Our appreciation for sweats is likely not going anywhere for a while (who doesn't want to be cozy?), but with more opportunities to socialize unfolding — from brunches to formal affairs — many women are looking for some, ahem, more elevated options. But if you're looking for pieces that still feel as good as your go-to pair of PJs, made-in-L.A. label d'Offay (launching June 1) has some luxurious options that look chic but feel soft. And did we mention they're also sustainable?
When designer and founder Kristen d'Offay first dreamed up a clothing line, environmentally-friendly production was a non-negotiable, and she's putting that goal into practice by utilizing local manufacturers (the top female-run fashion production houses in downtown L.A., thank you very much) and easy-on-the-planet materials. Equally important to d'Offay was creating clothing that made the women who wore it feel effortless, elegant, and empowered at any age.
D'Offay, who has clothing design in her DNA (her grandmother first introduced her to the concept and practice of creating glamorous garments), had initially planned for a slightly edgier inaugural collection, but shifted gears during the pandemic to accommodate so many women's desire for clothing they could wear — and also feel good in — around the house. But that doesn't mean you won't find plenty of strong, sexy things to wear if you're ready to take a step up from your current comfy attire.
In addition to 100% silk slips and separates (which you can lounge luxuriously in or add accessories for a perfectly put-together going-out look), the collection offers flowing, printed maxi dresses, faux fur coats, vegan leather pants, and more styles that cater to women who celebrate, as d'Offay describes, "arte de vivre." Prices for pieces range from $400 to $1,200, and the designer plans to have everything available to shop before the season ends.
In anticipation of the June launch, UncoverLA chatted with the founder and designer about her first fashion memory, future plans, and more. Learn all about this on-the-verge brand ahead.
What's your earliest fashion memory and how do you think it led you to starting this line?
My earliest memory of fashion was visiting my grandmother Mimi at her home in Dallas and looking at all of the beautiful clothing she made out of her studio. Mimi was a clothing designer and would make one-of-a-kind pieces for the Dallas socialites. She was self-taught and would recreate and sew many of the fashions right off of the Paris runway. I just remember being surrounded by sequins and mannequins and knowing that is what I wanted to do someday.
What has it been like to develop a line during such a strange time in the world? And how did that affect the pieces you chose to create?
Honestly, having a creative outlet saved me both mentally and emotionally. Instead of getting caught up in the news and the isolating and lonely environment, I would spend my days sketching, researching, and developing a business plan for my line. I surrounded myself with other incredibly talented and entrepreneurial women via Zoom and marched forward with developing the brand.
My original collection was designed pre-pandemic and had more of an edge to it. Once the pandemic hit, I pivoted slightly and added pieces that were a little softer and more romantic. I also added cashmere, which complements the line beautifully. But the core collection is seasonless and can be worn anytime of the year.
What pieces are you living in lately and how have you been styling them?
My favorite pieces are the Cynthia maxi skirt and Iris dress in Midnight Floral. I wear a white T-shirt with the Cynthia skirt and Tamara Mellon sandals quite a bit. It's super easy, soft to the touch and such a departure from sweats when I'm out running errands or meeting a friend for lunch.
The Iris dress is so feminine and pretty and now that restaurants have opened back up it's my favorite dress to wear — especially in Santa Barbara or visiting my best friend in Ojai. I've paired it with gorgeous emerald green suede mules from Aquazzura's spring/summer 2021 collection.
What are some of your long term goals for the brand?
I have too many! I really see this brand going all the way; I would love to eventually branch out into beauty, handbags and shoes. I would also love to have several brick and mortar locations in California, Texas, and NYC. I'm rooting for the brick and mortar space to come back and believe it will.
What about short term goals?
For my short-term goals, I'm aiming to grow steadily and organically. I want people out of their sweatpants and to feel good in what they wear! I will always only use the highest quality fibers that are gentle to the planet and soft to the touch. If I can make a woman feel confident, sexy and comfortable when they wear d'Offay then I've done my job.