Friday, March 18, 2011

15 Minutes with Lauren Conrad: Designer, Author, Mogul

By Kerry Pieri
March 14, 2011 4:45 pm

Prior to my phone chat with Lauren Conrad, the girls in the office were discussing Laguna Beach and Stephen and how Kristin used to pronounce Stephen, Stee-vin, which led to someone mentioning that Jason recently appeared on Celebrity Rehab, and how LC's first book is being made into a movie by the producers of Twilight.

Lauren Conrad's private and personal lives were, at one time, almost completely imperceptible from one another. That's no longer the case for the mogul-in-making who may no longer be followed by cameras, but who used the phenomenon of celebrity and a die hard loyal following who just so happens to think of her, sort of, as one of their own in the best way possible – to build a brand.

Conrad already signed a three-book deal with Harper Collins (two released so far became NY Times best sellers), is counted as the official spokesperson for mark, designs a collection for Kohl's and is returning to the higher end fashion realm with her new contemporary line, Paper Crown – launching for Fall 2011.

What made you want to launch a personal line again?
I wanted to do it when I started working with Kohl's – I wanted to be able to work on that and develop my brand.

Why did you opt not to use your name when branding Paper Crown?
I think that when you take your name out it makes it less of celebrity brand and that’s what we were were tyring to do. We wanted something that had that whimsical, youthful sound. The name comes from when I was young I used to play dress up a lot and I would go to my Grandma's house I didn’t have my trunk there and so we would make paper crowns – it was a way of making your own glamour.

What was the inspiration for the first collection?
The first collection is for fall, and for the brand overall we wanted to balance out hard and soft so we put chiffon and soft fabrics with leather – it's all about achieving that balance.

What are some of your favorite pieces personally?
I love the tiered chiffon dress, I think it's really beautiful, we worked a lot on the fit. We also did a faux leather legging that's really great also.

What was the audience you were appealing to in terms of price point?
This line is really about higher end, more specialty pieces. The price point is between $59 and $460. We wanted a lot of variety, but it's competitively priced for a contemporary line. We just went to Coterie [sales trade fair in New York City] and it’s meant to be more specialty and more boutique and appropriate for the right sections of a department store.

You had planned on launching this collection with a reality show on MTV, which was later canceled. Were you relieved or would you have wanted the press it would have brought?
Both options come with pros and cons there’s definitely a pro of marketing a line, but the process is simpler without a crew of cameras and were not as limited to what we can do because cameras have to have access and people aren’ t always willing to work with you.

Would you ever do a reality show again?
I don’t know – you never say never but at this point.

Where do you see Paper Crown in the future? Stand alone stores? E-commerce?
We want to start on e-commerce, not on our own but with an online store. I think it’s difficult to have stores but we’re not ruling it out.

Who would your ideal celebrity be to wear Paper Crown?
There's no one in particular,  we wanted pieces that weren't so specific to one person or one style, so it can be worn differently and by all different women.

How would you describe your personal style right now?
I’m loving the whole 70s trend, I lived in skinny jeans for years and years and for the first time I’m starting to wear a flair. I love flowy fabrics and pretty prints.

Do you read trend forecasts and the like or do you prefer just to design what you're feeling?
I think it’s a marriage of the two because you have to be trend conscious but you want to be creative and create something different – you’re creating your own designs while keeping trends in mind.

Do you think of Paper Crown as an every day wear collection or more special occasion?
It's a collection for both-there's staple pieces in there, the blazer and we wanted pieces that are transitional pieces that can be worn up or down, but that full length chiffon is for special occasions, definitely.

Paper Crown will announce soon which stores to mine for the Fall collection soon, in the meantime check out the Paper Crown lookbook.

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