I have a secret to share. Underneath a stack of books in my office, far from most peoples eyesight is a lonely little folder. The folder itself is not embarrassing, it’s what’s in this folder that brings me shame. This folder contains pictures that have been torn, ripped and stolen from magazines whenever my fancy strikes. Pictures of things that I secretly adore and dream about but probably will never own. Pictures of hot jeans that I love that I could never afford, handbags that I covet but that will never touch my shoulder and beautiful dresses that I imagine swirling in around town. You will see names in the folder like Manillo, Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo, Zac Posen, and Nanette Lepore. The latter is a recent obsession and her designs have started to take an ever increasing space in the tiny folder. Nanette is known for her feminine style and sophisticated detailing. She makes ultra chic clothing that is at the same time easy to wear.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Nanette produced her first couture look at the tender age of nine outfitting a neighbor in a floral bedspread, beaded choker and face paint. The girl posed in the family’s front yard behind a hand-lettered sign declaring “Lepore,” and thus began Nanette’s lifelong interest in fashion. Artistic innovation flourished naturally in a household headed by an abstract painter-father and a fabulously stylish mother of four. Road tripping on Route 66 with her bohemian parents each summer instilled in Nanette a free spirit and a taste for travel.
After completing her undergraduate studies at Youngstown University, she packed her bags and headed east to New York City’s venerable Fashion Institute of Technology. She aced her degree in design, married painter Robert Savage and set out to pay her dues in design studios around town.
However, Nanette knew she wouldn’t be satisfied until her creations bore her own name. In 1992, bolstered by a $5,000 loan from her dad to strike out on her own, Nanette set up shop in a penthouse office in the garment district. It quickly became an incubator for poets and painters who would bounce ideas off one another while stargazing on the roof.
Today Nanette designs in her atelier in New York City alongside her husband, Robert, who helms the business side of the worldwide brand as its President. Nanette enjoys a strong following among editors, chic style-makers and celebrities including Hilary Swank, Sarah Jessica Parker and Eva Longoria. Suitable for a tea at The Ritz or a night out on the town, each collection balances feminine details with a seductive sensibility.
The Nanette Lepore brand extends to three complete fragrance lines, “Nanette Lepore,” “Shanghai Butterfly,” and the latest, “Love Bird.” She has six Nanette Lepore boutiques worldwide, in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston, London and Tokyo.
In Fall 2006 the brand continued to grow with an international launch of Nanette’s first comprehensive shoe collection. The shoes were an instant hit and have become a staple in any crave worthy shoe collection. And most importantly they have earned a place in my trusty dusty fashion folder along with her beautiful clothing creations. A girl can always dream.
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