Why Rosie Assoulin Is The Go-To Designer For Every Cool Woman We Know


A model at the Rosie Assoulin Spring 2016 presentation. Photo: Getty Images

On the fourth official day of New York Fashion Week, people were already starting to whine. It’s hot, they’re hungry, and no, they didn’t get a ticket to the Givenchy show. In a sense I get it, no one wants to be uncomfortable, but then again we don’t work in the coal mines either. And we’re certainly not saving lives — unless you count someone who is having a fashion emergency! (Okay, bad joke.) But whatever angst exhausted editors were feeling kind on Friday quickly dissipated in the presence of Rosie Assoulin. And not just because she makes beautiful clothes that are a visual feast, but also because in the fickle world of fashion, her generous spirit speaks volumes.

She runs the business with her husband, Max, who is the CEO. At the presentation, her mother-in-law, who designed the jewelry, was checking to make sure the models — who were stationed in depleted pool — were hydrated and nourished amid an increasingly hot midday sun. Assoulin insisted that they take shelter under an overpass. For the designer who inspires a million Instagrams, it wasn’t going to make for better pictures, but she wasn’t too fussed about that.

“I think that it’s truly a family business for her,” fashion consultant Julie Gilhart told Yahoo Style at the show. “The whole persona and vibe comes across like that, it’s sort of like here’s my collection, it’s family to me, come join our family. So I think it ticks the box of emotional curiosity, and then I also think that she dresses in a very glamorous classic way without being subtle.”

A model at the Rosie Assoulin Spring 2016 presentation. Photo: Getty Images

At 30 and entering her third year as a designer, Assoulin has already nabbed the CFDA’s Swarovski Award for Womenswear. Her clothes, which include everything from louche separates to full-on ruffled ball gowns, are influenced by her incredible fashion pedigree. She worked intimately with Oscar de la Renta for two years (the legend taught her a lot about draping) before heading to Paris to join the Lanvin team under Alber Elbaz. In learning from the masters, the quality of her clothes make their wearers feel—and look—like a million bucks. There is also something quite comforting about a woman who is designing with women in mind. 

“I just think she is the most envelope-pushing original and graceful designer for female figures,” said Audrey Gelman, a political consultant and Lena Dunham’s BFF. “I wear her stuff for everything from like going to work to going to an event, to a wedding. Her designs are so versatile, and effortless and she herself is a truly incredible and humble person.” 

“Rosie wants to feed you and make you look pretty and yes, that can coexist,” says Harper’s Bazaar’s Executive Editor, Laura Brown. “She just innately knows how to make women feel completely feminine and gorgeous. I’d say I’m her greatest fan, but I’d have to push a few more out of the way.” 

Models at the Rosie Assoulin Spring 2016 presentation. Photo: Getty Images

Part of Assoulin’s allure is that she is not interested in following trends. “We don’t really go with specific themes,” she told Yahoo Style. “We kind of go with little vignettes and pieces, and if it’s a good piece then you find a way to work it in. You make a complimentary piece.”

For the Spring 2016 collection, that translated to a slouchy pajama-looking set made of a sequin pattern that looked like a cityscape at night, a couture-looking top that was paired with baggy belted trousers boxers material sewn into the waist, a pink bikini top worn over a long striped shirtdress and matching pink hospital pants. It’s fun and funky at the same time, which is why it works. 

“It’s for women who really appreciate clothes, and they like to get dressed, but they also want to feel very feminine and be in fashion, without appearing trendy,” says Gilhart. “So it’s an interesting, there’s a very subtle white space that she fills and look how fast she’s grown. Every year it’s bigger and better. I think her collection is one that will be a go-to for a lot of people for a long time.” 

That sort of creative energy and spirit is infectious in the fashion world. One only had to look around the show to see how well it played. Basketball wives, top editors, retailers from all over the world were all drinking it up, as well as the homemade peach ice tea that the designer had so graciously provided.

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