If there was an award given for "Most Memorable/Adorable Presentation" during Fashion Week, Rachel Antonoff would surely blow the competition away. Her creativity not only comes through in her whimsical, feminine designs, but also in how she chooses to display them.
For her spring presentation, she took a trip down memory lane, channeling her elementary school years with a set that included make-shift forts, slumber parties and s'mores. When it came to the shoes, Antonoff continued with the cuteness, joining forces with the American shoe brand Bass to sweeten up its classic styles and make them her own -- by, among other things, joining forces with model Tennessee Thomas (of The Like) and a very adorable kitten for her look book. We chatted with the charming designer about her new line of kicks.
Why Bass? Have you always been a fan of the brand?
I have always been a huge saddle shoe enthusiast, I've been wearing them for years and I think nobody does them better than Bass! They master the perfect blend of comfort and costume. They are just so classic and I've always loved the idea that you could wear something just knocking around that Fred Astaire danced in. Bass is such an all-American heritage company; I've always admired the brand and was truly over the moon at the opportunity to get to work with them!
Can you briefly tell us how this collaboration came to be?
I had approached them a few seasons ago about using their saddles for my presentation. Afterwards, we just got to talking and it just sort of happened. Somehow, the idea of doing a collaboration came up, and when I went in to meet with everyone it just felt like a good fit.
Do you have a favorite pair out of all of the styles you created for Bass?
I love them all for different reasons, but I have a special place in my heart for the Alices in Navy/Red. A close second would be the cream and red patent Odettes. Ideally, I'd love to attach some taps to the bottom of those!
Can you tell us a little about your inspiration behind your designs and tweaks?
I had honestly never given much thought to shoe design in the past, but once the idea of this collaboration was broached, I was suddenly full of ideas. I worked with Bass' amazing designer Anita DaSilva and it was pretty much a match made in heaven. From the second we met, we just played. We were seriously like kids together, it was a total blast. I've always been a fan of prints and the florals just seemed like a no-brainer. We also bonded over a love of dance shoes, so the patents seemed like a natural progression as well.
Is there a designer or brand you dream of collaborating with one day?
Hmmmm, good question! I would love to do costumes for a musical.
We love how you showed the Bass shoes with frilly socks in your presentation... do you have any other tips on how to style them?
Thanks, glad you liked! I was pretty psyched about those socks. I think higher socks would be really sweet with them as well, patterned tights too. A striped tight with the floral Matildas would add a silly, Pippi Longstocking-esque feel. And if you're crafty or crazy enough, I think most of these are just begging for some taps on the bottom!
Why did you choose a childhood playhouse/slumber-party vibe for your spring presentation?
My overall approach to design is to make things for girls who want to have fun in them. I've always loved the idea that everyday can be an adventure worthy of a costume, and I think thats a concept that kids live by, adults less so. Kids just come up with the most amazing activities in the most mundane spaces. Sidewalks become lemonade stands and living rooms become magical lands with forts. I was trying to capture the make your own fun days of childhood in both the lookbook and presentation.
Describe your style in three words.
Silly, comfy, awkward.