Five-Minute Powwow: An Interview with Lilla P Founder Pauline Nakios

In 1998, aspiring designer Pauline Nakios started her first Lilla P collection with a closet staple: the essential T-shirt. Sixteen years later, the collection has expanded to include every wardrobe must-have imaginable: lightweight sweaters, jackets, you name it. Here, she talks inspiration, personal style, and how it all started.

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Rue La La: What’s the significance behind your label’s name?
Pauline Nakios: Lilla was my grandmother and P is for Pauline. Lilla was an incredible woman with amazing style, so it was only fitting that I included her in my line.

RLL: How would you describe your own personal style?
PN: Clean and classic with a modern twist. I love architectural elements and creating color stories.

RLL: Where do you find inspiration?
PN: Living in New York, my inspiration comes from the city and the people I see every day. And I attend seminars well in advance of the season for color and style trends.

RLL: You’re always willing to come in and help out with the styling of photo shoots. What is it about styling that you love?
PN: I have always loved being on the set. Pictures tell a thousand words and it’s important that the image speaks to the brand.

 RLL: You have a magazine-worthy home. How are interior decorating and styling similar?
PN: When decorating or styling, I always start with core pieces and accessorize around them. In both cases, you should always be careful of overstyling.

RLL: You curated a home shop for our Members. What is the inspiration behind your picks?
PN: My family has been in the furniture business for close to 100 years, so my style comes from being exposed to that world all my life. For the Boutique, I chose a lot of items that have natural organic shapes and materials, much like the aesthetic of my clothing line.

Our Lilla P Boutique opens Tuesday, February 25, at 11AM ET.

By Brianna Lapolla, Staff Writer

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Continue reading “Five-Minute Powwow: An Interview with Lilla P Founder Pauline Nakios” »


February 25, 2014

Five-Minute Powwow: An Interview with Hanky Panky Glam Guru JD Breen

As the brand ambassador, creative consulter, and guru of all things glam, JD Breen (@HankyPankyJD) talks everyday panties, the perks of the job, and the revamped Cotton with a Conscience® collection with longtime friend Jackie Nasser (who just so happens to be our Fashion Director).

Meet JD Breen of Hanky Panky

Jackie Nasser: You probably get asked this all the time, but what does your title mean?
JD Breen: I do exciting creative work in addition to making sure our brand image is always consistent and on par. So my title needed to be fun and fabulous at the same time. And it had to match my personality.

JN: What do you love most about your job?
JD: It’s so unpredictable and I never have a boring day at the office. All the problem solving is the most fun for me.
Continue reading “Five-Minute Powwow: An Interview with Hanky Panky Glam Guru JD Breen” »


January 31, 2014

Style & Saving? Author Lilliana Vazquez Proves the Two are Not Mutually Exclusive

Meet Lilliana Vazquez, the Cheap Chica, who has “Balenciaga taste on a strict budget.” Known for her killer closet with a price tag to covet, this New Yorker has hosted countless television shows, from New York Live to Good Day in Dallas, voicing her advice for cheap chicas in training everywhere. Here, on the eve of her debut book release, Lilliana gives Rue a look at her personal style habits – and a few exclusive tips of our own.

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Rue La La: You’re the queen of finding the most stylish steals. How did you find this niche?
Lilliana Vazquez: For me, budget shopping is a way of life, not a niche. My mom has always believed that saving should be a way of life and that you should take more pride in what you can save, not what you can spend… I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! We would take outlet road trips just to hunt down the best deals. So, in some ways, I was raised to be the Cheap Chica.

RLL: Do you follow a personal rule book?
LV: When it comes to fashion, I’m willing to try anything once. I’m a bit of a risk taker. But I’m also very honest about how it looks on me and whether or not it’s a fit for my body, budget, and lifestyle.

RLL: Do you ever splurge just for the sake of splurging?
LV: I’m human! Of course – but it’s few and far between. My favorite splurge is my black quilted Chanel bag. A splurge should be something that you will have for a lifetime and something that you can wear every day without ever getting tired of it. You can check out my “splurge” checklist in my book, The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style. A few questions may save you thousands.

RLL: How heavily do you rely on accessories? Do you prefer to keep it simple or pile them on?
LV: The more the merrier is my motto when it comes to accessories, and the layered look is really having a moment in fashion right now. So I’ve been layering everything – necklaces, midi rings, bracelets, etc.

Continue reading “Style & Saving? Author Lilliana Vazquez Proves the Two are Not Mutually Exclusive” »


November 4, 2013

Let’s Talk Project Runway: A Chat with Season 12′s Alexander Pope

Introducing Alexander Pope. Broadway costume constructor. Project Runway Season 12 designer. And an elimination this season that came far too soon. Read on for our behind-the-scenes chat about the show, New York Fashion Week, and his upcoming mini collection.

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Rue La La: Tell us about being on the show. What was the workroom actually like? Which designers did you enjoy working with?   
Alexander Pope: Well, first off, the workroom was smaller than I thought it would be. But other than that, it’s just a workroom, but not as stocked as it should be… just the basics for us. I enjoyed most of the designers, but I think Jeremy and I bounced ideas off of each other quite well – I tend to bond with the Brits more often, ha!

RLL: What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges? 
AP: Nothing.

RLL: Okay then. The worst?
AP: Well it wasn’t advice, per se, but once they found out I work on Broadway, I kept hearing the descriptor “costumey” a lot. Even when I’m looking at my design, completely confused about their comments because I made a twill gown or a silk bustier dress – clothing, in my eyes.

RLL: Speaking of Broadway – when you started on the show, were you afraid of being called out as a costume designer?   
AP: That’s exactly what I was afraid of. I had a feeling I was going to be pigeonholed as “just a costumer,” and unfortunately I feel that happened. I’ve always known it’s hard for designers to truly “go there” with their designs. I fortunately get to “go there” for a living, so I figured I’d be able to cut back and make it more wearable and commercial. I feel I did a good job with that. I mean, it’s always easier to take a step back than take a step forward. I, my dear, have been stepping forward for decades, so it was a challenge for me to edit and simplify.

RLL: We saw you showed your gothic collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. What was that like? 
AP: It was a blast! I was so nervous, and, honestly, sewing up to the eleventh hour! I knew I was going far and beyond what any of the other designers were doing, but that’s what I do. I wanted to give them a show. Because, let’s face it, 90% of what’s on the runway isn’t what’s on the racks. But then, if you break down my collection, it’s a couple of pairs of nice slacks, great shirts, a couple of gorgeous dresses, and a pair of shorts. It’s wearable.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk Project Runway: A Chat with Season 12′s Alexander Pope” »


October 11, 2013

Let’s Talk NYFW: 5 Minutes with The Man Repeller

Confession: I have a major girl crush on The Man Repeller, Leandra Medine. Her quick-witted fashion blog might as well be my home page. So when I ran into her at Wes Gordon’s S/S 2014 runway show yesterday, you can bet I said hi. Here, we talk all things Fashion Week.

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Continue reading “Let’s Talk NYFW: 5 Minutes with The Man Repeller” »


September 11, 2013

Five-Minute Powwow: An Interview with a Curator of It Bags & More

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On a recent stroll around SoHo (after a major carb splurge at The Dutch), I spied the telltale chain links glimmering in the sun – Chanel! Gently used investment bags (along with The Dutch’s sweet potato doughnuts) are a particular love of mine. So down I went into A Second Chance. What I discovered was a jewel of a shop featuring some of the most coveted pieces imaginable: Stephen Sprouse–edition Vuittons (yes, more than one). CÉLINE mini luggage. A bottle-green Lanvin leather dress. And, oh, the Chanel.

Now, better than any doughnut is an entire Boutique on Rue devoted to a curated collection of Chanel from this beloved NYC destination. This merited a chat with Natalie Rivera, daughter of owner Maria.

Rue La La: What inspired you to open A Second Chance?
Natalie: My mom, Maria, was an avid resale shopper. She always dreamed of owning a Chanel bag of her own one day and opened the store to stay active and involved in an industry she loved. She never dreamed the business would grow to what it has become today. I joined after working in corporate fashion for three years.

Rue La La: We hear you’re ruthless – in a good way – when deciding what makes the cut for the shop. And it shows.
Natalie: Authenticity is first and foremost. Once we are confident that the item is authentic, we appraise the condition to ensure that it is up to our standards. While condition of vintage items varies from piece to piece, we avoid selling items that show too much wear. Once this criteria has been established, we look for items that are classic and timeless. We accept both current and vintage pieces, but everything must be from a luxury designer. Our forte is Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton.

Rue La La: How tempted are you to buy the pieces right when they come in?
Natalie: We only accept items we love, so there’s always a strong desire to buy before they hit shelves. My mother and I are a good balance for each other; she loves to shop and I love to sell.

Rue La La: Is there something that always flies off your shelves?
Natalie: The fastest items to sell are Chanel black quilted classic flap bags with gold hardware. They are iconic bags and almost every girl aspires to own one.

Rue La La: What are people asking about most right now?
Natalie: Chanel vintage jewelry. The handbags have always been on their radar, but the jewelry is becoming more and more popular. There was a time when people would only be interested in the classic CC pieces, but the demand is now growing for the more unique Gripoix and vintage jewelry pieces.

Rue La La: What’s on your personal fashion wish list for spring?
Natalie: A pink Hermès Kelly bag. (Ed. note: Ours, too.)

Our Chanel: Picks by A Second Chance Resale Boutique opens Wednesday, March 13, at 11AM ET.

By Rachel Solomon, Associate Creative Director

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March 13, 2013

Five-Minute Powwow: Artist Rebecca Puig

 

Five-Minute Powwow with Rebecca Puig

When it comes to heartfelt artwork, artist Rebecca Puig knows her stuff. From touching prints to sentiment pillows, she creates pieces every room can benefit from. Here, we caught up with her to talk inspiration and interior design.

Rue La La: Your artwork is incredible. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Rebecca: I get inspiration from my children’s art, nature, animals, words, messages, and symbols – and in unlikely and strange places.

Rue La La: Your company has grown so much since first launching in 2002. What’s in store for the future of Sugarboo?
Rebecca: We are super-excited about the new ceramic line I am doing with my mom. She is a talented artist and introduced me to ceramics 20 years ago. It’s a really sweet line and all the sweeter because my mom is part of it.

Rue La La: The quotes in your pieces are so touching and inspirational. How do you choose them? Is there a personal story behind each one?
Rebecca: If a message gives me one of those aha moments Oprah likes to talk about or if I get goose bumps then I want to share that with everyone else. I don’t always have a personal story for each one, but only know they somehow reached my core.

Rue La La: What are your tips for displaying a really great piece of artwork (like yours)?
Rebecca: I think it is important to enjoy your favorite art every day, so I would say to always put your favorite pieces in your most highly trafficked areas so they are really a part of your everyday life – sometimes putting a fancy painting in the mudroom or a rustic painting in the dining room creates a more interesting juxtaposition anyway.

Rue La La: I imagine your house to have amazing décor – can you tell me a little bit about it?
Rebecca: I love telling my family’s story in our house and I think I have every possible design taste under the sun – quirky, fun, serious, folky, modern, rustic. I love to mix them all because I feel like I am all those things. I have never decorated around a painting, but that is not a bad idea!

Our Sugarboo Designs Boutique opens Wednesday, January 2, at 11AM ET.

By Keriann Coffey, Associate Blog Editor

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January 2, 2013