Last month, fashion designer Rebecca Taylor opened her first Texas store at NorthPark Center. Just before her boutique’s debut, I caught up with Taylor — my second time chatting with the New Zealand-born designer, who I first met in Dallas years ago during an event at NorthPark.
Taylor is as smart as she is design savvy: the same attention to detail that she pays to her clothing is applied to each of her stores’ one-of-a-kind design concepts. This rings true for Dallas, where custom art, fixtures and design elements dot every inch of the rose-hued shop. Here, a snippet from our conversation, which I hope will continue when Taylor comes to town on Thursday, May 18, for the boutique’s grand opening party to benefit Junior League of Dallas.
Confession: I have several Rebecca Taylor dresses in my closet that are at least 5 years old — and that I still wear.
We always like to think that the collection is sustainable and that you’re not going to have to buy a new wardrobe every season. I like to make sure we’re making clothes with longevity.
Fashion empowers women.
The way women choose to dress is a way of showing who they are, who they can be, and who they want to be. You can dress up and feel powerful. Clothing informs your emotion. The Women’s March in Washington was an extraordinary day. But it made me think, What’s next?
While raising three kids and running a company, I do what I can. I do what I can by making clothes for women, and empowering women. But you mustn’t grumble; you must move forward. Women in top places don’t necessarily support women. It’s up to us to raise our daughters to treat women the way we deserve to be treated.
The store’s design was a labor of love.
Erin Ryder, my collaborator [and director of visual merchandizing], and I had a lot of back and forth. With brick-and-mortar, now, you have to be all boots in. You can’t be subtle. We wanted people who were walking by to see a little magic in the every day.
They’ll see natural, organic fabrications mixed with soft — the masculine and the feminine, the soft and the hard. The floor is Terrazzo. We saw so many samples to get the perfect shade of pale pink. I’m such a sucker for anything sparkly. I’m such a magpie. You know, the asphalt when it rains? That happy glimpse.
We’ve worked with amazing designers at Bushwhick. They’ve been making these incredible cement artworks for the backdrop wall. We used things like Himalayan pink rock salt as inspiration.
Your husband is an artist.
I collaborated with my husband, Wayne Pate, who’s a Dallas man. He was big on the scene at the Starck club in the ’90s. He’s an illustrator-artist, and he’s doing wallpaper. So we’re using his wallpaper in the dressing rooms, which are gorgeous. We’ve had a lot of fun.
The devil’s in the details.
Even the hinges, are a pink-y shade of brass. One of my favorite things is the Dyson hand dryers. I’m obsessed with Dyson.
People you’re obsessing over, at the moment.
I’ve got three kids and they’re doing a whole project on change-makers. Lewis Hine. Harriet Tubman. I’m not American and I didn’t know anything about her, but I’m obsessed with how brave she was. We need to give more attention to the women who did these things. She’s extraordinary.
[I’m also inspired by] David Bowie anything. Huge fan. Have been always and forever. Ziggy Stardust puts me in my happy place. I just started barre class, and they have a whole David Bowie medley. Artist Elizabeth Peyton, in terms of her use of color. Beautiful, beautiful portraiture — really, really gorgeous.
What informs your design.
I’ve always been inspired by Victorian, vintage lingerie. I always loved what people wore under their clothes, not over their clothes. I love 19th century women writers like the Brontës. And [I love] floral, particularly how artists illustrate flora and fauna. Matisse has always illustrated florals in an interesting, graphic way. Living in New York is inspiring. Where I grew up in New Zealand in the ’80s inspires because it evokes a feeling of being young and fresh. As a designer, it’s hard to pinpoint one particular thing.
Your Texas ties.
I’ve always had a close affinity to Dallas. The women dress in a very feminine, subtly sexy way. They’re not afraid of expressing their femininity. They’re very social minded. NorthPark for [my husband] Wayne was his stomping grounds, so he’s super excited.
Tell us about the opening party.
May 18 — my wedding anniversary.