Park Slope–based designer Brookelynn Starnes hasn't had the quite the same uphill struggle as most aspiring young designers. She landed a job consulting at Libertine fresh out of Pratt, after styling for labels like Zac Posen, Thakoon, and Prada while still in school. In 2006, Starnes launched Cloak & Dagger, and Barneys snapped up the entire second season. Last month she opened her first stand-alone boutique in the East Village, showcasing her sleek, feminine spring collection. We chatted with the designer about spring shoes, vintage (and guitar) hunting, and the injustice of harem pants.
When did you start designing clothes?
I was very lucky early on, at Pratt: I worked with Brana Wolf, Steven Meisel, Prada, and Valentino, styling people like Maggie Gyllenhaal and Drew Barrymore. I launched my line in 2006, while I was still working at Libertine.
What kind of person wears your clothes?
The Cloak & Dagger girl is feminine, confident, and sexy. It’s not trend specific. I just try to make really flattering, flirtatious clothes.
Who are your favorite designers?
Right now I’m really loving Marni and Balmain. I adore Marni for its avant-garde fabrics and silhouettes and color stories. It’s totally different from Cloak & Dagger — Marni is kind of hard to wear. You have to know how to style it, working with loose, abstract shapes.
What’s the first designer item you bought?
A really nice Coach watch when I was 16. I still have it; it’s gorgeous. It’s silver with a rectangular face and really chunky links.
Where do you shop in New York?
We’re starting to showcase select vintage items in the store, but I never buy vintage in New York. It’s too overpriced and picked over, I can’t rationalize it. I travel all over, scouting new items. I'm going to Chicago this weekend and to Nashville and Knoxville in a couple of weeks. My fiancé owns Rivington Guitars, so I hunt for clothing and he hunts for guitars.
How would you describe your personal style?
It depends on my mood — in general I’m feminine and tailored. Right now I’m wearing patent-leather jazz flats, black tights, shorts, a striped sweater, and a leather jacket. Yesterday I wore a Cloak & Dagger dress and blazer with Givenchy shoes.
Which trends are you appreciating right now?
Hats and bright lipstick. Barbara Feinman makes these great Panama-style hats, and I’ve been wearing a shade of bright, pinky-purple lipstick called Schiap, by Nars. It’s named after Elsa Schiaparelli, this really prolific designer in the early 1900s whose signature was shocking pink.
Which trends do you hate?
I’m not a fan of the harem pants, but I think it’s because I'm annoyed that I can’t pull them off. I’m very petite, so they just look stupid on me. But I see all these girls on the Sartorialist looking absolutely amazing in these dumpy harem pants.
What’s one item you’re saving up to buy?
I just bought an amazing pair of Givenchy clogs. They're not like Dutch clogs; they’re very French-looking. They have a striped dark wood heel and a patent-leather T-strap.
What should every woman have in her closet?
I love the Cloak & Dagger Penelope Trench. It's a great staple — functional, with the most flattering fit.
What’s something you never leave the house without?
A good book, at all times. Right now I’m reading Marie Antoinette: The Journey. I’m totally fascinated with that period. Fashion was insane, with all of the crazy three-foot hairpieces and corsets! It’s awesome.
Most Viewed Stories
Everything We Know About Brad Pitt’s Plane Incident
It’s Time to Get Over Your White Feelings and Start Taking Action for Black Lives
25 Famous Women on Being Alone
Jaden Smith on the Many Subtle Flavors of Water
Kim Kardashian Might Vote for Donald Trump
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
If You See Brad Pitt As a Fallen Hero, It’s Because the Rules Have Changed
Taylor Swift’s Squad Begged Kim Kardashian for Mercy
Kylie Jenner’s Getting Sucked Into Tyga’s Debt Problems
Bask in the Glory of This Dramatic Email Sent to a UCLA Freshman by Her Future Roommate
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
Latest News from The CutAdam Levine and Behati Prinsloo Unveiled Their Baby on Instagram
Her name is Dusty Rose Levine. Awwww.Beyoncé and Tina Knowles Did A Normal Mother/Daughter Thing
Houston’s Solid Gold Beauty Supply received the Queen Bey herself.Brad Pitt Probably Won’t Face Prosecution for Child Abuse
The Brangelina Divorce Machine marches on.North West Is a Pretty Great Flower Girl
Brides, prepared to be upstaged.The Kids From Stranger Things Are Hanging Out With Nicolas Ghesquière
Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo hit up Louis Vuitton’s HQ in Paris.A ‘Cagney & Lacey-Esque’ Police Drama Is Currently in Development at ABC
Bring. On. The Female. Detectives.Kylie Jenner’s Getting Sucked Into Tyga’s Debt Problems
She’ll have to answer questions under oath in the latest lawsuit against him.Lauren Hutton and Gigi Hadid Make the Best Intergenerational Model Pair
It was a major moment.Your Basement Gym Is No Match for These $10 Million Wellness Amenities
The two superstar brokers of Million Dollar Listing New York fame discuss.The NFL Is Taking Steps to Recruit More Women
It’s part of a major push for gender equality.
When it comes to white denim, the only rule is that it should flatter you.Hotel Counts Sensual Framed Photos of Jeff Goldblum Among Its Amenities
A true luxury.The Cabal of Fabulous Rich Ladies Who Built Gustav Klimt’s Career
Their stories and portraits are featured in a new exhibit at Neue Galerie New York.The Chanel No.5 Launch Party Was the No. 1 Place to Be in L.A. Last Night
It doesn’t get any better than Nas and Chanel bags.An Uber Operator Allegedly Laughed at a Man for Calling to Report a Sexual Assault
The driver has since been permanently banned.Kate Moss and Paris Hilton Partied This Week
People cried while waiting for Gigi Hadid.See the Newest Fashion Campaigns for Fall
Including Pharrell’s democratic G-Star campaign, Fenty Puma by Rihanna, and Acne Studios.Kim Kardashian Might Vote for Donald Trump
Oh, dear.A Black Woman Painted Her Entire Body White to Protest Police Brutality, and Facebook Removed the Video
It took hours for the platform to restore her video.Toxic Masculinity Causing Men to Avoid Tofu and Exclamation Points
Men aren’t the only jerks who text with periods.