UPDATE: Lazy Sunday? Browse through A+O's perfectly girly office for a little creative inspiration. This story was originally published on January 3.
When we think of Alice + Olivia, images of pastel shades, slimming wide-leg jeans, and embellished party dresses come to mind. But none of that could have prepared us for our visit to designer Stacey Bendet's new Meatpacking workspace. The ultra-femme label turns out its popular threads in a studio that displays an attitude and work ethic worthy of the brand's aesthetic. It's an office as bright and lively as a pair of Bendet's signature saturated denim (though A + O is so much more than the "just pants" line it began as). A growing brand, Alice + Olivia now covers every aspect of RTW including children's wear, and give-em-hell shoes that continue to impress the fashion-hungry.
Though you could easily outfit your 9-to-5 wardrobe with Bendet's latest crop of threads, the designer's on-the-clock attire is anything but corporate. In fact, when we met up with the innovator, mom, and woman-about-town, she was sporting a ball gown and tiara in the office — just another day in the whimsical world of Alice + Olivia. So, come on and join us on an exclusive tour of all the magic. Just don't forget your sky-high heels and conquer-the-world attitude. Those are absolute work requirements around here.
Photographed by Sunny Shokrae
What do you love about your office's neighborhood?
"There is just a great energy down here — the shopping is fun, the restaurants are great, and the spirit is just really New York right now."
alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet skirt and top.
Where do you order lunch from most regularly and what is the order?
"One Lucky Duck! I get either the kale salad or the sesame salad, and then I add some steamed veggies to it."
Do you have any in-office traditions with your crew?
"We all seem to like tequila!"
Your office is so bright and fun and feminine — are there any dudes around? If so, any funny stories?
"I think every male that walks in here needs to just embrace his feminine side! One time my husband walked in with a friend to say hi, and we were having races on our pink and purple scooters. He was like 'Really? This is your hard day at work?'"
What music do you blast while you design?
"I am having a jazz day! Eartha Kitt 'Santa Baby' at this moment actually, but it varies. I pick a theme every morning."
How has your design aesthetic developed over time?
"I think it evolves every day. I think the more I learn, the more I see, and what you see makes your eyes and talent evolve."
The shoes you design and wear are always super high — what do you love about a good high shoe and any advice for walking in them?
"A high heel elongates the leg and inevitably flatters every figure. Advice: Avoid cobblestones."
alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet dress.
What are some of your favorite stores in NYC? What about NYC restos?
"I love Waverly Inn, and then vegetarian places like One Lucky Duck, Blossom and Souen. As for stores, I love vintage shopping, but my secret spot for great tees and casual stuff is Trico Field. They have the cutest kids clothes too!"
We're obsessed with the fit and feel of your pants, specifically the bell bottoms. What is the secret to a good pair of jeans?
"It’s all about elongating the leg. Even if it’s a cropped or skinny style, I always focus on making the leg look thinner and longer."
What are your go-to beauty products?
"MAC Russian Red lipstick and Homeoplasmine for my skin."
Any secret diet and exercise regimens?
"I have been a vegetarian for 15 years and I do Ashtanga yoga every day."
Tell us about the partnership with Magnum and the Minis. How did this come to be and what will the capsule bring?
"I love ice cream and I thought the minis were so cute! They asked us to design a mini skirt to represent the mini — I figured it had to be as decadent as the ice cream, so I went with gold beading to give the skirts a luxe feel."
Where have you been looking for inspiration lately?
"I have been having a '90s moment in design."
What has been your #1 "Holy Sh*t I've Made It!" moment?
"Obviously when Refinery29 asked me to do this piece!"
What can we look forward to from your next collection?
"Ask me in February...right now I am packing for Hawaii!"