Rebecca Taylor talks A-List muses

Posted on 27 June 2012
By Amber Tan
  • Share:

New Zealand-born New York-based designer Rebecca Taylor talks about her punk aesthetic and A-List muses.

The 40-year-old mother-of-three has been catapulted into the spotlight and seen her star rise after Kate Middleton chose her blue tweed past-season skirt suit for the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race.

Rebecca said that her New Zealand upbringing inspired her love of fashion and a punk approach to design.

Rebecca said: “In New Zealand you had to be quite resourceful. There weren’t tons of fashion stores, so I always used to customise and make a lot of my own clothes. I decided you don’t have to be rich to look good! At one point I was obsessed with David Bowie’s red stilettos but could I find a pair? No! So I bought a pair of bridal white courts, painted them with nail varnish and had to keep topping them up all evening as they kept chipping!”

She said: “I left school at 15 and was kicked out of a convent school for wearing makeup and doing my hair with lots of hair gel like Simon Le Bon. Well, it was the 80s! I was originally studying costume design but then moved over to fashion and overnight my life changed. I didn’t realise at the time that it could be my future, but I had been making my own clothes for so long.

Rebecca packed her bags for The Big Apple and never looked back, she said: “When I left New Zealand three days after I graduated design school I was actually on my way to Paris with my boyfriend when I came to the States. I was really young and green when I moved to NYC and I think that allowed me to take risks without over analysing them. And the rest is history…”

On super-muses SJP and Alexa Chung rocking her pieces, she said: “It’s really exciting to see celebrities that are style icons like SJP or Alexa wear Rebecca Taylor, but I still get just as excited when I see women on the street in Rebecca Taylor. Kirsten Dunst really gets the brand, she’s got that ironic feminine and boyish fashion mix going on.”

On the Kate Middleton effect, she said: “The response from the press and consumer has been amazingly positive. I have always loved Kate Middleton, in fact as soon as she came on the scene I said ‘I want to dress her’.”

“She is very much the RT woman – sophisticated, modern and smart. The pieces she wore [the blue tweed skirt suit] were from a previous season but there will still some online – they sold out within minutes and even anything similar sold out quickly. It’s crazy!”

The Essential Rebecca Taylor…
All-time favourite piece: a cotton eyelet Victorian-esque blouse from a few seasons ago, sort of quintessential Rebecca Taylor.

The next step for her business…
Swim-wear and lingerie.