Designer Spotlight: Elizabeth Kennedy
Jessie Ajluni | Thursday December 14th 2017
I’ve long been a fan of Elizabeth Kennedy and her namesake line; the collection’s retro elegance and modern sensibility tick all my boxes for the perfect red carpet glamour. From gorgeous gowns to simply stunning cocktail dresses, it would be no stretch to say that Elizabeth’s brand is surely one of Tinsel Town’s go-to designers du jour. Not shockingly, when Tamu and I met with her one scorching hot day this September, Elizabeth mentioned that she would be jetting out to LA in a few hours for a special VIP fitting for the Emmys.
What was a surprise, however, was, that as I sat watching the Emmys coverage, the special VIP client that Elizabeth had been hinting about was none other than the queen herself, Oprah. And to my pleasant surprise, she was not wearing one of the more classically gorgeous gowns that Elizabeth’s brand is known for, but instead, one of the chicest jumpsuit blazer combination I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, Oprah got the ATPB seal of approval as one of our best dressed of the night, but that got me thinking even more about Elizabeth’s collection.
What I had always thought of as strictly a red carpet or event dressing collection has evolved into so much more. From out of this world top and pant looks, to (coming this spring) literally one of my favorite blazers I have ever seen; the line truly endeavors to dress a women for every occasion in her life. With such exciting things going on, we naturally had to sit down with Mrs. Kennedy and pick her brain about everything, from how she got her start working for some of the best luxury brands in the market, to her secret style tips. Oh, and Tamu and I even found the time to squeeze in an exclusive content shoot just for your eyes only, Pretty Birds.
Have you always wanted to work as a fashion designer?
Yes, ever since I was very young – about 4 years old.
When did you first decide to start your namesake line?
I wanted to work for other designers to gain experience before I started my own line. In 2012, I finally felt ready and decided to launch my brand.
You’ve worked for some pretty prestigious labels. What were some of the
differences between starting up your own label versus working for someone else?
Handling the business side is the biggest difference. While working for other designers, I was always very invested, I would work with the sales team, hear feedback from buyers and clients, but I never had to run a business. I’ve learned so much from planning growth strategy, managing finances, to overseeing a team of people whose livelihoods depend on me. You look at things differently when it is your own company. Creatively, it is both liberating and terrifying to have sole creative control.
Who would you say is the Elizabeth Kennedy woman – what aesthetic does she embody?
She is confident, smart, adventurous – timelessly elegant, effortlessly chic.
Take us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration,
source materials, etc.
Inspiration comes from everywhere. It’s really whatever piques my interest or feels right in the moment. Sometimes you go digging for inspiration, sometimes it just hits you unexpectedly from film, fine art, architecture, theatre, books, vintage, and travel. Sometimes it’s a color or a feeling, it just evolves from there.
What key advice would you give to someone wanting to work as a designer or
interested in starting up their own line?
Work for someone else first – you will learn so much.
What trends do you see coming up in women’s fashion?
I think we are in a maximalist moment right now – sequins, feathers, bright colors. I love that women are taking more risks. Fashion feels fun right now and very celebratory – I like to think women are celebrating themselves. I am sure the pendulum will swing back to minimalism, which I always love as well.
What are some of your favorite pieces from your current collection?
My favorite piece is a paneled column gown, nude panel with black sequins and a train. This is a gown I pulled out of my archive from 2012 and remade for Resort 18. I had originally designed it as part of my first capsule collection in 2012. If a single dress could epitomize the brand, it would be this one – modern, elegant, graphic, timeless.
What do you believe is the one staple piece that every woman should have in
A LBD that can take you from day to evening.
If you had one tip on how to live a more stylish life what would it be?
Confidence is the key to style. Take more risks and worry less about what is on trend, or what other people will think. Dress to make yourself feel good.