Ariana Rockefeller On Her Spring Collection And Her First Met Ball

by Sydney Sadick

The perfect respite from yesterday’s hot and humid temps? A peek at designer Ariana Rockefeller‘s spring/summer designs at The Mark Hotel. Over truffle pizza, rose, and an adorable selection of clothes, Rockefeller gave us the lowdown on her collection…

Tell us about the collection!
It was inspired by my lifestyle and the fun things I do over the summer. The colors are super feminine and light, so it’s very me. I just wanted to create pieces that I could pack in a small overnight or weekend bag that would offer very versatile options.

Your pieces are named after people, right?
Yes! They’re named after my friends. A lot of them are people who I grew up with, and some of them are my parents’ friends who have inspired me. I wanted to keep things close to home and make pieces that my friends and I could wear and feel comfortable in.

Has your famous last name helped you establish your brand?
Definitely. People hear the name and want to hear what I’m up to, so it definitely opens doors. But by no means am I given any sort of special treatment. I’ve had to work incredibly hard, and I love that. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve grown up with that last name and it’s been wonderful, but you have to work that much harder as well to get people to see past it.

Did you always want to be a designer?
I always wanted my own collection. It’s been my dream since I was a little girl, and I was finally able to do that in 2011 when I launched. I found my amazing design director, who’s a professor at Parsons, and he helped me bring it all to life with the technical patterns. It’s been a really interesting journey.

You went to the Met Ball for your first time this year. How was it?
It was really fun. I actually designed my own dress! I wanted to feel like myself and honor the glamour and drama of the evening. I had an amazing time; it was an incredible party. I even created a skirt in this collection that was inspired by the Met Ball.

How do you relax?
I’m really into horseback riding; I ride at least five days a week. I even went riding before the Met Ball! I also do the show circuit in Wellington, Florida during the winter, so it’s really a big part of my life. It balances me. I can have my moment to regroup and I get a lot of my design ideas when I’m riding my horse. It’s a nice form of meditation.

What do you see being the next step with your brand?
I’d love to do a collaboration with a bigger brand, to allow me to take some of my visions more mainstream. That would be really exciting. But for now, I just want to focus on growing the brand, perfecting my designers, and just keeping it really small and simple. I think it’s good for little labels like mine to get everything down pat and keep it streamlined.

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