Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rita Watson's Chiefs of Enchantment, Henri Bendel Style

Since 1895, Henri Bendel has been a Fifth Avenue gold standard for  whimsical luxury. In the tradition of its founder Henri Willis Bendel (he was the first to bring the designs of Coco Chanel to America) the iconic New York store is also synonymous with whatever is new, avante garde, or cutting edge in fashion. Limits are pushed - playfully - and trends are created, never followed. Since the 2009 decision to only feature accessories, cosmetics, and home items, being chosen to showcase a new line is a designer dream come true and for some, the ultimate endorsement. Not too long after our JBCStyle Pomega5 party for our VIP clients, we found ourselves back at Henri Bendel for a very special trunk show. . .

Beautiful, handmade headpieces in Rita Watson's line
Model Annabel Vartanian

The special trunk show (STILL ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 23) features brand new accessories designer Rita Watson's headpieces; palletted laces, pearls and feathers. . .beautiful creations made for the playful, the nostalgic, and also the  provocative. We had never seen anything quite like them, and yes they spark the imagination and invite you to play. . .to wear them down the aisle, or rock one upside down at a nightclub. A little hippie, a little romantic, and an attention to detail that makes each piece oh so luxe. Field trip before the Jets-Steelers game style.

We love the inside story, so we had to ask Rita about the journey. For any aspiring accessories designer, the path from inception to the famed Henri Bendel can both motivate and inspire. . .

 Rita's Story

It started out as a small deconstruction project. I had been given an assignment to deconstrcut old and new garments that already existed, and create something innovative from them. Always being interested in milinery, I turned this project into a line of luxury hand-sewn headpieces. I started out by taking apart vintage gowns and salvaging the lace trims and pearls and transforming them into tiara-like pieces. Now I source various trims from local markets, dye and then stiffen them into a crown-like mold that fits perfectly around the head. Each piece is intricately made by hand and adorned with costume and fresh water pearls. After this intial line of lace pieces, I started incorporating feathered headbands into the mix, which are very current and still very unique!   After I had a pretty solid collection, I started selling in various boutiques around Atlanta (where I was living at the time) and having shows of my own. It was at one of my shows where I was spotted by a journalist from Daily Candy-- and everything just took off from there. Chiefs of Enchantment is now featured monthly on various national and international blogs, magazines, etc. After moving to New York this past summer, a good friend of mine mentioned that I should try out for the Henri Bendel Open Call for Designers--and sure enough, I did. Out of hundreds of very talented designers, my line was selected to be featured--and I couldn't be more excited! 

Dreams come true, enchantment style.

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