Down Under With Dawn Levy
As a member of a prominent coat-manufacturing family, Dawn Levy knows her way around a well-constructed jacket. Whether it’s down, fur, or wool, she’s got it covered under her eponymous label and its diffusion line, DL2. The next polar vortex isn’t looking so bad, now is it?
BY DENA SILVER
Are you a fan of cold weather?
Of course! For as long as I can remember, I’ve always said that I can’t wait for that first crisp day so I can break out all my fall pieces.
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever worn a coat?
Bali. Last time I visited, they had a little cold spell during a monsoon and it was freezing. I had just come off of a trip to Russia, so we had to break out all our coats to make it through the cold!
And what’s your favorite cold-weather destination?
Right here in New York! But for getaways, I love Park City, Utah, where my daughter lives.
What was your first introduction to the coat industry?
I came into the coat business really organically, because my husband is part of a four-generation coat manufacturing family. I used to eat, sleep, and drink the production process with The Levy Group before I ever started my own brand. We would travel all over the world for his work and wander through coat departments for hours. That’s where it all started. Years ago, the coat departments were very quiet, plain, and simple. I felt like we needed to do something there and be more creative.
What was your first design gig, in regards to jackets?
The Levy Group owns the license for Laundry. About 12 years ago I started designing Laundry outerwear, and then I moved to Esprit, and ABS. I also dabbled in design for Victoria’s Secret and their private label. Actually, we just did the coats that are going to be on their London runway show, which is coming up soon.
Did you have any design experience before you took on Laundry?|
I owned a floral shop with my mom when I was younger, but I knew I wanted to get into some type of design job at some point. I didn’t necessarily know it would be in fashion, but I definitely have a creative side.
How many coats are hanging in your closet?
I have quite a few, maybe a hundred or two hundred. Some women love shoes, but I love coats. They’re the first thing others see when you walk into a room, so it’s important they make a statement.
And what’s your husband’s coat count?
He probably owns about 15 or 16.
What’s the Dawn Levy design philosophy?
I felt like there was a void in the outerwear market and attention needed to be paid to the silhouette of down jackets. I wanted to give them more of a fit and flare look by giving them a defined waist. I also wanted to figure out how to make women feel beautiful while keeping them warm.
And what’s DL2?
DL2 is our diffusion line for a customer who is a bit edgier and has more of a downtown feel.
What else do you specialize in, aside from down outerwear?
We’ve just introduced fur in a big way! Last July I was traveling with some friends and we went into a vintage shop where I found a ton of real astrakhan coats. I thought about how to make it attainable. What I ended up doing was using rabbit fur to emulate the texture of astrakhan. The response has been phenomenal.
Everyone’s buzzing that this winter will be colder than the last one. How should we prepare?
First of all, we should be shopping now! I would recommend buying a long down coat and also a fabulous real or faux-fur coat to get you through the season.