BROOKE GARBER NEIDCH – OWNER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR, SIDNEY GARBER JEWLERY
One of my earliest memories is sitting on the floor in front of the safe playing with the charms in their velvet trays. I feel like I was always in the store. As I grew up I was allowed to use the windex to clea
n the glass cases I think at 10 I was allowed to put watches in the cases.
Talk to me about the CFDA and how have the supported the jewlery industry to date?
The CFDA has 82 jewelry members ! It is a diverse and fascinating group. Just the application process caused me to think more critically about the business and myself. With this said, we have also had a great selection of interns from CFDA initiative from Wharton to Yale.
What advice would you share with budding entrepreneurs?
I am not an entrepreneur, I worked in my father’s business through my adolescence and then couldn’t get away fast enough to start my own life. As a young wife and mother I returned to Chicago and helped out before Christmas it was a way of connecting with my father ,of connecting my children to the world I grew up in, but I never saw [working for family business] as my path . When I inherited the business it was 2008 , I was in the midst of standing with Dr Harold Koplewicz as he founded the Child Mind Institute while I was co chairman of the Whitney Museum -we were in the midst of building a new museum downtown which kept be busy as well as being the Vice Chair woman at Lincoln Center Theatre . It was the beginning of the financial crisis, in short – a nightmare. I loved the creativity of the business , but I never could have been successful running it had I not found Susan Nicholas who had been president of H. Stern before joining Sidney Garber. Many people tell me how proud my father would be of me now . . . I smile and often add “my father would say I still don’t know the value of a dollar !”
Truly effortless pieces in the Sidney Garber collection, how do you and the team plan and design the forthcoming collections?
I don’t think of collections. Fine jewelry is a life long wardrobe as is any piece of clothing. I have a YSL Safari Jacket I still wear and I would still be wearing my first Rick Owens jacket but my daughter borrowed it when she was in high school and then of course, it became hers! I have wonderful pieces from Alaïa and Lanvin when Alber Elbaz was there to me – they never age. I personally think, fine jewelry should be the same. My father gave me my first grown up strand of pearls at 21 . I have added to it multiple times and love wearing the necklace it has become. I wear my rolling bracelets every day as I have since 1985, though I am prototyping a new bracelet I am thrilled about.
In mind, who is the woman you design for?
for a woman like me . . . and now that Mallory is older for her – when my two beautiful daughter in laws Aliza and Alessandra like something I know I have it right .
If you did not work for the family business, what could you see yourself be doing otherwise?
I am doing it still , I am no longer co chair of the Whitney but I am deeply involved – the same is true for Lincoln Center Theatre and The Child Mind Institute.
As the elegant Judy Peabody explained to me in the early 80’s there are 3 rules to remember when you serve on a board . . . give it , get it or get off ! I give because I am lucky enough to be able to give !
Tell us more about CMI?
The Child Mind Institute is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental
health and learning disorders. We deliver the highest standards of clinical care, advance the science of the developing brain and we empower parents, professionals and policymakers with the information they need to get kids the help they deserve. Our website is childmind.org.
What is your thoughts on social media?
I sort of understand and use Instagram and Pinterest, the rest confounds me! My friend Joanna Coles (Chief Content Officer, Hearst US) will tell you I am an idiot at Snapchat!
List me three blogs or instagram feeds you like to follow and why?
This is my favorite question I follow several I love that they just pop in my inbox and if I have a quick moment in a taxi or between meetings I can read one. I love: The Flair Index, The Coveteur, Keep it Chic, Lenny, Atelier Doré, of course Front Row Edit. Man Repeller quite charming They are like little mini magazine’s to me!
LARRY KING, SESSION STYLIST AND OWNER OF LARRY KING HAIR SALON
I was solely salon based when my good friend and now business partner David Gandy suggested I give session a go, he’d told me he’d struggled getting his hair to look as good on set as it did when I did it in the salon, so he got me on a few of his jobs and I loved it. Once you get that break you meet more and more people who request you again and again then it just snow balls. Although I don’t think its just the hair, Photo shoots can be long tedious days and it helps if you’ve got a bit of a personality to add a bit of fun to the day, it lightens the atmosphere and relaxes the model. That’s what inspired us to create larrysworld on the website, it’s a photo album of the crazy amazing silly stuff I get up to day to day. It’s funny looking back on it now, it’s been a mental few years, and I should probably go and buy David a beer.
Did you always want to become a hairdresser?
Not when I was at school, it wasn’t something I’d really thought about much, I wasn’t very academic at school, not because I couldn’t do it, it just didn’t interest me. At 16 I tried my hand at Graphic design and nearly cut my finger off on the guillotine, which could’ve been a disaster in hindsight! At the time my mum was a hairdresser and she suggested I try it, she introduced me to someone at Toni & Guy in Cambridge and I took to it like a duck to water. I lived and breathed hair, I had loads of fun training with the great team there they inspired me so much.
Who inspired you along the way?
In the early days Antony Moscolo, who at that time was four times British Hairdresser of the year and owner of the fastest growing hairdressing company in the world. I’ve always been a huge fan of Guido, he’s always been my biggest hairdressing inspiration, he’s so talented. Adam Reid inspires me, he bigs up other hairdressers and I think that’s so important. I’ve also got some amazing business partners, who inspire me from a business perspective – it’s great having an insight from really successful businessmen who have given me guidance and inspiration for what’s possible. This week I met James Dyson, that was an absolute pleasure, he’s such an inventive guy and he’s created such an incredible brand through innovation – he’s definitely a massive inspiration.
What products are always in your tool kit?
I’m an Ambassador for Redken & Pureology , so my bag is always full of their amazing hair products. They do a really good scope of products to suit all hair types, so you can really tailor the products for the client. There’s also a big bag of Mac Make up too for when I’m doing Men’s Grooming on set.
What one product should Front Row Edit readers invest in?
The new Dyson hair dryer is Phenomenal, my whole salon team uses them now and none of us would ever go back, they’re lighter, quieter and the hair is left shinier without damage. I hear loads of people complaining about how expensive it is, but it’s a great investment in the long run. Most people use a hair dryer everyday or a least every few days, compared to a pair of shoes or designer hand bag the use you’ll get out of it is incomparable.
From backstage at shows to owning your own store, how do you fit it all in?
Wow, the last year has been full on and there’s always a big juggle going on between session work and being in the Salon, but I love the buzz and excitement that comes with it. Building the salon and the amazing Team, has been a dream come true, I keep pinching myself that it’s actually a reality now. The team at the salon are a great support network and it means that if I can’t fit session jobs in I can recommend other members of my team to step up.
My wife is also my business partner in the salon, she deals a lot of the HR and Marketing and business side of things which free’s me up to do what I do best. I’m so lucky to have the best team around me, my agent Paula at Streeters has always been incredible, and she’s given me the most amazing opportunities.
ANITA BARR, FASHION DIRECTOR – HARVEY NICHOLS
Working on the shop floor, taught me a lot about how to style and dress to compliment your shape. I quickly developed a keen eye for trends and at the same time I realised I had a strong instinct for what customers wanted. My big break came when I became the buyer for the Way In department at Harrods, it was my first step to where I wanted to be. Then after 8 years with Harrods I was offered the chance to join Selfridges during its most transformative years and went on a 13 year journey where I had the opportunity to work and influence the evolution of womenswear, menswear and childrenswear. I left there to become the Global Product Merchandising Director at All Saints, before joining Harvey Nichols in 2014 as Group Fashion Buying Director.
Any great advice you can offer that you’ve been given before?
There’s a lot to be said for positive thinking and visualisation. I surround myself with positive people as it also helps to put everything in perspective, but I do have three rules that I live by:
1) Be Organised – it is integral to coping with the workload.
2) Always be friendly and fair to everyone that you work with, both internally and externally.
3) Trust your instinct.
Most importantly as Estee Lauder said; “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it”.
How do you think Digital has played a part in consumers shopping today?
The way people shop is changing and so is the retail landscape. The difference between online commerce and offline commerce is blurring and the challenge now becomes how do we create an omni-channel experience for our customers. We know that the majority of online transactions now happen on mobile and we know the majority of customers now research online before coming into store to purchase, we also know that whilst in store customers browse their mobile phone, either to research their purchase or seek assurance from friends via social media. I don’t think people will stop shopping in stores – you can’t replicate the touch and feel of a garment you experience online but I think digital plays an important part in how customers will shop in the future; along with creating ‘entertainment’ and fabulous services in store that give our customers a reason to come in. The luxury customer is looking for experiences and bespoke services and we are redefining what the luxury experience is. We want our customers coming to us and staying for the whole day, enjoy a shopping experience with our Style Advisors, visiting the Beauty Lounge and then meeting friends for a drink or dinner in the evening.
Talk me through your new season buying process at Harvey Nichols?
The responsibilities of myself and the exceptional team I work with is to ensure we are buying the right brand assortment for all our stores across the estate. Harvey Nichols has eight stores including a store in Dublin and the customer demographic is varied so when we are out in market we always have the customer at the forefront of every decision we make.
With the rise of pre-collections and a more fluid seasonal calendar, the buying seasons are becoming less defined and we now place a large proportion of our spend behind the Pre-collections because our customers want newness every time the shop with us. It is my teams’ responsibility to work with the brands on ensuring we get early deliveries of stock where we can to keep the shop floor and website looking fresh. Of course many brands will only have one collection per season and so we need to get the balance right between bringing in our new and niche deliveries alongside the core brands, to ensure that throughout the season we have new drops throughout that period.
If you love fashion and retail then this is one of the best jobs in the industry. There’s nothing like the satisfaction you get from watching a customer buy the product that your team has curated and enjoy the brand experience in an environment that you have helped to create.
We see ourselves as a large boutique, not a department store. Our strength is in our size. We offer an impeccable and personal service that you would expect to receive in a small boutique. Becoming a style leader in every way – from our menus to our menswear to our make- up brands – providing inspiration at every turn and all of this in sumptuous settings where customers can relax and recharge in on-trend hang-outs. Customers come to Harvey Nichols for our edit, we’re big enough to offer choice and cater to different customers, but small enough that we can offer really high service levels that you might associate with a small boutique. Harvey Nichols also boasts a loyalty programme that has allowed us to leapfrog ahead of the competition. Customers can redeem points quarterly (rather than bi-annual or annually), we offer a whole range of fabulous experiences of greater value than the cash equivalent, and the best bit – it’s an app so it extremely easy to use and you don’t need to carry another card around in your wallet.
Any new brands we should be looking out for this season?
I’m really excited to introduce Vejas into our brand mix exclusively for AW17. The self-taught designer, learnt his craft from Japanese magazines and yet his finished product is truly stunning, quality pieces that are made with such logical practicalities. We are also bringing in the footwear collection from Ann Demeulemeester, whose androgynous designs with a rock-spirit edge are renowned and will appeal to our customers with a penchant for simple, strong design. While on menswear we have a series of exciting collaborations and pop-ups taking over our menswear spaces, including a collaboration with Too Hot Ltd, who will be bringing in vintage and limited edition pieces from Stone Island, Moncler, CP Company and Valentino amongst others. As well as a floor take over with Beams Japan, which will be super exciting. The buying team have also bought in a selection of new brands into the department, particulary to bridge the gap between our tailoring collections and off duty pieces, since tailoring isn’t limited to the boardroom any more in the same way that denim is limited to your weekend wardrobe. Brands such as Drumohr, Private White, Officine Generale and Kent & Curwen are key brands for this demi category and play perfectly into the casualuxe trend that was so key for the season.
The womenswear catwalks were celebrating ‘bling’ from diamante embellishments to intergalactic iridescent metallic. It’s a really fun trend to inject newness into the partywear/holiday season. For those looking for a more paired back look should embrace the 90’s throwback to grunge, which we saw relevant across both menswear and womenswear. As well as a nostalgic look back to the sports lad trend, spanning the 50’s teddy boys to 80’s punk-rock and of course the 90’s, where we saw the strongest menswear influence. Logo sweaters, popper tracksuits and zip-up jackets are all key items to invest in.
There are many colour trends for the season ahead but the dominance of these rich berry tones stands out across all our categories and brands, including accessories. The cranberry coloured jean – in cord or velvet, is a key piece for the casualwear market, while plum makes an impact for knitwear and as a ground for new winter florals. Menswear followed suit with a palette of sand, moss, nut and ochre spanning a range of collections from ready-to-wear to shoes and accessories, with highlights of orange, yellow and red.
The main textures to invest in include velvet, which we saw across blazers, blouson jackets and new for the season the jean. While outwear sees a range of tuft textures across the spectrum from teddy fleece, curly sheepskins and cosy faux furs as well as soft brushed wools and mohair.
What would you do if you didn’t work in the industry?
I can’t really see myself anywhere other than in the fashion industry, but if I had to choose I would set up a restaurant by the sea and while the days away with the salty air and the catch of the day.
Do you have any fears?
Public Speaking – But I’m learning to deal with it!
Who in the industry do you most admire, and why?
Giovanna Battaglia, has an amazing aura about her, she is such a appositive person and I love her unique sense of style; she is so elegant and effortlessly stylish.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Harvey Nichols is undergoing an ambitious master plan, which started with the unveiling of the Menswear Destination last May and followed with the reopening of the Beauty Lounge, Fragrance Hall, Accessories and Fine Jewellery departments on the Ground Floor of the flagship Knightsbridge store in November. While a number of areas, entrances and exits of the store were closed off to customers, we now need to ensure that visitors to our store are aware of the new spaces, the brands we have introduced to our offer and the exceptional services we have installed to create a real destination in the heart of Knightsbridge, in which they can spend their entire day. Our attention now is on the Womenswear floors, which we have begun planning and hoping to begin work on in the first quarter of next year. Working on such an old building has raised a number of challenges, but it has been an exciting time for all departments involved. But what’s important is to remain positive through challenging times, a positive mind, visualisation and a team of positive people goes a long way.
DAVID DANGLE, CEO JOAN RIVERS WORLDWIDE
Certainly not by any conventional route, that’s for sure! I joined the fashion industry in a rather roundabout way. I was an Art Director and designer for theater and television in NYC and LA for about 10 years. Through a mutual friend I was introduced to the amazing Joan Rivers, who had been approached to develop a fashion jewelry brand on QVC.
When Joan and I started the business, we were both complete neophytes. Joan was a world famous comedian and I was an Art Director. We were the first to admit that we had no idea how to launch a collection. However, we both loved the idea of QVC and really believed in it as a significant business model. We were right. We partnered in the business and 25+ years later, the brand is still going strong.
CEO of Joan Rivers Collection, talk to me how that came about?
The company grew rather organically. Our first year in business on QVC was a game of catch up. Quite honestly, we couldn’t make product fast enough for the demand. It became clear that we needed to put structure in place, hire designers, marketing and operations people and start to think of this as an important business.
Do you work on the initial design process and if so how does that work out?
Yes I do. I have a brilliant design director, Janie Amoia, and we meet on a weekly basis and review product. She reports directly to me and is responsible for all categories of the collection.
How do you forecast product strategies for the business?
QVC is a rather unique model. Our customer tells us in real time what she likes (or doesn’t like!) as we are selling to her in a live on-air format. This is kind of “fast fashion” on a whole other level. Our ability to strategize future product is on an almost weekly basis. While we work on quarterly strategies, we flow product into our market on a monthly cycle, 12 months a year.
What impact did Joan have on the business?
Joan was very hands on. She had exquisite taste and a real sense of what our customer wanted. She taught me so much. Along with her daughter Melissa, I work hard to make sure that Joan’s legacy of great taste and style lives on.
I would have to say winning my first (of three) Emmy Awards comes to mind. I was a young designer still in my twenties and that was a big deal for me at the time. I would also say being with Joan when she won the Accessories Council ACE Award for her achievements in the fashion business. It was wonderful to see the industry acknowledge Joan’s success and hard work.
With many years in the industry, who do you look up too?
Definitely the self starters, the entrepreneurs. The folks who started with a great idea and built a big business around it. Sara Blakely of Spanx is a great example.
I also admire the heritage brands that continue to re-invent themselves and build on their success. Crockett and Jones shoes in the UK is an excellent example of this. White hot, creating exquisite product, hugely successful and started in 1879!!
Best piece of advice?
Passionately believe in what you do. Work hard. Pay your dues. Nothing comes easy. It all sounds cliché but its how I’ve lived my life. And it works. Overall, something I learned from Joan is to be sure to have some fun along the way!
What are your thoughts on social media and how much of an impact do you think it makes to a brand now?
It’s everything! I am in complete control of the message. We are fortunate to have an enormous social following thanks to Joan’s fame. I can promote the brand, using my content and my images and aim the customer at QVC to close the deal. It is the most powerful tool we have. And there is no better way to get instantaneous feedback from my customer.
So what is next for you and the business?
Continuing my journey without my friend, business partner and mentor Joan Rivers has been extraordinary. She taught me so much and I use what she taught me everyday. I’m excited to be adding David Dangle Home Collection to our portfolio of brands in 2018. I love designing and I love creating products that resonate with our customer. And I know Joan would be proud.
JOHNA STONE, WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER
Right after I graduated from Parsons, I decided to have my own brand. With an internship at Private Policy(a menswear brand launched by fellow Parsons Alumini Haoran Li and Siying Qu), I learned a lot from both designers in terms of the business part of the industry. With the tremendous help and encouragement from my Parsons instructors Soojung Kim and Gregory Lagola, I finally debuted my first post graduate collection.
Describe your AW17 girl in three words?
AUTHENTIC: confident, true to herself, have a very chic style
HANDSOME: naturally beautiful with a clean healthy look.
QUIRKY: fun and easygoing, enjoy life, not afraid of love and adventurous.
Talk me through the design process for the Autumn Winter 2017 collection?
When I first started, I got inspired by feminism. Then I looked into women in the history. I particularly got inspired by working women during WWII. It was the beginning of industrialization and large machines were introduced into people’s lives. Women started wearing comfortable clothes in order to perform their daily work. I researched different uniforms at the time, and trying to understand why they were designed the way they were. I then got ideas from the nurse hat, with further research, I found out the pattern of the hat was constructed on a rectangular shape. Through strategic cutting and folding, which can be made very efficiently saving fabric and time. Then I started designing the collection, trying to achieve these effortless chic looks with the folding details and graphic elements. In the mean time, I managed to avoid extra waste and using mostly natural fabrics and vegan leather.
Do you travel for inspiration and if so, where?
I lived in Paris for six months, doing the study abroad program at Parsons Paris. When I was in Europe, I traveled to different countries and got inspired by the local architectures and sculptures. I also love observing how people dress in different places, the way they dress expresses their way of living, it’s a very beautiful experience to be able to notice the difference. The world is so wonderful because of diversity and differences.
What is one piece of clothing you can’t live without and Front Row Edit’s Female readers should invest in?
The olive green open sleeve biker jacket. It’s a great style, the open sleeve design is unique yet subtle, the color is sophisticated and the material is sustainable. It is a good investment piece to have for a long time.
Top style tips anyone should take onboard?
Buy less, choose well, and don’t be afraid of trying something new!
Describe your style?
Chic and minimal, fun and sophisticated.
Who is your inspiration and why?
I usually got inspired by an interesting shape/composition, or an object with a unique structure detail like the nurse hat in this collection. I like to observe the beauty in the mundane life, realizing meanings to the things we take for granted, and discover the philosophy behind it.
What would you consider the most important facets of the fashion industry from a Designer perspective?
I think designers today really need to design with a social responsibility. Promoting sustainability and diversity, combining aesthetic and functionality.
What is the best advice you have received and would give designers and industry start-outs today?
Building your network while sharpening your skills, good talent also needs to be discovered by the right people.