Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Interview with Jessica Brown of Ivy & Aster

When we daydream of fairytale weddings and maids outfitted in only the most romantic of dresses it makes us think of our beloved Ivy & Aster. In 2010 Jessica Brown, the owner and designer of Ivy & Aster, began her beautiful creations. The fanciful draping, chiffon flowers and gorgeous color palette makes us want to wear these beauties every day! We wanted to hear more about Jessica’s beginnings and inspirations for these sweet dresses…

BB: What do you think has been the most important factor in the success of your business?

J: I'm really proud that we've been so successful from the start of the business. I think we really understand our customer and what she wants as well as how to market to that customer. I am also thankful for the great stores that picked up the line the first season including many of the Bella stores!

Jessica in her design space

BB: When designing for women, specifically bridesmaids, what are your inspirations?

J: As we all know women and bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes, so we try to offer styles that will be flattering on a variety of girls. Our look is youthful and fun and our dresses are made so you could wear them to other social events, they don't scream bridesmaid when you first see them.

BB: Was there a specific event or person in your life that led you to begin designing bridesmaid dresses?

J: I've been in bridal for a while and really wanted to try to branch into maids just for a change of pace and color! It is similar to ready to wear in a bridal environment so I thought it would be fun. Also I was hearing there was a need for an under $300 silk look so that is where we landed.

BB: Could you tell us a little more about your bridal background?

J: I started working in a bridal store in Atlanta when I was in high school. I just fell in love with the whole experience. Bridal gowns are the closest thing to couture that most people will ever wear as they are usually made to order. I went on to study fashion design and also worked for Saks bridal in college. Upon graduation I was hired by Anne Barge and was there for almost 11 years where I also got to work with Badgley Mischka on their bridal collection.

Olivia Thirlby
 Image by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images via Style Bistro
BB: If you could give any famous woman a makeover, who would it be and how would you style them?

J: That's a hard one! I'd love to dress an up and coming actress like Olivia Thirlby or Elle Fanning that could really take our dresses and make them their own. I'd love to see how they would style them! That is what I think is great about I&A is that you can really let your own personality show!

BB: What high school trend are you embarrassed to admit you followed?

J: I'm actually not too embarrassed by my style in high school- I guess I found my style then. Middle school is another story- I guess the "multiples" trend with socks in matching colors was pretty dreadful! Also the way-high bangs were pretty bad.

BB: If you weren't a designer, what career path would you have chosen?

J: I would be a painter/artist if I thought I could survive off doing it for a living- I still love to paint in my free time

BB: What's your favorite dress in your collection?

J: I love our new prints- they are so fun and flirty! I'm dying for a bridal party to use them or at least one for the maid of honor.

BB: Any hints to what is in store for this Fall?

J: We are introducing some great new colors that our 'fans' have requested along with some different necklines and sleeve options, which are also in demand. We are also continuing with our prints to further the idea that our dresses can be for other social occasions.

Ivy & Aster, Coming Up Roses

BB: Advice for certain styles for different body shapes?

J: We've sold all shapes and sizes- I think interest or draping/rouching on the bodice can both enhance and minimize depending on what is needed. Our gently gathered skirts are fun and forgiving on the hips! An empire waist is always good on a larger size or if you have an expectant attendant. Most girls look good in strapless since it shows off the shoulders.

BB: What's in your purse?

J: It is a little scary right now- I have the usual wallet, lots of receipts from travel and purchases, my favorite Laura Mercier lip gloss, a Jo Malone cologne, my Banana Republic sunglasses, a Clif bar and a diaper- I have a 16 month old and don't always like to carry a diaper bag!

Thank you Jessica!

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