On a cool fall day I headed over to Neiman Marcus in Paramus NJ to interview Edward Wilkerson, the creative force behind Lafayette 148. I settled in at a cocktail table to have a conversation with the designer as a DJ spun Indian dance music in homage to the fall collection’s inspiration.
J: Out of the current collection right now. What was your favorite piece to design?
E: My favorite piece was the red fringe coat. I actual ordered one for myself in black.
J: I saw it on the rack, the color is brilliant! What was your inspiration for spring?
E: My inspiration was a trip I took to Capri. So we have a beautiful print called the Capri print. We took a tour around the island – rented a boat and I was shooting nonstop.
J: Do you keep a photo journal when your on your trips?
E: Yeah, Oh totally!
J: That’s amazing!
E: And one day I hope to produce a book with all of my images in it.
J: Like with your sketches and everything too?
E: Yes exactly, exactly, [it will be] called “Inspired.” I’ve been working on it for ten years – but you know what, I had to take my trip to India. I want to go to Beijing soon, maybe in November. I want to photograph the Great Wall.
J: When you go on these trips do you find that you’re more attracted to textures, embellishments, colors, or is it everything?
E: Oh everything! You know everything that I see – the stone streets, the architecture, the people – their style! Now we’ll be selling in Shanghai China soon so I really need to study..the way they dress. It’s a mix of conservative but done with a lot of style. You know, pretty much what our style is.
J: You design for a wide range of sizes. When your designing do you have styles in mind for curvy women or very petite women?
E: I’m just thinking of a woman in general and what we’ve done well with in the past. It’s always a challenge to make it new and I think that’s a part of our success. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel each season. I’m trying to build upon our successes.
J: Fur is really big this year and noticed you guys have a lot of fur pieces. If someone like me didn’t have any fur in their wardrobe, but wanted to start off with a starter piece what would you recommend?
E: The fur muffler, the fox fur muffler. It works over the cape coat, it works over the dress, you know what’s great about it? It highlights a basic dress, it highlights a basic black dress, it highlights a pair of pants and a sweater. It just adds a touch of luxury.
J: I was looking at the collection and two pieces stuck out to me. The oversized snood and sleeveless leather lapel. They are such bold pieces!
E: Ah good! Yes, I love those!
J: How would you recommend that someone incorporate those into their wardrobe?
E: It goes with everything! There are no limits to what that works with.
J: If I was a young working professional going out into the world…
E: You are! (laughs)
J: well..if I was in the corporate world, and I was going to invest in one piece from your collection what should I buy?
E: A suit.
J: skirt, pants, or both?
E: Pants, because you should have a skirt already, you know we have a collection called “ Basic Black” of our basic black suits and you really can’t go wrong. It’s an add to every wardrobe. You know you’re wearing all camel, you just throw that black jacket over it. You know camel and black, there is nothing chicer.
J: Camel is my new favorite color.
E: (laughs) It’s always mine. If I order this coat (motions to a draped blanket coat on the rack) I can’t do the cream on the inside, but I can do it all camel!