Ladies, you know that go-to dress you have? The one that always looks good for all kinds of different occasions? Maybe it’s an LBD, maybe it’s full of colors, but you know the one I mean.
Designer Stephanie Ann Doucette knows too. Formerly of Doucette Duvall, Stephanie has been designing and manufacturing “sure thing” pieces entirely in New York City for almost a decade. I was lucky enough to sit down with the busy mother of three in a Chelsea cafe back in January when she told me a little about her journey, and I was THRILLED to get an email from her earlier this week announcing the launch of her new line: Doucette*!
Stephanie is back in full force, feeling reinvigorated and ready to dive back in with her Holiday 2012 collection. It was time, she told me, time to move on from her former brand and start fresh. Her twins just turned one, and she’s more inspired than ever!
“Life changes inspire authenticity on every level,” she explained.
Stephanie describes Doucette* as a more grown-up version of Doucette Duvall, with pieces more timeless than ever. ”Modern Nostalgia” she calls it. “When you wear one of my pieces you look like you invented shopping, not like you raided Grandma’s closet. You’re more timeless than time capsule.”
Stephanie’s line is a perfect example of sustainable fashion: the very opposite of fast, disposable fashion, her pieces are meant to last. Quality and duration are her mantras (as well, of course, as beauty).
“I don’t want to make dresses that girls are going to get tired of. I want my dresses to live in their closets where they will love them forever.”
She hopes that you will pass them down to your sister, daughter, or anyone you love. Ultimate sustainability.
Doucette dresses are also made entirely in NYC from about 85-90% vintage materials. Stephanie works out of a studio and factory in the NYC Garment district, and she touches every piece she sells. Manufacturing in the city (and the country, for that matter) is difficult and expensive, but she wouldn’t do it any other way.
Searching for the right materials is also a long, somewhat technical process. During our recent conversation, Stephanie told me something I’d heard from two other NYC designers who use vintage materials: when you’re working with vintage, you work from the material up. Meaning that you find a fabric that speaks to you, and figure out what to do with it, not vice versa. It’s much more difficult, she explained, to have your sketch and find the perfect material for it. For example, Stephanie fell in love with this Italian wool crepe and then created the pants on the left (the top is also rescued wool crepe):
Occasionally, she finds something new that she loves so much she just has to use it, in which cases she tries to source domestically. These Made in USA lime green sequins called her name, so she integrated them into the Holiday 2012 collection:
Stay tuned for the release of Doucette*’s debut collection! Those of you in Boston, check her website for details of the May 10th trunk show, and those of you in Chicago can snag a few select Doucette Duvall at Sarca. I know I could use a new “sure thing!”