All Women's Talk

Alice Ritter Trashionistas Exclusive Interview

By Stella

Alice Ritter Fall 2007 Collection Runway Photo: Getty Images

** How and when did you first begin making clothing? **

I started making clothes when I moved to NYC 9 years ago. I came from Paris where I was working for a record company as a publicist — but I had always dreamed of being a fashion designer! So when I followed my then boyfriend-now husband to New York, I thought it would be a good time to follow my true passion. I bought a sewing machine, ripped apart vintage clothes to figure out how they were made and started to do clothes for myself.

After a few years of doing stuff for my friends, I moved to Brooklyn where I started to sell to a great store there. That was 5 years ago. I was doing one of kind pieces, all handmade and home made…which was a great way to learn…and to get out of my system some bad ideas! I really started to work on the ready to wear collection 2 years ago.
**
How has your birthplace influenced your designs? **

France is a huge influence! Of course it’s where I grew up and I believe nothing is more influential than your years as a kid.

France has a very strict and strong sense of style — from the ‘back to school’ little navy coat to the powerful masters of haute couture, French people don’t mess around with fashion!

I grew up admiring Yves Saint Laurent and Lagerfeld, who had freshly arrived at Chanel. I would never miss an issue of French Vogue, spending all my allowance money buying it. As a result, the classic French style, the bourgeois style and the brilliant haute couture are two of my primary inspirations.

** What is your design philosophy?**

I design clothes that are meant to be worn. Every piece I put out I would wear myself or picture one of my stylish friends wearing it on an everyday basis. I greatly admire conceptual designers like Rei Kawakubo or Tao but I’m good at every day clothes with a twist. My designs are feminine and bold. I like clothes with humour as well.
**
Where do you draw your inspiration? **

The spectrum of my inspiration is vast. From movies, to art, to music, I also find inspiration walking in the street of New York or admiring the great elegant women of our day: Sofia Coppola, Charlotte Gainsbourg…

** What kind of person do you imagine wearing your clothing? **

I picture a lively, smart and witty woman who would have a good sense of who she is and what she wants to wear. A woman who would not be afraid of taking risks but you would also know that trends should never outsmart personal style.
**
Describe your current collection:**

It’s definitely about shape, fitting the body in different ways. Finding sexiness in new places. It also has a romantic edge. I’ve always been drawn to romanticism. It’s in my blood. I think the strongest pieces are the dresses and today it’s all about a good dress. I love the fact that you can be at your best wearing one dress! It’s a very modern way of dressing.

** What can we expect to see from you in the future? **

I’m currently working on knit and print…2 new ventures for me — both very inspiring! I hope it won’t be long before I develop a line of shoes. The ultimate statement would be a scent! It’s hard for me to find a perfume that doesn’t smell synthetic nowadays. I wear a Comme des Garcons incense perfume and I would love to work on something in that spirit, a scent that comes from the skin.

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