We may still have some triple-digit temperatures in line, but that won’t stop the fall clothing from coming. And it’s fine with me. I’m tired of sweet pinks, sunny greens and neon blues. Bring on the fall colors, baby! Give me the deep plums, the fierce jewel tones and steel grays! And that’s exactly what Edward Wilkerson, designer for Lafayette 148, has done. His fall collection is here in Neiman Marcus stores to clothe Dallas women in luxurious fabrics and modern shapes. I met up with him Monday to discuss Lafayette 148 and his latest collection. Check out our Q&A session.
(Me) So what do you think of Dallas?
(Edward Wilkerson) Oh, I love it. I feel like it’s my second home. When I tell my friends I’m going to Dallas, they say, “Again?” It’s just so lively. I enjoy the energy. The people are very friendly. And the women are very stylish. It’s inspirational.
Why did you join Lafayette 148 in 1998?
Lafayette was just starting, and I saw an opportunity to grow with it. I’d always worked for large companies, like Donna Kara and Calvin Klein. I wanted to see what influence my talent really had with a company.
How would you describe the line?
Chic, stylish and sophisticated.
Who is the woman you design for?
She’s a business woman. She’s a doctor. She’s a lawyer. She’s a mother. What she’s looking for are clothes that compliment and update her wardrobe.
Any style icons?
Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. I worked at two places that gave me the best of both worlds. One was sophisticated sensuality, and the other one was clean, modern and chic. I combined it all together with Lafayette 148.
What inspired you for this fall collection?
National Geographic has always been an inspiration to me. It’s really the first travel magazine before travel magazines became as stylish as they are. National Geographic really took you inside the different cultures. This fall collection is a cultural experience that was inspired by the National Geographer photographer Steve McCurry. I bought his book, and I saw his portraits of all the people from around the world, and I produced a collection around the portraits that he did from his latest book. We actually shot our catalog in that style. I really wanted it to be more portrait-like. The images are very still, the lighting is very faded. I was really trying to capture the essence of what he has done.
What will be different about this collection from previous collections?
Subtle things. New shapes, like the shorter length jacket and the cocoon coat, the different embellishments to the skirts, the ambre wool, the ambre leathers, the studded leather and the studded suede. I always have embellished pieces in every collection. I think that it adds sparkle. It adds life to the garment when you bring it to another dimension.
What is your favorite fall trend?
I love all the ambre fabric. I think that it really stands out. Our ambre jewel toned pieces, one of our special leather jackets and suede skirts; I think that they’ll really make a difference in your wardrobe.
How does Lafayette fit the Dallas woman?
The Dallas woman is very style-conscious and so well put together. I’m always telling everyone, “You know what? They get their hair done. They get their nails done. They take care of themselves. They really do.” And they do it every day. It’s not something that they take for granted.