Interview with Fashion Designer Rebecca Moses
Saks Fifth Avenue recently unveiled plans for “Wild About Cashmere,” an initiative launched in all 59 Saks stores this September that will run through the end of the year. Supported by the Italian Trade Commission, Saks Fifth Avenue will feature an unprecedented array of exclusive Italian merchandise commissioned in part by renowned designer Rebecca Moses, who serves as the Creative Director and Consultant for the project. Washington Life’s Alison Lukes recently asked Moses about her love of cashmere and experience directing this initiative.
Alison Lukes: Saks Fifth Avenue recently launched a national retail initiative, “Wild About Cashmere,” with you serving as the Creative Director and Consultant. How did this project come to fruition?
Rebecca Moses: During the Milan collections last October, Ron Frasch, vice chairman and chief merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue, approached me to see if I would be interested in the project and I have always respected Ron. I was able to create products of my own for Saks and also work with other designers — many of them my fashion friends who I’ve known my entire career. They were as excited as I was to create exclusive designs. Additionally, Saks wanted the “Made in Italy” label, which has always been such an important part of my work.
AL: Over the years, you have used cashmere in your collections in ways many designers weren’t. What first attracted you to explore and experiment with cashmere?
RM: I fell in love with cashmere in the beginning of my career. I have always sought beautiful materials that have an amazing touch, the ability to be worn year round and also have the ability to dye incredibly. Cashmere is a unique fiber that is as beautiful knitted as it is woven. It can be made feather light in weight and can be worn in the summer as in the winter. I have traveled my entire life and have needed clothes that have sense of mobility and comfort. I call it “mobile style” or “style to go!” Cashmere, in regards to fashion, is the perfect element for mobile style. Unlike other fibers, it is truly addictive. You can never give up on it. From a creative point of view, I am constantly thinking of ways in interpretation and usage.
AL: You designed over 250 products for “Wild About Cashmere,” ranging from whimsical items such as jump ropes and hammocks to new takes on the staple cashmere sweater, luxurious loungewear. What has been your inspiration for this project?
RM: The challenge of the project was to develop exciting product, but also to get Saks Fifth Avenue thinking about the product as one store with one point of view. The challenge was to get everyone together and get them to interface their creative thought process. Cashmere is a dream, a dream you can touch. Cashmere is also a way of life… And in each way of life, we create an array of products that epitomize that dream way of living. Cashmere is also shock and pop, reflecting a lifestyle filled with bold confidence, color, vitality and even pop elements. In fact, we have everything from men’s and women’s accessories to home goods, gifts and cosmetics. It is wild. It is all about being a dream merchant. We have cashmere felt chargers for table top, we have optical printed blankets, cashmere vases, big cashmere cubes to sit on.....and many other fun and wild objects. So, lifestyle is the key to all my inspiration.
AL: Many of the world’s most famous designers have also created exclusive merchandise for “Wild About Cashmere.” What are some of your favorite pieces?
RM: One of my first meetings was with Yves Saint Laurent Beaute— what a fabulous group. We went to them with a lifestyle concept called “Cashmere is New Age Glamour.” We asked them to embrace what they do with some interpretation of cashmere. We defined “New Age Glamour” for them and they related the concept to the color palette and came back with an amazing concept— a black cashmere satchel which contained a gold charm bracelet, with each charm containing another beautiful color makeup, so totally chic, and two other best selling cosmetic tools. Carlos Falchi did the most amazing handbags with crocheted leather and beads and cashmere so beautiful; Graff Jewelers created an amazing bracelet with diamonds spelling out cashmere!! How indulgent!! Hugo Boss created a beautiful White cashmere blazer for men— the ultimate for the chic male wardrobe; Vera Wang created a beautiful crocheted ensemble, so glamorous.
AL: You are an American, living and working in Italy. Do you consider yourself an American or Italian designer?
RM: I am undeniably a New York girl, but Italy has become my second home. I have been a part of the globalization of fashion which began when I arrived in Italy. I am proud to have been on the forefront of this amazing evolution. I like to consider myself an international designer.