If there's anything we've learned from the likes of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (The Row) and Kate and Laura Mulleavy (Rodarte), it's that sisters make some of the best designer duos-a sentiment that's perfectly applicable to the ladies behind one of our favorite lines right now: Porter Grey! Created with the modern, fashion-conscious girl in mind, Kristen and Alexandra O'Neill initially launched the brand designing made-to-order pieces. The goal was simple: make classic, versatile clothing that evoked a sense of casual sophistication-a formula that has proven to be very successful, indeed! These days, Porter Grey has evolved into a fully developed label, which not only made its exciting NYFW debut during the S/S 11 show season, but is also a favorite of fashionable ladies like Jessica Biel and Blake Lively. Considering all of that, we are beyond thrilled to bring this fantastic brand to your attention in this month's Line We Love story, featuring a few of our favorite pieces from their Resort 12 collection. Plus, to make it extra special, we've also included some of the duo's inspiration photos as well as a Q&A with the designers themselves!
Mini Batik Shorts ($295, 617.491.0810) in Black/White
It's not too often you'll find us sporting a pair of short shorts, but we might have to make an exception for this wildly adorable pair. We love the fact they are made out of a light and airy cotton, plus, the print lends itself to a myriad of styling options. We'd play up the batik print and create a high-impact ensemble by pairing them with a bright blouse or a printed top and neutral wedges.
Double Breasted Knit Blazer ($395, 773.244.1300) in Black/White Stripe
We are quite fond of the classic and preppy spirit of nautical stripes, which would explain why we're so smitten with the collection's Double Breasted Knit Blazer. Featuring a modern, boxy silhouette and chic gold buttons, we think this cropped jacket would bring a polished finish to any look. So whether you're spending the afternoon on a yacht (we wish!) or headed to office, you'll surely want to have this piece on hand.
Silk Pleated Midi Skirt With Slit ($585, 773.244.1300) in Melon
If we could have only one piece from Porter Grey's Resort 12 collection, it would definitely be this skirt. The florescent tropical print has us dreaming of warm, sandier locales and the tiny pleats and of-the-moment midi length give the piece a fun and feminine look we love. To keep the focus on the skirt, we suggest teaming it with understated separates, like a button-up blouse and a pair of pumps.
Fitted Leather Dress with Cut-Out Back ($660, 773.244.1300) in Blue
As longtime fans of all-weather leather, this vibrant number immediately stood out to us. We're crazy about the sleek, minimalist design and the bright blue hue, which gives the piece a fresh and playful look. Wear it now with black opaque tights for an updated mod outfit and then with a pair of equally eye-catching sandals come spring!
Q&A with Kristen and Alexandra O'Neill
What inspired the start of your design careers?
Kristen: Alexandra has been designing and creating her own clothing and accessories since she was around 10. Our grandmother taught her to sew on a '50s sewing machine. Porter Grey was inspired by our own desire to have pieces that were both classic and fashion conscious, without being overly trend driven. We set out designing with ourselves in mind and ended up finding out that there were other girls who felt the same way about what they were missing in their own wardrobes.
What was the inspiration behind this season's collection?
Alexandra: It is a playful collection that was inspired by travel posters from the '50s and '60s. We blended nautical navy and white stripes with a colorful palette of cantaloupe, bright blue, green apple, and bright red. We also incorporated a batik fabric that evoked the feeling of being in the tropics.
How would you style specific pieces from this collection? Do you have a favorite piece in the collection?
Kristen: Anything in our print. I love both colorways. Alexandra: I love our fitted leather dress in the electric blue. The color and the open back make this piece really stand out.
What kind of girl do you envision wearing your clothing?
Alexandra: We definitely design with ourselves in mind. We both have very different styles, but we try to play to what we both like. As we have gotten older our lifestyles have changed, so our collection has also expanded to fit that lifestyle.
How does your design process for a collection start?
Kristen: Our Resort 12 collection started with a fabric that we found. It is a multi-colored print on silk that reminded us of the vacation posters from the '50s and '60s. Usually our collection will start with one of us saying, "wouldn't it be amazing if we did...", and then we go into a design frenzy, but inspiration can come in so many forms, anywhere from a simple photograph or as was the case with the S/S 12 collection, our childhood bedroom. We have what can probably be best described as a road map to the collection, which takes up an entire wall in my apartment. We fill the entire wall with sketches, fabric, and notes, and then slowly build the collection from that. It is always really interesting to watch the process and see what we end up with at the end. We will work on a collection for about eight months, so by the time we get to show the collection the ideas and inspirations have evolved and expanded, but have also been refined and siphoned to create a cohesive story.-Jessica Baker