New Type #29: Jackie Astier Interview

February 24, 2018 11:00 AM

Astier places its identity within the advanced adaptation skills of the modern New York woman. After several successful capsule collections and Hamptons pop-ups, founder Jackie Astier debuted her vision with the label’s first Fall/Winter collection. Having worked previously as an interior designer, she creates each garment with the same personal care and meticulous consideration accomplished from her days creating spaces for life. TWELV caught up with the designer to talk a little about her New York roots, inspiration, and the challenges of creating a brand:

You worked in both Interior Design and as a fashion stylist. Did fashion design feel like an inevitable next step?

I feel fashion and interiors work hand in hand. There have always been designs dancing in my head, and I sketch constantly to conceptualize shapes, form, drape and textile. I love building the layers that develop personal style, whether it’s within the home or within the wardrobe. 

What was your starting point for Astier?

I wanted to start with capsule collections and test the waters. I had a pop-up store in Southampton for 2 summers and was able to see what the customer wanted. I could see the variety of body shapes and how they worked in the clothing. I got a personal take on what women were attracted to, what they were looking for and how they shopped. Since it was summer and people were dressing for the beach, it was an easier, off-duty kind of dressing. It wasn’t as serious as a New York woman’s city wardrobe. And this was a very relevant step for me as a designer. The collection sold well, and I was really ready for the next step.

Fall 2018 marks your first complete collection. Was there an “I’m ready” moment?

The back-end of creating a brand is a little daunting at first, but I met someone who has very strong and detailed workshops in pattern and sample making, as well as production, and who understood my vision and was willing to help me develop patterns and shapes. These ultimately led to the first garments and samples which eventually became presented for Fall 18. Without that support, I would be less “full force ahead.” After all, I am doing this all on my own without a “parent company” so I needed to feel 100% confident that I had a workshop that could deliver. With that under my belt, in addition to the success of pop-up shop sales, I was ready.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced during the inception of the brand?

I’d say scheduling. There are challenging deadlines in this business, but once those are recognized, the decision making process can flow at a more effective pace. 

As far as design challenges, every design is a challenge. You want the clothing to drape and fit as you envisioned. The layers you add to it must all be in sync. You have to decide which fabric to use, the fabric content, the weave, the print, the weight. There are thousands of options, and as a designer you want to consider those options and translate your vision.

What does being a New York brand mean to you?

I design clothing for the New York woman. She is part-warrior, part-romantic. She’s constantly changing environments, and ready for anything. The city has a diverse urban terrain, so high heels and pencil skirts have proven to fail her. She wants to have freedom, like her weekend self, but to be polished, too. She is powerful, fun and feminine. She hits the pavement without a stumble. 

What’s your favorite place in NYC?

My apartment. It’s where my heart is.

Tell me a little bit about your time as an Interior Designer?

I mainly did homes and apartments of friends. The projects were exciting because my friends were trusting me with their homes, and to create a living space that was unique, stylish and spoke to their personalities, was very personal. I was creating a place they would spend time in for years to come, and that made each project special and important. And I take that same sense of personal style into my fashion designs. 

Do you have a prized piece of furniture?

My dining room chairs– Marché aux Puces– Jean Royère– 12 that I bought and recovered in a teal-colored velvet. They are my favorite, not only for their design, but I love to cook and have friends sitting in them around the dining room table.

And most precious piece of clothing?

That is almost impossible to answer, but maybe one of my grandmothers wedding dresses. She designed wedding dresses and left me two of her creations. They look very early Balenciaga. I’ve never worn them, but I’ll never get rid of them. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Never complain, Never explain. And to tell a story, you must start with a sentence.  

In your time-off, what are you most likely doing?

Spending time with my daughters. I love visiting galleries, museums, vintage shops, and new neighborhoods in New York. I also love to travel and to be inspired by new things whenever I can. 

 

Shop the collection at ASTIERLAND.COM.

 

INTERVIEW BY AUDREY ROSE

EDITED BY HOLLIS DE LANEY

 

PHOTO CREDIT: JACKIE ASTIER

  

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