REVISITING THE CLASSICS
A Spotlite on Designer Lorry Newhouse
By Eden Herbstman
With a background as a trained artist, Lorry Newhouse emerged onto the design scene last year with her debut Fall 2012 collection. Nothing about the delicately structured, hand-beaded gowns screamed “new designer”; on the contrary, they showed signs of coming from a true fashion veteran channeling classic glamor. Her Spring/Summer 2013 collection, shown just days ago, is an extension of her resort line. Romantic pastels and lace are prevalent, and the execution of her transparent pieces speaks to her keen eye for elegance while retaining an air of mystery and edge. Lorry, along with her creative director and business partner Julia Flynn, encapsulate a refined sexiness, restoring the simplicity of looks from the 20’s and 30’s.
Drawing inspiration from her surrounding environment, she applies what is going on in the present to create a romanticism of the past. This marriage of the past and present speaks to her workspace as well. The antique furniture and artwork of her Upper East Side studio transports visitors back to the time of Edith Wharton and Jay Gatsby, but the recent issue of The New York Time’s Style Section reminds you are still the 21st century. With Italian Vogue as her bible, and foundational designers such Yves Saint Laurent, Norman Norell, and Christian Dior as her inspiration, Newhouse dives into the design process. With much anticipation for future collections, Newhouse has created a label that brings classic sophistication back with a modern, sensual twist.
Eden Herbstman: Fall 2012 was your debut collection. Was being a clothing designer something you always envisioned yourself doing?
Lorry Newhouse: I always envisioned putting out my own collection, and Fall 2012 seemed like the perfect time to do just that. I’ve been designing and thinking about clothes for many years, but I just started exploring the marketing, production, and business aspects in a very serious way. Before studying film, I was in Paris studying pattern-making off and on.
EH: How has your background as a trained artist influenced the design process for your collections?
LN: I’m very in tune with colors and textures, and I’m also attracted to the aesthetics of fabrics. One of my passions is for the fabrics, which I’m sure comes as a result of training my eye through painting, film-making, and having to see different lights and colors. All my training as a draftsman comes in handy when I start drawing.
EH: What has surprised you the most since you began designing?
LN: That I could even do any of this.
EH: Like any of this was even possible?
EH: Did you have any fears when you started?
LN: Yes, horrible fears. I had fears every day. Designing comes with a lot of trepidation and anxiety. It makes you work all the time at it. You’re always imaging where that next piece is going to come from.
EH: What are some things you look to for design inspiration?
LN: Some of the inspiration just comes from everyday life, like climate change for example. This summer we had heat waves, and you have to think about how many things you can wear: cotton, linen, really light clothes. You can’t even imagine putting a dress on that is close to the neck in weather like that. You really are effected by what is around you every single day. It’s not just what we are going to be wearing in the fall, but what am I wearing now, and how can I reinterpret this for next summer, given that next summer will be just as hot as this one. All of a sudden those pieces I saw in India, where women are totally covered from head to foot in light gauzy material, makes a lot of sense to me. Very simple sarong-like dresses become a great thing to wear.
EH: Do you feel you need to take on more of responsibility to stay in tune to what is around you?
LN: Well we’re all always looking at what everyone else is wearing. Seeing what people are wearing walking down the street, we look at them and get inspiration. If I had it my way, I would design transparent outfits that totally show the body, but I know those aren’t going to always sell. Even my own daughter won’t wear a transparent dress, but that really is my favorite look.
EH: Each piece you design pays careful attention to the female silhouette. Will this always be something prevalent in your collections?
LN: Absolutely. I think that is one of my design elements that will stay for a long time. I’m not looking to totally change style every season or every year. I’m very much a Norman Norell girl who likes to keep the same thing going all the time. I want to do what I know works really great, and just change the fabrics or change the lines.
Lorry Newhouse is a designer. Her designs are modern, personal interpretations of classic ideas. They softly radiate femininity and nuanced sensuality.
Written by Eden Herbstman
Edited by Jonathan Metzelaar
Photography by Leandro Justen
Design by Marie Havens
Lorry Newhouse in New York City, 2012, Photography by Leandro Justen