Erin Fetherston Feels a ‘Natural Synergy’ With Juicy Couture

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Photo: Courtesy of Juicy Couture

Erin Fetherston made a name for herself with her eponymous, Parisian-inspired line of flouncy frocks, satin jackets, and sheer blouses favored by indie-designer darlings like Zooey Deschanel and Kirsten Dunst. Though she’s made plays to reach the mass market over the past few years — a Target collaboration, a QVC line — she wasn’t necessarily the most obvious choice for her latest role: creative consultant for California standby Juicy Couture.

Fetherston was tapped to design for the brand this month, starting with a capsule collection of dresses for the holiday 2010 season. Though she admits she didn't wear much Juicy before accepting the position, she’s ready to offer what she calls a "fresh product perspective." Okay — but did she ever wear the ubiquitous Juicy tracksuit? "I’m from California," she says, laughing, "it was kind of status quo." The partnership will last a year, with Fetherston overseeing the summer, fall, and 2011 holiday collections. We chatted with the designer about her dual design roles, rethinking the tracksuit, and her fantasy ... couch.

You’ll continue to design Erin Fetherston while working at Juicy. How's it going so far?
I’m not overwhelmed; I've actually felt an injection of energy. Through some of the collaborations and short films I've done in the past, I feel I’ve brought along a larger audience who might not necessarily be the Erin Fetherston customer. Now that audience can access my designs through Juicy.

How does the Erin Fetherston aesthetic relate to Juicy Couture?
The spirits of the brand cross over a bit. As a designer, I’ve always tried to balance a certain whimsy and playfulness with sophistication. And Juicy has such a fun-loving, irreverent spirit that I feel a lot of natural synergy between the two.

What are your plans for the infamous tracksuit?
The brand is celebrating the tenth anniversary of the tracksuit this year, so we’re offering a whole bunch of new variations on the theme — lots of different silhouettes. I’m doing a lot of fabric research right now. It’s great, because I’ll get to design the fun party dresses and take a crack at the iconic pieces.

Who are your favorite designers?
I’ve always really appreciated Christian Lacroix, YSL, and Balenciaga. I first studied fashion in Paris and I have a lot of reverence for the great Parisian masters.

Where do you like to shop in New York?
When it comes to fashion, I usually stick with Erin Fetherston, so I don’t go shopping for clothes very often. But my favorite store is ABC Carpet & Home — I’m really into interior design.

How would you describe your personal style?
Very feminine and easy. I wear dresses pretty often, and I do a lot of jeans with silk blouses.

What trends are you appreciating for spring?
I still love the nautical stripes — I think it looks really fresh and cute. And I’m liking floral prints at the moment. I did a watercolor cherry-blossom print for the Erin Fetherston spring collection that I’ve been wearing a lot.

Any current trends you’re ready to see retired?
I’ll be ready to see the studs and giant shoulder pads go.

What’s one item you’re saving up to buy?
The best thing I could buy is this Christian Liaigre sofa: It’s a modern piece of upholstery but the silhouette references French seventeenth-century furniture. It’s clean, white, and it doesn’t have any seams. It’s just a beautiful couch.

What should every woman have in her closet?
She should have a very sexy-fitting pair of jeans. My favorite is a London-based brand called Made in Heaven.