The Sincere Warmth of Byron Lars
By Vanessa Bisetti
Byron Lars is an American fashion designer who deserves every ounce of spotlight he receives. Humility and warmth describe the vibe of Byron, as his personality fueled the interview. This I found to be refreshing as he is someone who is busy preparing for New York Fashion Week 2013 and who has the First Lady, Michelle Obama, continually attending major events in his clothing. “To be honest, anytime she wears anything of ours, we’re just overwhelmed and so pleased”, he speaks of the First Lady, showing sincere respect.
Byron has been designing under his own label since 1991. His motivation was spurred at a young twenty-five years old when he realized that he had reached a now-or-never point to put his dream into motion. “I basically just started from my apartment and made a few samples myself on a domestic machine and took them around to store and to magazines on my back in a garment bag”. His persistence paid off when he caught the attention of Henri Bendel, who ordered forty units total from the novice designer. This was amazing news, but what came after he shipped Bendel’s order was even more exciting, “they gave me front windows on Fifth Avenue…I was blown away”. Through a connection that introduced him to who would become his business partner, Byron’s career became more secure. From there, he grew into the fashion designer seen today.
The optimism of Byron was obvious when asked about criticism within the industry or just by everyday consumers. As he describes, a person’s longevity in the fashion world is all about being able to take the good and the bad reviews, if you can take both, “you begin to put that all into its proper perspective”. He stressed that although the reviews are important, there is more to the business than a review for one particular season. This season, a negative review does not seem likely for Byron’s debut of his Beauty Mark Fall 2013 Collection on Thursday, February 14, from 1 to 3 pm at Stollway (250 W. 39th St., NY, NY). The audience can expect to see a lot of textile based pieces, along with a multitude of fabrics, “it was really like a fabric lab this season!” Of course, who doesn’t love some good girl, bad girl conflict on the runway? Look out for day dresses cut with pleather and lace. And, as another subplot, there are many cultural references that can be seen throughout the entire collection. But most importantly, Byron focuses on the make of the clothes, “I’m really obsessed with cut and fashion…but it’s always going to be about that. So that doesn’t really distinguish this collection from any other that we do.”
Byron’s use of staple pieces causes the everyday consumer to feel accustomed to the high-fashion styles, giving him an advantage compared to other designers. “There’s something that’s comforting in [using staples] because you have more leeway to push fashion boundaries when you’re pushing something familiar”. His grandfather, who just celebrated his 100th birthday, inspired him to work off of the standard American staples. Devices like his grandfather’s hunting jacket and standard white button down that he wore to work everyday as a computer scientist, were among the inspiration to take on staples. This instigated The White Collection, a part of Byron Lars Beauty Mark. “It’s something that I really keep focus on…” he describes of his numerous reinventions of the white t-shirt. Whether it’s a formed fitting cut blouse or a loose tunic, these “t-shirts” could fit anybody, any style.
A recommendation to all of those out there looking for a beauty tip that is not the patented “be confident in what you’re wearing” schpeel: layer things up. “A shirt you love in the summer can definitely go in the winter if you just throw a turtleneck under it.” By winterizing summer favorites and vice versa, Byron believes we will all save some money and makes pieces work a lot longer.
Byron Lars Beauty Mark is seen in stores and boutiques all across the US or online at: byronlarsbeautymark.com.