Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Antonoff
Family matters to designer Rachel Antonoff. So much so, in fact, that she never produces a sample without earning texted approval from her loved ones, who are saved in her phone as The Peanut Gallery.
I cant imagine anything I do in my work without them around giving opinions, she told us at the screening for her spring 2014 campaign film on Wednesday night.
But they played a much larger role than opinionates this fashion season. Antonoffs new video Forever Crush is centered around her parent’s relationship. Her mother and father are featured as narrated voiceovers, and the cast includes Jenny Slate (the genius behind YouTube phenomena Marcel the Shell with Shoes On) and Mae Whitman (Arrested Development). Plus, her brother, Jack Antonoff (a.k.a., the guitarist of Fun. and Lena Dunham’s boyfriend) plays their father.
The idea for Antonoff to present her latest designs in a film rather than a traditional runway show was generated at Thanksgiving dinner last year by Dunham, unsurprisingly. We learned this when we caught up with Antonoff at the event to score her weekend playlist, reasons to eschew New York Fashion week, and not taking style too seriously.
Tell us the inspiration behind your new collection?
The collection was inspired by crushes. I get the best ideas [for designing when] I jog and daydream. I look better [in my daydreams] than I do in real lifeIm dressed impeccably. So then I take those outfits and bring them to real life. Those daydreams have always revolved around crushes, so thats what this season [was about]: The feelings when you have a crush and how fun it is to dress up when you see your crush. [For the video], we were thinking about crusheswhat they mean and what they feel likeand I was thinking about my parents. I’m really happy with how it turned out.
You’re particularly close with your brother. How does your relationship influence both of your creative pursuits?
Hes been my best friend for as long as I can remember, and our work has always felteven though its differentas though it moves in and out of each other. I never do anything without getting his opinion, and if he didnt like somethingwhether it be a dress or a boyfriendit would be out of there. So I hold his opinion very highly.
Who do you consider to be your muses?
My brother is definitely a muse. So is my mother, and my friends. Celebrity-wise, I dont know. I do find AnnaSophia Robb totally charming and adorable.
What made you decide to opt out of New York Fashion Week?
A few things: Last season, Lena did a video with us, and she had this great idea [to do it this season]. I thought, This is brilliant. But I thought we should do it in addition to a show. [But] its not like we have unlimited funds, and fashion week, for us, was getting more and more expensive as my visions were getting larger and larger. I really despise compromising. So I just felt like, this video seems like such a dynamite idea, so maybe we dont do a show, just this one time. At first it felt really disappointing, but soon after that it felt like the best idea.
Do you think that the traditional runway shows of fashion week are headed in a new direction in general?
There are so many ways to do it. One thing Ive always appreciated about presentations is the ability to bring people into this world where I see clothing existing. And two times a year, I get to show thisits like show and tell! I get to be there when they see it, which in some ways is stressful, as well. Whereas with the video, I think the reach is so much wider. Its interesting that there are so many new, creative ways to show your stuff.
How would you describe the person who wears your clothing?
I think shes kind of an every girl. I really like that my mom, and my grandmother, and my 13-year-old cousin can wear my clothes. But definitely, shes sillyshe doesnt take herself or her fashion too seriously. Shes not afraid to get the clothes dirty.