A lot of great lingerie talent passes through the doors of Journelle. As often as not, we’ll see (and applaud) potential but politely decline until the collection becomes more developed, higher quality or more streamlined.
Ari Dein was another matter altogether – I believe it was one of those few moments where Melissa and I both turned to each other and mouthed “I LOVE it”. While it’s Arielle’s first season designing, her impeccable design details and perfect tailoring evoke an era of bygone New York glamour.
Claire: What is the inspiration behind Ari Dein?
Arielle: I was an Art History major undergrad and before that a ballet dancer, so my inspiration comes from some of my favorite painters and costume designers, poets, architects and writers. My grandmother’s couture closet exposed me to the finer things in fashion, but it’s her regal sensibility and understated elegance that I’m trying to capture in the range most of all. Oddly enough, details from her antiques and furniture seem to show up in my work, too.
Claire: You studied fashion design at the Instituto di Polimoda in Florence. Did that play a large role in what Ari Dein is today?
Arielle: Absolutely. Not only was it my first exposure to technical design, but I really absorbed my personal style and fashion sense from the girlfriends I made in Florence. Even living in a metropolitan city like Manhattan, I still consider the Florentines to be among the chicest people I’ve ever met; if they like something I know it’s going to be a hit.
Claire: When did you begin designing your first collection?
Arielle: In summer 2009, I spent a lot of time dreaming up the Boutique Hotel concept. That was really the first step for ARI DEIN. But everything had been on my mind for a while before that.
Claire: Your great grandfather worked his way up from a basement sweatshop to the top of the American fur industry. Did his story affect you as you created your own fashion company?
Arielle: It’s funny because the family history wasn’t that big a deal to me growing up. But the more I became involved in my own business, the more I discovered about my roots. The part of the story I’m most enamored with is that the outcome was grand but the beginnings were very meager. My great grandfather’s success demonstrated to me what you could accomplish with a little creativity and a lot of hard work. If I ever feel challenged on the job, I think about what his experience was like and how mine must be much easier because of it. Also, the thought that I might have inherited some of his genes makes me more confident in what I’m doing and like I won’t mess things up!
Claire: What type of woman do you envision wearing Ari Dein lingerie?
Arielle: I recently read Kelly Cutrone’s book “If You Have To Cry, Go Outside.” I love how she puts the demographic: “smart, village girls.” The ARI DEIN aesthetic is very Old New York and sophisticated, so I like the concept of a “downtown” girl kicking it up a notch. I envision an ARI DEIN customer as someone with fine, eclectic taste who is still laid back enough to hang out in her downtime in a fabulous cami and knicker.
ARI DEIN is a way of life; it’s about a woman taking time for herself to enjoy simple luxuries and decompress. It’s about her reading Vonnegut in a floor length chiffon robe instead of a faded college hoodie on a rainy day. I’ve tried to create a bedroom wardrobe that’s chic enough to elevate style at home and versatile enough to pair with prêt-a-porter for a sultry night out.
Claire: What is your favorite piece from your collection?
Arielle: That’s so tough! I really love the Boxwood Collection because of the print, which reminds me of the woods and gardens at my grand parents house on Boxwood Road where I would visit as a kid. The demi robe is easy to throw on and probably gets the most wear- I’ll put it on to get the mail or when food gets delivered!
Claire: What are you looking forward to in the next few months? Five years?
Arielle: Next month I’m very excited to introduce Bridal at the Waldorf Showroom and some fresh colors for Spring 2011. Setting up the business was a lot of work and took time away from just being creative. So, in the next five years, I’m looking forward to developing the collection more in the design realm and really making the name ARI DEIN synonymous with locally produced luxury goods.
We can’t wait to see what will come next from this phenomenal young designer!
(Photos (c) ARI DEIN LLC 2009, Hannah Heinrich Photography)