’s a designer who makes couture wedding gowns which cost thousands of dollars and upwards of 45 laborious hours to make —partnering with its very antithesis: Kohl’s. But as Wang shares, “…the [common] thread is there. The woman is still cool. There’s still an edge. There’s still a masculinity and a femininity. There’s an ease. And I think that carries through to the Kohl’s collection.”
It’s important to note that the line is not a “fashion brand,” but rather a “lifestyle brand,” says Wang. The brand is part of nearly “50 categories” from fashion to bedding and bath, yet the collection still speaks to who Wang is and her own personal style.
One example is Wang’s love of leggings and lots of black. But the designer “will wear a skirt on occasion.” When she does, it’s either a knitted skirt or a crystal pleated version (both skirt styles available in the capsule collection) and each timeless and high-fashion staples according to Wang, which she tries to bring to the Kohl’s consumer. “The crystal pleated skirt has been done by Prada, it’s been done by Margiela, and it’s been done by us. My client at Kohl’s should be able to get a crystal pleated skirt and throw it into the rest of her wardrobe.”
I was fortunate to preview the collection ahead of time and tried out a few of my favorite pieces. I chose the knit gray sweater and skirt combo (the same look model Coco Rocha wore to the New York party, above).
I love the pearl details along the sleeve’s cuffs and the matching ribbed knit midi skirt. The skirt is definitely one of the most versatile pieces from the collection. I can easily dress it up with a classic white tee and add a black blazer or dress it down by swapping the blazer for a denim jacket.
For shoes, I selected the black velvet booties and added a pair of of sleek cat eye sunglasses. This is the kind of outfit I could wear to the office straight to a holiday party and onward to Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, and beyond.
This is one example of what makes this collection chock-full of festive, holiday-ready clothing. Other standout pieces include the crystal pleated skirt Wang spoke about, a sequin embroidered sweater, a romantic black and burgundy floral dress, jewel-embellished blouses, faux-fur stoles, opera gloves, and countless glittering statement earrings and necklaces waiting to spice up your holiday look.
The designer is a big believer in the idea that, “fashion should not be intimidating. It should be fun. It should be expressive. You should be able to make it your own. And it doesn’t matter what age you are. If you’re Iris Apfel or if you’re Kaia Gerber. It’s about the piece.” This kind of ethos is visible throughout the collection. Whether you’re 22 or 42, the line is meant to incorporate bits of high-fashion pieces that you can mix and match with your current wardrobe, whether it’s a “velvet sandal,” “oversized, statement earrings,” a “faux fur boa,” or “crystal pleated skirt,” these are all pieces that give women across the country the opportunity to express their own personal fashion style. “It’s about making fashion accessible to women who are actually very fashionable, but have no access,” shares Wang.
After 10 years with Kohl’s, but over 40 years in the business, what lies ahead for the designer? Wang isn’t slowing down anytime soon. “I’m just going to go on while I can…while I have the imagination, the brainpower, the passion, the interest, the manpower to be really involved and relevant. The day that I could not be relevant anymore” and not be able to give it her all, she will move on. Fortunately, “I’ve not seen that so far [laughs]. So I think it will be business as usual.”
Shop the 10th Anniversary Simply Vera Vera Wang collection on kohls.com.
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