How Black is Your Halo?

I think it was fate.  I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to simplify my life and wardrobe... my "style cleanse".  Then last week - lo and behold - Laurel Berman, the owner/designer of Black Halo, happened to be making an appearance at my local Neiman Marcus.  

I had to meet her, obvi.  I couldn't pass up the chance to meet the woman who created the iconic "Jackie O".  This is a dress that can instantaneously make any woman look and feel sophisticated, sexy and like she owns the world... pretty good for one dress, right?!

This is exactly the type of chic, simplified style that I have been aiming for... a perfect palette to then add the accessories and shoes to make it your own.  Most importantly it is easy.  Slip into a dress and run out the door.  There isn't much time or thought that is required - perfect.

This dress is still an investment (retailing right around $345), but it is a well-made, timeless style.  It can be worn to work, to a bridal shower, or even out with some sexy shoes, earrings and a leather jacket.  You can achieve that Victoria Beckham look without taking on a second mortgage.

The Jackie O

Easter-worthy Jackie O's (both available at Neiman's)...

Amazing dress, aside, Laurel Berman is an inspiring woman as well.  After working hard her entire life, she was able to start this L.A.-based brand where everything is designed and made in-house.  To have that much control over your business is so rare these days.  Not only does this ensure quality work, but this is what made the Jackie O possible.  

This (now famous) dress started as a high-waisted pencil skirt.  Laurel used to wear it with silky tops that always came untucked.  Out of frustration, she sewed a tank to the skirt... and voilà, the Jackie O was born.  This dress spent a season or two as a mixed media dress, and has since transformed into the various versions pictured above.

What I found most interesting is how she deals with what she calls being stuck in "the dress box".  While very thankful for the success of the Jackie O, it is challenging to get past that... it is what you are known for.  I likened this to my quest of finding "my look".  

She knows her customer is working woman, a mother, someone who is out and about attending meeting and events.  However, it is not just about being prim and proper.  There is a little edginess in her designs as well.  Hence, the name Black Halo.  Everyone's halo is a bit tarnished isn't it?!

As Laurel continues to design for this woman, she has begun to add colorblocked styles, peplums, fuller skirts, and evening wear.  While keeping her same aesthetic, she has begun to add additional looks that are still easy and sophisticated, but give her customers other options to express their individual style.  

After chatting with Laurel, I realized that creating "your look" can only come after you have defined your style.  Expressing your personality doesn't have to come through perfectly matching those leopard and floral prints, but from the details in a well-made dress, a perfectly chosen bracelet or an edgy pair of shoes.  Easy ways to express yourself while maintaining a chic - not overdone - style.

More food thought while trudging through the "Style Cleanse"...

                                                                                                                     - Allison                                                                                  

*Photos courtesy of neimanmarcus.com, glamour.com and shopbop.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment