THE ART OF THE CAPE
A Conversation with TAYLOR IVEY of Ellsworth and Ivey
By Eden Herbstman
Ellsworth and Ivey, the brand dedicated to the production of luxury cape-wear proves that understated elegance can sometimes draw the most attention. Designer Taylor Ivey, founder and designer behind the brand, has cultivated a label focused solely on one craft: The Cape. The iconic and classic trends that came from the 1950’s and early 1960’s provide inspiration for Ivey’s clean, simple, and functional pieces. But the art of Ivey’s capes goes beyond fashion statements. The values instilled in each piece come from an artistic belief of form and function emulating classic style to stand the test of time.
Eden Herbstman: One of the inspirations for your cape designs comes from the close relationship you had with your grandmothers. How did they inspire your collections?
Taylor Ivey: My grandmothers were very classic women who were poised, confident, and had a strong sense of style. Each one had her own lessons to pass down to me, from manners to values. They always believed that less is more and quality over quantity. In my designs, I wanted to create something that reflects those values in a contemporary style. Something that we could all wear, appreciate, and stands the test of time.
EH: The 1950″s/1960″s is a style period that deeply resonates with you. What about those time periods speak to your artistic style?
TI: There are some really fun cape styles that came out of the 1960″s. That definitely serves as an inspiration for our collection. I also have a love affair with the 1950″s natural waist dress. Because our capes need to be functional, it is hard to create a very fitted look. As a solution, I incorporated belts into the design and collection so customers have the option to make the cape more fitted if they choose.
EH: How did Ellsworth & Ivey come to fruition, and what were the beginning stages like?
TI: I wanted to concentrate on one piece and do it well. The cape is not limited to an age range, demographic, or style. Each customer wears her cape in her own way, and looks just as fabulous as the next. I literally have customers who are in high school as well as customers in their nineties. After preparing for a year, I launched a very small made to order collection in October 2012 that sold at various trunk shows in the New York area. The trunk shows were a fantastic way to start because I was directly in front of the customers hearing their feedback and building relationships. In 2013 we expanded the trunk shows to other cities such as Chicago and Washington D.C.
EH: As your brand grows have you incorporated anything else into your design process, or have there been any changes?
TI: 2014 will be the first time we are offering capes in fabrics other than Alpaca. F/W 14 will also be the first collection available for wholesale.
EH: What destinations or places bring you the most creativity?
TI: Country Chic is my favorite style, so I really enjoy spending time in Litchfield, Connecticut. Taking in the fall foliage there can be very inspiring.
EH: Do you see Ellsworth & Ivey incorporating other pieces in the future?
TI: Yes and no. Capes are 100% the our main focus, but I would like to create accessories around the cape as it demands. Scarves, gloves, and bags would make sense for us to sell along with our capes.
Taylor Ivey is the designer behind Ellsworth & Ivey.
Written by Eden Herbstman
Design by Mina Darius
Photography Courtesy of Taylor Ivey
Taylor Ivey, Photography Courtesy of Taylor Ivey