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Kristin Cavallari: Dillard’s Exclusive Interview

Seamlessly adding shoe designer to her credentials, TV personality Kristin Cavallari has recently offered the world some irresistible kicks. Her creations — from studded flats to slinky ankle-strap heels — infuse classic silhouettes with feminine attitude. Find out more about the Chinese Laundry by Kristin Cavallari line in our exclusive interview.

Kristin rocking the  Lotteria in melon. Love!

Kristin rocking the Lotteria in melon. Love!

Q: Who is the typical Kristin Cavallari customer?
On-the-go women who want to look effortless and chic.

Q: Where do you draw most of your inspiration for your designs?
Fashion magazines, books and the runway.

Q: Who are your major influences?
Christian Louboutin, YSL and Kate Moss.

Q: What do you feel you bring to the industry?
My line is all about simplicity. I want the shoe to complete the outfit, not outshine it.

Q: What’s the ultimate message you want to get across through your shoes?
You can look and feel great without spending a fortune.

Q: Did you attend school for design or are you self-taught?
Self taught. I’ve just been obsessed with shoes since I can remember! I’ve kept an inspiration book for over 8 years.

Q: What are some of your favorite shoes in the line?
 The Lotteria is the perfect summer sandal, and it comes in 3 beautiful color combos.

Q: What are some key trends we will see from your line next season?
Fall is all about boots and more booties. You can never have enough. The colors are richer, darker hues.

Q: Tell us about a shoe you will never forget
 The Lotteria because it’s the shoe I absolutely had to have, and it’s been one of my most popular shoes.

Q: Which shoe should no woman be without?
Every woman needs a great nude heel!

Shop all Chinese Laundry by Kristin Cavallari.

Which shoe is your favorite? Comment to let us know!

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Dillard’s Exclusive Interview: Marc Ecko Watches Global Brand Manager, Stephen Scholz

Q: How did you get started with Marc Ecko?
A: When the opportunity came up to launch Marc Ecko Watches in 2002 I was working on another fashion watch brand within the Timex Group. I went down to the offices in New Jersey and met Marc and his team. I was blown away by the energy and creativity. Marc inspires people to trust their instincts and appreciate the process of product development as an art form. He’s a visionary.

Q: What is the coolest thing about being the global brand manager for Marc Ecko and UNLTD. watches?
A: I would say the coolest thing is the people I get to work and collaborate with, from artists and celebrities to the retail partners and all of my friends and colleagues. I don’t underestimate any of the people I have met and worked with. Everyone has their own unique perspective, and I enjoy putting creative minds together and coming up with ideas that couldn’t have existed from just one individual. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Q: What sets Marc Ecko and UNLTD. watches apart?
A: We strive to create products and brand experiences that connect with the end consumer on a meaningful level. Every detail is considered and contemplated from the very first step. Our objective is to offer watch styles that stand for something unique and have great value. That has always been our approach. The payoff is hearing from customers who have bought our watches and talk about how much they love all of the details.

Q: Who is the Marc Ecko man?
A: That’s a tough one. I have always believed that our customer profile is more about a state of mind than an age or ethnicity. The Marc Ecko man is an individual spirit. Bold, daring, youthful, artistic and creative. Culturally connected.

Q: Who/what are some of Marc Ecko and UNLTD. watch’s biggest influences?
A: Wow. We get influences from so many different people and places. Sometimes there’s one thing that leads to another. Many years ago we did an alarm clock with the rapper Flava Flav. It was crazy. We did a launch event at KidRobot in NYC. The success of that clock led to a second version with Biz Markie. It became this old school hip-hop series called the Legends Alarm Clocks. We met Biz, and he had this turntable with him that inspired us to create a Turntable Watch. We did it as a necklace and bracelet in silver and gold, and it sold out. Some influences are more direct like that and others come from mashing up different ideas.

Q: What are your favorite trends for fall?
A: Yellow Gold Metals. Animal Prints. Illustrative Graphics. Transparent Materials that expose inner workings.

Q: Tell us about the Rhino logo. Where did that come from?
A: Marc’s father collected wooden rhino sculptures. It always stuck with him. When Marc was 20 years old, he was going to college at Rutgers and spending more time and energy on his art. Airbrushing graffiti t-shirts and jackets out of his parents’ garage that he had turned into a studio. They say do what you love and love what you do. He dropped out of school to pursue his passions.

He changed his last name to Ecko because he has a twin sister Marci who was born just before him. His grandmother called Marc the little echo. That became the name of the brand. Ecko. When he went to his first trade show, Marc saw all of the other established brands there had a logo or symbol to support the name. He remembered the Rhinos his father collected, and it had cool implications. The rhino is somewhat prehistoric looking. It starts slow but can be unstoppable when it gains speed and momentum. It’s a strong creature and was the perfect fit as the brand logo.

Q: Where is the most exciting place one of your watches has been featured?
A: Several years ago, one of the wealthiest families in Dubai saw our watch and ordered 1,000 pieces to be used as gifts for visiting guests at their palace. That was pretty cool. But honestly we get pictures emailed to us or our Facebook page all the time with people wearing their Ecko Watch to places like Hong Kong, South Africa, Peru or even Brooklyn. Everyone has their own journey. It’s cool to create something that becomes a part of it.

Q: What is the difference between the collections (Unlimited, Marc Ecko and Cut and Sew)? And how do you style them?
A: Unlimited is fashion-active and more in your face. We style the Unlimited Collection into two categories, Ecko-Classics which has stones and is more going-out, like a club watch. And Street-Tech which we launched a year ago. Street-Tech is technical enough that you can sweat in it, but you’re probably not using it for a triathlon. It’s fashionable technology. We use bright colored silicone straps, digital displays, luminous glow in the dark details and really modern and interesting case forms. Tech is the new bling! On the other side, Marc Ecko Cut & Sew is more mature…more grown up. Marc and his team do such an amazing job with crafting the details and applications on the apparel that we really follow the lead. Our watches are dressy and contemporary with precision detailing.

Q: What are your 3 must-have watches from Ecko?
A: The Flash in gold, The Flash in silver and The Supreme.

Shop all Marc Ecko watches.

Which Marc Ecko watch is your favorite? Tell us in the comments! 

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Dillard’s Exclusive Interview: Kerry Magnusson, Director of Bridal Merchandising for Nina Jewelry

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
A: The Nina Jewelry line was created by listening to the customer and inspiration is drawn by her experiences.  As creator of the collection, I noticed a lack of well-made, trend-right, bridal accessories at a palatable retail price. This became the foundation of the Nina Bridal accessories collection.  I set out to create a collection of made in the USA, hand-crafted sashes and veils.  After an overwhelmingly positive reaction, it became clear that we needed to expand the line to include headpieces and jewelry. Today, the collection is a full-circle accessories line where we offer everything but the dress.

Inspiration comes from everywhere. As a designer, you need to have your eyes and ears wide open. You can be inspired by travel, a beautiful chandelier, a floral arrangement, or a page from a magazine.  Just one image can spark a flurry of ideas and become the focal point of a collection.

Q: Who and what are your major influences?
A: First and foremost, the customer is my main influence. At Nina we democratize glamour.  The customer is central to everything that we do.

Secondly, on a personal note, I think back to my grandmother Mary.  She was a product of the Depression, raised 4 children on a shoe-string budget and always found a way to look fabulous.  In tough times, accessories were her way to stay relevant and reignite her wardrobe.   She would replace buttons on a jacket or put together a fabulous mélange of necklaces.   It made the same dress look new.   I think back to how glamorous she always looked and try to channel her creativity.  The Nina line is designed to be heirloom quality whether it is worn for everyday sparkle or the most special of occasions.

Q: What are some of the trends you are looking forward to?
A: The most prevalent trend right now is the return to statement pieces. What was fashionable 2 years ago is now deemed a “basic.”  The customer wants to own her look and command attention.   This is a very exciting time in jewelry because it really gives designers artistic freedom.

There are 2 main stories happening within the statement jewelry trend that I am most excited about:

  1. The return to the 1920s and emphasis on Art Deco.   Pieces like the Acacia necklace and the Mohalo earring are fabulous examples.   They are showered with crystal and have phenomenal shape and movement.
  2. The second story is organic and nature driven.   Flowers are always relevant in special occasion.  I try to find ways to incorporate a floral suggestion or a mélange look, instead of using the traditional, symmetrical flower.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of designing bridal jewelry?
A: My favorite aspect is the relationship with the bride. This is a monumental day in her life and it is a privilege to style her.

Q: What sets Nina accessories apart from other brands?
A: Nina provides a couture aesthetic at an understandable retail price.  Most department store special occasion lines are “safe” in their designs.   At Nina we try to break the glass ceiling and offer her elevated fashion.

Q: Who is the Nina bride?
A: We cater to all brides: the modern bride, the avant-garde bride, the romantic bride, the destination bride — the list goes on.   As in our footwear line, we have something for everyone.

Q: What tips would you give a bride trying to style her big day?
A: Be yourself and be comfortable in your own skin.   Your spouse is marrying you for the person you are inside and out.   So it is important to be true to yourself on that day.

Q: What are your favorite pieces from your line right now?
A: You are asking me to play favorites — that is very hard to do! My favorite is the Melaney necklace because I wear it once a week and it finishes any outfit.   The blush coloration especially is so versatile! A few ways to wear it:

For a night out: Melaney with a black dress and gold Nina Medina sandals.
To work: Melaney with an ivory blouse, black blazer, jeans and the Nina Deanna.
To run errands: Melaney with a T-shirt, jeans and the Nina Norway ballet flat.

I travel quite a bit and I find the Melaney is the perfect accessory.  It can be worn with every item in your suitcase!

Shop Nina Accessories, Nina Evening Bags and Nina shoes

Which Nina pieces are your favorite? Tell us in the comments! 

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Dillard’s Exclusive Interview with Sleepwear Designer Carole Hochman

Q: How did you get your start designing intimate apparel and sleepwear?
A: I studied fashion design at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and my first internship in my sophomore year was selling lingerie at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC…the rest is history

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
A: Inspiration is everywear in NYC. Today I can also do lots of interesting research on the internet.

Q: Who/what are your major influences?
A: I love everything vintage.

Q: What sets the Midnight by Carole Hochman line apart from other sleepwear lines?
A: The midnight line is intended for women who love comfort but want to feel very feminine and sexy.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of designing sleepwear?
A: I wear sleepwear, and I know how it needs to feel and look for myself. I love the discovery of a new fabric and a new lace.

Q: What are some upcoming trends in sleepwear we should watch for?
A: Sleepwear is getting lacey again and still very casual and comforatble. It is fun to get all the facets in one fabulous garment.

Q: What is your favorite material to work with?
A: I love modal because it is silky and drapey but very easy care.

Q: What is the most exciting place your designs have been featured?
A: I love seeing my designs on the web.

Q: What are your favorite pieces from the Midnight by Carole Hochman collection?
A: The Forever &  Always gown and pajama are fabulous pieces for this fall. They are an easy fit with a very flattering satin twisted neckline that is so very feminine and flattering to everyone. We have a pajama called Modern Comfort that I slept in last night and no one would believe they are pajamas — very sporty, soft and something you never want to take off.

Shop all Midnight by Carole Hochman.

What are your favorite pieces from the collection? 

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Dillard’s Exclusive Interview: Tableware Designer Julia Knight

Q. Where do you get your inspiration from?
A. From my time living in Paris and the global tapestry of my travels: the flash of color from a Sari, the sea off the coast of St. Tropez, the flesh from a ripe mango, an oyster’s shimmering shell, the delicateness of wild sage, a cranberry’s translucent depth.

Q. How do you decide your design style?
A. I love a design style that mixes natural textures like warm woods and dramatic animal prints, with more womanly elements like shimmer and shine. My goal is to add a bit of glamour and sparkle to the table while keeping it comfortable and functional. My collection is all about color and creating your own personal palettes of color that reflect your personality and mood.

Q. What are your tips for entertaining?
A.  It isn’t necessarily about what one serves, it isn’t about slaving for hours to create the perfect evening. That’s old school. New school is making the perfect evening perfectly effortless. My serveware and glassware can help transform even the most ordinary food and refreshment into something unique without having to break a sweat. It is what I call “entertaining redefined.”

Q. What makes the Julia Knight collection different?
A. Color is definitely a strength and the mix of materials to create something that is at the same time glamorous but comfortable. My look is female, not feminine; dramatic and comfortable — it makes you feel really good about yourself.

Q. Which is your favourite piece? What is an ideal piece to gift to a friend?
A. It changes with each season. Right now, I am favoring the new Peony 12” round deep bowl.  It is the perfect piece to serve in. And if you add a small bowl in the center, it becomes an ideal chip and dip.

Q. What colors do you like to use the most?
A. One of my favorite colors is amethyst, which can be paired with kiwi and hydrangea for a gorgeous mix or with platinum, toffee and snow for a sophisticated look. I am also fond of the Pretty in Pink color-story for spring — caviar, champagne, raspberry, snow and platinum.

Q. Of all things, why did you choose to design décor and tableware?
A.  One of my greatest joys is entertaining others.  I love the chance to make people feel special, and I want to be present at a party and not worn out from the preparation. This drove my desire to design entertaining table and serveware that would make anything I served, from shrimp and cocktail sauce to smoked salmon and caviar, absolutely stunning. I want my guests to leave with a memorable experience.

Q. Any future plans to make additions to your collections?
A. This spring I’m thrilled to introduce “Wood Jewels,” a collection I’ve been working on for more than a year that combines sumptuous hand-carved wood with our signature enamel — it’s jewelry for your table. Also new, a royal “Queen Bee” design that has folks buzzing already and a fabulous collection of fish I call “Pescador.”

Shop the Julia Knight Collection.

What’s your favorite Julia Knight piece? Tell us about it in the collection.  

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Dillard’s Exclusive Interview: Robert Lee Morris

Q: What made you want to get into the jewelry business?
A: I never started off wanting to go into the jewelry business. It all just evolved magically like a Hollywood movie. I was discovered, put into the most prestigious jewelry gallery in the country, (Sculpture to Wear in the Plaza hotel) and my career just exploded without my ever intending to have a career in jewelry. I knew I was an artist, and I was just feeling my way into the art world when the jewelry I had started making became a business all by itself.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
A: I draw inspiration from sacred geometry, the natural beauty of all living things. I am inspired by ancient history and futuristic visions. I am the bridge between the past and the future, between tribal and urban cultures.

Q: What are your major influences?
A: My major influences are the great artists who demonstrate that in everything they create there is a powerful signature handprint, a DNA imprint, a message from the soul that is consistent and recognizable in absolutely everything they make. Examples of these artists are Brancusi, Calder, Picasso, Arp, Warhol, and many of the great visual artists who move from one classification to another without ever losing their signature style.

Q: What is the most exciting place your jewelry has been featured?
A: The first most exciting moment in my career was when I had my brass bubble collar on the cover of Vogue in 1976. While I have had countless similar experiences of publication, that still remains the most critical in terms of my career trajectory.

Q: Which collaborations have you enjoyed the most during your career?
A: My first most enjoyable collaboration was with Calvin Klein and his design staff for his fall 1981 show. It was thrilling and fun and ended up gaining me a Coty award. The next most exciting collaboration was in 1985. I was an integral part of the Donna Karan launch, where the theme of black and gold was really the wedding of Donna and Robert, which lasted for 36 collections, and influenced the entire fashion and jewelry industries for years.

Q: What sets your designs apart from those of other lines?
A: The key features of my work, those that set it apart from all other jewelry collections in the world, are the bold sculptural forms that emphasize the sensuality and comfort of fluid shapes, undulating and sexy. My jewelry is more about the metalwork and the sculptural foundation of my look than the setting of jewels, decoration and trendy effects that have little lasting value. What sets my work apart is the fact that there is content, storytelling and the integration of my own personal philosophy of design and aesthetics as opposed to most other lines that emphasize decorative details, stones and bling.

Q: What is your favorite material to work with?
A: I favor brass and silver.

Q: What are your top styling tips?
A: Top styling tips? Use jewelry to empower yourself, to increase your confidence and create a body language of strength and simplicity.

Q: What are some of your favorite trends for fall?
A: My favorite trend for fall is the use of major necklaces. Adorning your neck is an important, creative statement above all other trends.

Q: What are the 3 must-have pieces from your collection?
A: A major statement piece from the Iconic metals collection — large hammered gold or silver metal earrings or a large iconic cuff. You also need something with movement like the pieces from the Windchime collection.

Shop all Robert Lee Morris Soho.

Which Robert Lee Morris Soho piece is your favorite? Tell us in the comments! 

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The HomeFront: Dillard’s Exclusive Interview with Reba McEntire

Q.  How would you describe your own style for your home?
A.  I would describe my home as being warm and inviting. I want everyone who visits to feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed. I love to surround myself with pieces that bring back fond memories: trips, family, friends, accomplishments and personal items that reflect who I am.

Q.  What connections do you feel between being a home decor designer and an artist/singer/songwriter?
A.  They are both outlets for expressing my creativity and connecting with someone. I feel my creativity for music and my brand are similar in that I want to have a connection with my products, much like I want to have that connection with my fans when I sing.

Q.  What do you feel you bring to the home furnishing industry that’s different from other designers?
A.  With my profession, I travel all over the world which gives me the advantage of seeing what is available in the marketplace. I want to bring products to my consumer that are special and have meaning when brought into their home.  I look for products that are made of quality materials that will add warmth to my home. That is what I am creating with my brand.

Q.  Where do you draw most of your inspiration or ideas for products?
A.  I gather inspiration from everything: magazines, traveling, landscapes, architecture, friend’s homes, other people.  I always have my eyes open for great products and what is being offered in hopes that we can design something unique and not do what everyone else is doing.

Q.  How did your partnership with Dillard’s home first begin?
A.  We started the REBA Brand with ladies sportswear in the Spring of 2005.  After finding success in this category, we were approached to create a bedding line for Dillard’s. My home is my retreat. It’s the warm, comfortable place where I get to relax and spend quality time with family and friends, so Harmony for the Home was a natural extension for me and the brand. I personally use the products, and my home is full of the REBA bedding and bath collections.

Q.  Can you give us a sneak peak of some upcoming REBA home fashions?
A.  We have several beautiful bedding collections coming for fall. Gold Coast is a regal, traditional collection in gold and cream. Belvedere is made up of a large scale border with black and camel hues that will be offered with coordinating drapery and decorative pillows. The Belvedere collection is grand and makes a statement.  We will also be offering an American Indian collection that is made up in the beautiful, rich colors of burgundy, camel and turquoise. We have many more collections coming this fall that we know you will love!

Q.  What’s the ultimate message you want to get across through your products?
A.  I want people to know that my products are a direct reflection of my lifestyle. I hope that my consumer will connect with them because they reflect a level of quality and comfort that I personally approve.

Shop Reba’s Divine Harmony Christmas Tree for the home.

Shop all Reba home products. Shop all Reba.

What’s your favorite Reba product? Tells us about it in the comments. 


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