I can’t tell you how excited I am about the launch of my collaboration with Antonio Melani for Dillards! I’ve had questions about how a collaboration and collection like this comes together so I thought I might tell you about my inspiration and the design process.
The first step in the planning process for the collection was for me. Last Fall, the talented design team at Antonio Melani asked me to send them some inspiration and told me it could be anything! We needed a launching point and some visual cues to let the design team get to know me better. I put some thought into what I hoped our daily lives would be like come summer. I wanted the collection to truly exemplify my favorite parts of my lifestyle, from the shapes and styles to the colors.
As most of the collection was created over virtual meetings, with loads of packages being sent back and forth, I sent them a digital board full of images from my home and the dresses in my closet that I found myself wearing over and over again.
I wanted the dresses to be flattering and feminine yet capable of taking a busy woman through the day. I wanted cheerful colors in surprising combinations inspired by some of the artwork in our house and I wanted floral prints inspired by my favorite china pattern, Tobacco Leaf. Scroll down to see some of the photos that I sent them for inspiration!
After they took a look at my inspiration boards, we regrouped digitally and took a look at the design teams first round of drawings. It was amazing! There were so many wonderful options and the hardest part of the process was narrowing down their initial designs to the edited collection that we are offering in May! Samples were made and shipped to my home so that we could feel the fabrics, consider the placement of zippers and ties, and really think about who and how they would be worn. I put a lot of careful consideration into what I would chose to put on if these dresses were in my closet but it was still torture to take some of the options off of the rack! I was so impressed by the attention to details and experience of the Antonio Melani designers.
We added shoes and a capsule collection for girls into the mix along the way too! Designing the shoes was amazing. I wanted one style to wear every day, something that would be easy to slip on in the summer but look elegant enough to wear with the dresses. I wanted another to be powerful and chic with an elegant heel. Finally, I wanted a trendy clog that would give the dresses a really fun look but that would feel a bit more refined than a traditional clog. I can’t wait for you to get to try these on! I’ve been wearing my samples almost every day and I just love them for the look and the comfort!
Millie got to work and consulted her friend, Jemma, who was over for a playdate, when her initial design options arrived. Millie is into the “skirt and shirt” combo right now and wanted her looks to be very soft. We brainstormed on some of her favorite phrases and added them to these soft tees in colors that compliment the ladies collection. I know they will be a hit with the little ladies in your life!
Of course, the ladies in my life all played a role! My mother and sisters are gorgeous in the dresses and I hope all of the ladies in your life love them too!
Interior Design: Jan Showers & Assoc.
Floral Styling: Jimmie Henslee
Photography by John Cain Sargent, Lisa Petrole, David Tsay