We recently had the privilege of interviewing one of our fashion idols: the absolutely amazing Jessie Randall, the creative director of Loeffler Randall!!! (We might have stopped breathing when we received the email for this opportunity.) We think Jessie is fabulous, and as our loyal readers know, we count this label to be one of our obsessions. Find out about her inspiration, her favorite pair of shoes, her plans for Loeffler Randall and more.
The Daily Obsession: Your impressive design career included stints at Gap, Inc. and Katayone Adeli. What propelled you to branch out and start Loeffler Randall?
Jessie Randall: Brian [her husband/partner] and I always knew we wanted to start a company together. It was just a question of when.
TDO: What is the philosophy behind your brand?
JR: We describe our brand essence as â€˜downtown elegance.â€™ Our girl is young with a downtown edge, but also someone who is incredibly chic and elegant.
TDO: As the creative director, how do you come up with your ideas? Walk us through your design process.
JR: The process of designing a collection at the outset is determined by the calendar and logistics. Because footwear requires the longest lead-time, each collection (handbags, RTW) comes out of the footwear inspiration. I spend lots of time gathering inspiration â€“ going to the Conde Nast library to look at old magazines, looking at films, vintage shopping, swatching colors, leathers and fabrics, etc and then I sit down to start sketching.
TDO: You recently launched a ready-to-wear line. Were you always interested in branching out in that direction, or is this a recent change? What made you want to start designing RTW?
JR: Clothing was always part of the plan from the beginning when Brian and I started Loeffler Randall. Shoes are my first love and required production in Italy, so we started with those always knowing that clothing would eventually follow. We have always wanted to express the full Loeffler Randall lifestyle for our customer and clothing is a big part of that.
TDO: What’s different about designing clothing vs. accessories?
JR: I find clothing design to be more freeing. With shoes, I am bound by the equipment we own or want to invest in (lasts). With clothing, anything that comes to my head can be created. I love that.
TDO: We know every woman secretly has a favorite! What has been your favorite design from your collections so far? What do you love about it?
JR: One of my favorites has been the Bianca ruffled flat in patent leather. I think it is decorative and interesting and at the same time, unfussy and chic.
TDO: Describe your personal style.
JR: My style is clean and modern. It is feminine but always with a â€œdowntownâ€ edge (i.e. not girlie). I like things that are simple and chic, not over-designed.
TDO: Who are your fashion icons (past or present)?
JR: I am drawn to women who dress simply but with impact. Women who are understated but incredibly alluring in the way they put themselves together. A few â€œiconsâ€ that come to mind: Kate Moss, Mia Farrow, etc. But mostly I am inspired by the girls I see on the street and by my friends. The collections always start from a place of the kind of pieces I currently want to have in my own closet.
TDO: Do you have any current fashion obsessions?
JR: At the moment, as my wardrobe rolls over from pregnancy stuff to normal clothing again, I am kind of obsessed with Uniqlo (across the street from my Soho office) for interesting basics. For baby clothes I love: Makie, Flora and Henri, Petit Bateau.
TDO: What other designers do you admire? Why?
JR: I love: Miu Miu, APC, Phillip Lim, Stella McCartneyâ€¦I love designs that are simple and elegant but with something really unique and interesting going on.
TDO: Legend has it that you have a vast shoe collection. How many pairs do you have – and what are your favorites?
JR: So much of my stuff is in storage now because we are renovating a townhouse in Park Slope. I have no idea how many shoes I have. I basically live in our LR Matilde flat boots and I have those in every color. I have 3 more pairs on order for Fall. Itâ€™s a little ridiculous and they are falling out of every closet in our apartment. It drives Brian crazy!
TDO: Whether it’s part of your daily routine or just a product you can’t live without, what is your best beauty secret?
JR: Being a new mom, my latest beauty secret is Aquafor ointment. It is something that we were told to use to prevent diaper rash on the boys and to my surprise a makeup artist recently used it on my lips as a moisturizer. It works so well.
TDO: You recently became a mom to twin boys! Congratulations! Do you think having two little boys at home will inspire you to branch out into children or men’s design?
JR: We always talk about Brian maybe someday doing a menâ€™s line. I think he has such unusual, interesting style (and I try to dress the boys as little versions of him) and I think he could have a lot of success doing it. Weâ€™ll see â€“ we have so much on our plate right now. (P.S. The Daily Obsession is Brianâ€™s favorite blog!) Editors’ Note: We are beyond thrilled by the last sentence.
TDO: So, we all hear stories about women not being able to wear their favorite shoes while they’re pregnant. That must’ve been torture for you! How did you cope?
JR: Well before, during and since pregnancy, I have always been a flats type of girl so pregnancy didnâ€™t really hinder me in that way. And, miraculously, my feet did not get bigger even with a twin pregnancy. So I was pretty happy with the way my feet looked. It was the rest of me that was quite a challenge to pull together.
TDO: What’s next for Loeffler Randall?
JR: Our dream is to have a retail store and that has always been part of the plan. I feel it is essential to have a store so that we can express the full brand lifestyle for the customer. We are in the planning stages and I expect it to happen within the next two years.
1. Favorite flower? Australian Peony
2. Favorite musician? Dolly Parton
3. Favorite food? Mexican
4. Favorite magazine(s)? The New Yorker sometimes, Domino and lately New York Magazine
5. Favorite boutique (online or brick-and-mortar)? I couldnâ€™t pick one, there are too many.
Thanks for your time, Jessie! It was truly an honor. To find out more or to view designs from the current collection, visit LoefflerRandall.com.
Photo Credit: Max Kim-Bee