One glimpse at Emma Fletcher's designs for Lyell and you get the sense that she takes her job very seriously. Her Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation win proves that she does outstanding work. The Australia native also owns a small boutique in NYC's Nolita neighborhood called Lyell, which stocks rare vintage finds from European designers, as well as her own vintage-inspired merchandise. We recently caught up with Emma to pick her brain. A few Fab words, if you will . . .
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the last year?
Up until recently, which I don't know if it's out of fear or a innate wanting to be out on my own, I always aimed at only wanting to make clothes for myself and for the store. Keeping everything nice and simple. But as more interest and demand is coming my way, I understand the value of having a show, and expanding Lyell's reach. The award has really forced me into a whole new realm of exposure that is as equally scary as it is exciting. The big lesson is it pays to be involved and talk to people and get help.
To read more of Emma's interview and to see more of her creations,
Where do you get your inspiration for every season from?
I usually tend to react against the season before, but in the end it always comes back to being in the tight Lyell framework. In general I draw inspiration from movies, photos, vintage clothing; usually something catches my eye and I build from there. This season, the starting point was the Julie Christie movie Don't Look Now. On top of that, I get these fantasy notions of different lifestyles that I'd be living if I wasn't in New York, whether that is a shaker lifestyle, living in the 20's/30's, Parisian life, etc.
What are your favorite fabrics to work with? The toughest fabrics to work with?
I always use lots of silk, silk chiffons, silk velvets, laces, which are not easy. All the factories tell me the pieces are hard to execute but I know because I don't have these kinds of skills. I think the toughest part is the finishings that I want done — pleatings, embroideries, stitchings, etc.
Do you have any plans for product expansion?
I am always looking to do the next thing. I've designed a bra and undies set for the first time which I would really like to expand. Also, the first Lyell men's shirt will be ready soon. And then there are accessories; I did shoes once, and would love to do those again. But I feel like I really need to have the women's sorted out before I spread myself too thin.
What’s in store for Fall ‘08?
This collection is art deco, complete with lots of cream and black, angular lines, and graphic elements.
What’s the best part of being an Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation winner?
Being forced to do my first show. I would've never have done it without it.