Art is one of those funny things that’s only worth what the highest bidder will pay, and like fashion, a piece can really speak to me while others may find it hideous. In this case, I don’t think you’ll find anything this artist does to be hideous. At the very least, it will put a smile on your face…
If you ever wanted to get to know jewelry designer Alexis Bittar then today’s your lucky day. This Saturday was the Alexis Bittar trunk show I had mentioned last week and we had a nice little convo where I learned more about his fine jewelry collection, how he balances being CEO and Creative Director of his business (now something Burberry’s Christopher Bailey is juggling) and his favorite thing about Chicago (hint: it’s NOT the weather).
I recently met up and coming designer Chloe Mendel at an event in Chicago. I was immediately intrigued by her knowledge of fashion (being J. Mendel’s daughter will do that to you) and even more impressed that she’s still in school…and already coming out with her own clothing line. When she told me the line will be white t-shirts, I was already sold. I’m a huge fan of t-shirts and I love them even more when they make you do a double-take.
Animal Royalty is the prodigy of friends Mat Devine and Chloe Mendel, with the debut collection consisting of 4 t-shirts along with fur accessories. I made my first Animal Royalty purchase just last week (keep reading to see more) and I am pumped about this collection. Best part? Chloe says they’ll be releasing new styles on a constant so be looking out for more from Animal Royalty soon.
To really get to know the Animal Royalty brand, check out my interview with Chloe below.
First and foremost…why t-shirts?
Mat and I create products that we both use and love. A good t-shirt is a good t-shirt; there’s no doubt about that. We wanted to create our ideal t-shirt which is flattering, comfortable, with a slightly dark and provocative twist (our inside-out stitching and cryptic sayings). Very much representing who we are.
How did you come up with the phrases for these t-shirts?
Well “Nice Shirt” was something Mat had sharpied across his tee while he was in college. This was the starting inspiration for Animal Royalty’s debut collection. We write down phrases all the time and have compiled a list which will never end. Anything that crosses as sarcastic, cryptic provocative or dark we write down or text each other.
Where did the name Animal Royalty come from?
Our relationship of human to animal has always bewildered my mind. I saw “Animal Royalty” written across Mat’s mirror and it really resonated with me. The more we talked, the more it made sense that “Animal Royalty” represents what we both love about life and fashion. Animal being the raw and royalty being the chic.
What inspired the fur accessories?
As a kid my dad always let me design my own clothing and accessories and I loved fur. I even came out with a baby-pink fox bag called “The Chloe Bag” when I was nine years old! When I had noticed Mat wearing a raccoon tail on a key chain hooked onto his belt, I knew if we developed it well they would be perfect for Animal Royalty. Plus I am very fortunate to have access to high quality fur.
Are you looking to expand the accessories part of your brand?
Yes we are expanding on accessories for sure! These shirts and accessories are only a taste of what is yet to come from Animal Royalty.
Who is the Animal Royalty customer?
The ideal Animal Royalty customer is someone who is not afraid to be unique. We look for creative individuals with a good sense of humor; our friends, good people.
I have a feeling Animal Royalty is going to be huge, and you heard it here first! Already wore my t-shirt and I can’t wait to see what Chloe and Mat do next.
Shop the collection at animalroyalty.com.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of chatting with George Kotsiopoulos at the Stuart Weitzman cocktail party. FYI if you haven’t checked out their latest collection, you should definitely stop by and get yourself a new pair of heels. Lots of fun colors this season!
Anyway, George is awesome and I totally appreciate his Midwest (specifically Skokie, Illinois) roots. I myself am from Northbrook so we bonded over the ‘burbs. When I asked him if his Chicago [area] upbringing influenced his fashion career, he responded “Well I did work at Lord & Taylor…” Hey you gotta start somewhere right (fun fact: my first job was at a shoe boutique called Never Enough Shoes). So how did he end up on Fashion Police? After being in the fashion industry as a stylist and making TV appearances in the past, it was inevitable George was meant to voice his fashion opinion. He knows what he’s talking about and has the experience to back it up. However, I did tell him if a guest cancels last minute I’d be more than happy to take their place on Fashion Police 🙂
So you know I have to ask the “what do you like to do in Chicago?” question (my favorite!). Besides seeing his family in Skokie, George enjoys dining at Sunda and Pump Room, claims the gay bars in Chicago are much cooler than the ones in LA and gets excited to shop at Topman while he’s here. Sometimes I forget we’re so lucky to have a Topshop/Topman (the only other US location besides NY!)
Saturday afternoon I attended Brad Goreski’s book signing at Brooks Brothers and scored an interview with him before the event started. He was such a pleasure to talk to and as always…I was obsessed with his outfit. Wearing Black Fleece head-to-toe (except for a killer pair of Louboutins), how can you not love this?
We started off chatting about Fashion’s Night Out and how I thought it was great he decided to come to Chicago for that stylish evening. That night in September was his first time here and he’s been back a few more times since. He says he loves Chicago now, and enjoys dining at Pump Room and going to Underground. Before our interview he had just finished brunch at Luxbar, which let’s be honest…you can never go wrong. I also told him his boyfriend Gary is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter…and I’m kind of obsessed with his dogs, who get lots of air time on It’s a Brad Brad World.
So we all know Brad’s a stylist, has his own TV show and has written a book, but do you know his most prized fashion possession or favorite place he’s traveled? Well now you can find out!
What womenswear designer do you wish designed menswear?
Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. I wore a head-to-toe Chanel outfit once and I wish he did more menswear. I’d also love to wear Jason Wu.
Favorite place you’ve traveled?
Tokyo for fashion. Greece overall. (where he met his long time boyfriend Gary)
If you had to choose a title for your second book, it would be…
Brad to the Bone.
What’s your process for getting dressed?
I start with one key piece and build everything around that. It’s similar for when I’m styling a client, except the key piece doesn’t always end up being the star of the look.
What’s your most prized fashion possession?
Right now I’m loving my Simon Spurr jacket with leather sleeves. It adds a little edge to my outfit. But my Louis Vuitton duffle has the most sentimental value.
Brad, I leave you with one question…when am I going to see this Spurr jacket?? It sounds like something I’d be very interested in borrowing.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Brad’s new book Born To Be Brad on sale now!