When New Zealand-born womenswear designer Rebecca Taylor started her eponymous label Rebecca Taylor, Inc., 22 years ago, she always knew it would just be a passing chapter in her life. On Thursday, a year after the designer decamped to Paris, Taylor formally announced she would be parting from her business.
“After much soul searching, I have decided I will not be resuming my position as creative director of Rebecca Taylor,” the designer said in a press release. “I am extremely proud of the many successes achieved since founding the brand with my then business partner, Beth Bugdaycay. I have tremendous pride in the company I have built, and I have loved every minute of my professional and creative journey helping women feel fantastic,” she continued.
The decision comes after Taylor lost someone important to her. “I had a very dear friend pass away this summer,” Taylor tells Refinery29 exclusively. “It was shocking and unexpected. I realized I had to seize life and start exploring who I am as a forty-something. Remember, I was 26 when I started Rebecca Taylor. I feel I have evolved as a person and a designer. I really want to see where my passions lead me.”
When she started Rebecca Taylor at 26-years-old, she hadn’t even considered what the end goal would be, but she says she always wanted to spread joy with the clothes her label produced. “I have always wanted to find the magic in the everyday that makes it all worthwhile,” Taylor explains. Rebecca Taylor, the brand, made clothing for women who preferred to face the world in unmistakably feminine pieces with a Parisian cool edge. It became a huge success. Taylor was nominated for the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Designer Award in 2000.
“That is like asking me to choose a favorite child,” Taylor says, when asked if she has a collection she favors a bit more than the others. “I did a wonderful collection based on the ocean one year with amazing embellished star fish. Another collection that stands out is the ballet-themed one with glitter falling on the runway for the finale.”
As for when Taylor knew it was time to move to Paris, the designer calls the moment an ‘epiphany’: “I realized the kids were growing so quickly and life was passing me by in a spin of seasons in the fashion industry,” she explains. But she also recalled how traveling really shaped the person she became. “My family moved to England from New Zealand when I was eight and we traveled around Europe for a couple of years. It had a tremendous impact on who I am today and what I dream of. So it was an experience I wanted to give to my family.”
Taylor says she is leaving the brand in excellent hands. “Janice Sullivan, the president, is amazing,” she maintains. Sullivan is also responsible for finding the next creative director. “The team there has worked under me for so long we practically finish each other’s sentences. All I ask is that they be kind and respectful to each other and show that respect to their customer, so she continues to feel fabulous in Rebecca Taylor.”
So what will Taylor do with her free time now? “I just read an amazing book about Jean Paul Basquiat and his girlfriend by Jennifer Clément, also a F. Scott Fitzgerald book, Tender Is The Night,” she tells Refinery29. “I have had so much time over the last year to reenergize creatively. My passions range from vintage textiles to fragrance. My mind is full of ideas.”