Everyone knows that the real story on Gossip Girl isn’t about Serena and Dan, or Nate and Blair or Chuck and anybody… It’s all about the fashion. And the fashion items that are on everyone’s mind? Waldorf Designs.
Of course, Waldorf Designs aren’t really pieces of fiction like the show. They’re the real life creations of designer Abigail Lorick, of Lorick New York. I had the opportunity to chat with Abigail about her start in the fashion business, her collection and Gossip Girl… and here’s my upfront confession. I totally expected a fashion diva. I couldn’t have been more off the mark. She was just so lovely – and refreshingly genuinely excited about fashion, starting a new business and having her work featured on Gossip Girl.
Abigail Lorick entered the world of fashion design in a nontraditional way: she started as a model. At age 15, she was modeling in Miami, Florida, already flying from high school to gigs. After graduation, she headed to Europe. She lived in fashion centers like Paris and Milan before moving back to the US. But rather than head to sunny Florida, she went north to what many consider the fashion capital of the world: New York City.
Fashion had already been a big part of her life when she decided to move on from modeling to design. She entered the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where she excelled. While at FIT, she interned at TS Dixin. Prior to graduation, they gave her a job offer. Soon, she was designing their entire collection.
In early 2007, she was approached by her production manager about starting her own collection. While a bit scary at first, she was excited about the challenge and decided that it was now or never. She made the decision to stay in New York, which she enthusiastically refers to as “the best city” and opened her studio in Tribeca in May 2007. Shortly thereafter, she got picked up by Archetype Showroom.
Lorick’s own sense of style has contributed to the overall theme at Lorick New York. She likes to think of her style as “effortlessly put together” and refined. Just as important, however, is mixing up a look – whether it’s vintage pieces with new or high end with low end pieces. Lorick considers dressing a “fun part of her day” since her look changes from day to day depending on what’s happening. No matter what her mood, however, she strives for a “very classic” look.
Lorick counts Miuccia Prada and Nicholas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga among her favorite current designers. But you can hear the excitement in her voice when she talks about classic designer favorites Christian Dior who created the “New Look” in the 1940s, Ralph Lauren (of course) and one of Jackie Kennedy’s designers of choice, Cristobal Balenciaga.
For Lorick’s first collection, she opted away from basic black and created bold and bright pieces that were still very elegant and ladylike. Elegance is a theme that is repeated throughout all of the Lorick fashions. Every piece, for example, has a jacket – whether shorts or a pencil skirt. It allows women to look put together while still mixing and matching to make it their own. Her aim with this collection was to bring elegance back to a generation of women.
When asked “what is Lorick?” by her marketing and branding guru, Roanne Adams, Lorick says that she wanted to create a look for the “modern lady.” Part of her aim, she says, is to bring back respect and manners for women – quite an unexpected statement from such a young designer. She’s quick to explain that she feels that powerful women are those that have respect for themselves and carry themselves in such a way that demands respect from others. It’s not enough to wear beautiful clothes, you have to act the part. Her latest fashion books will emphasize this idea by incorporate manners and etiquette tips.
For her summer collection, Lorick takes it a step further. The collection has more subdued colors like gray, green, white and black but every garment also has a surprise: a burst of yellow. Even if tiny, like piping inside of a lining, the yellow is in the collection to remind women to think about others. Thinking about others is part of Lorick’s business plan. Lorick is participating in a benefit in November to debut her Summer collection. She will donate 10% of the sales of the collection to a village in Kenya called Lwala. She hopes that the women who wear her collection will remember “their Lwala” when they wear her clothes. Social consciousness with design? What could be more fashionable?
Of course, Lorick has already made a big splash on the fashion world with her current collection, with TV and fashion watchers everywhere wondering who designed the fabulous dresses in the Waldorf Collection on Gossip Girl. Lorick was lucky enough to have good friends in the wardrobe department at Gossip Girl that knew that she was launching her own collection. Lorick’s classic, elegant pieces were exactly the kinds of pieces that Eleanor would have designed… and the folks at wardrobe thought that it would be a great fit for the show. The pieces on the show are from Lorick’s existing collection. The only piece that Lorick deliberately created for the show is the jacket that Jenny steals from the store in “Dare Devil.”
Lorick has had several opportunities to meet the cast, even appearing as an extra in an episode or two (she plays Eleanor’s assistant in “Bad News Blair”). She describes Leighton as “so much fun” and “so great” and is excited to report that Blake Lively is participating with the Lwala Board. She saves her most ardent descriptions for Margaret Colin, who she refers to as “absolutely amazing.”
So is this foray into the world of TV fashion the start of trend? Not likely. For starters, she doesn’t have cable (I know, I know). Lorick has enjoyed her work on the show and the notoriety that she’s received. It’s given her great press and boosted sales (especially of those backless dresses). But for now, she’s content to work with the great cast and crew on Gossip Girl and grow her own business. She’s already gone international, selling in Canada and Japan. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before she makes the return to elegance a feature on the runways in the same fashion capitals that she once walked as a model – only this time as a designer for Lorick New York.