(NEW YORK) In case you missed some of our fave features in The Daily in print as you were dashing from show to show this NYFW, we’re rolling out some gems in time for your post-fash week recovery (or, perhaps, while you’re en route to Milan and Paris). We asked and she answered: How does Alice + Olivia’s Stacey Bendet get ready for Fashion Week? Impromptu yoga sessions in her office, bien sûr! The Daily visited her downtown headquarters to see how this powerhouse designer gets her body all Bendet into shape. Namaste!
BY EDDIE ROCHE
How often do you do yoga in a miniskirt?
I do yoga six days a week, but one or two days a week around this time of the year I need to stretch in the office!
How long have you been a yogi?
Since college. But in 2004, I met [yoga instructor] Eddie Stern through Moby. They were best friends and punk rockers together in the ’80s. Moby became a rock star and Eddie became a yoga guru. I told him, “I do a little yoga,” and he told me to come to his 6:30 a.m. class the next day. I don’t think he thought I would ever show up. But I went and I went every day after that.
What kind of yoga do you practice?
I do Ashtanga, which is a more rigid practice because you learn different series and do the same poses every day. It’s not like a lead class, where the instructor says, “Everyone do the downward dog.” Everyone does their own practice.
Does it calm you?
With Ashtanga, it’s about focusing on your practice, your poses, and your breathing, and the calmness is supposed to come. It truly helps keep me in balance.
Especially leading up to your show…
It’s my least favorite week of the year!
I’m in a state of focusing on the collection, the bodies, what the fabric prices are, and all this stuff, and also styling the show. It uses the left and right side of the brain at the same time and it’s one big headache. And the whole world is on vacation and you’re in this intense mind-set. I really celebrate Labor Day because it’s labor day.
Do you drink more at this time of year?
Drinking makes things worse! It makes you tired and cranky, and you can’t focus.
What’s the collection going to look like for spring?
We continued the feel of street style, but in a more bohemian, romantic way. I feel like we’re having this moment where day dressing is extending into night so I wanted things that were casual and romantic at the same time. I went on this trip to Turkey and it was really inspiring both in terms of color and fabric, as well as this juxtaposition of vintage and new.
And you’re apartment hunting at the same time?
We’ve been renting a townhouse for a year and half and we’re not big fans of six floors. We’re always like, “Where is Scarlet? Where is Eloise?” and then we’re running down the stairs. We’re moving to TriBeCa into a loft space.
How’d you like the New York Post story a few weeks ago about you checking out a $23 million penthouse?
It was so obnoxious and it was actually very incorrect. I kind of poked my head into the building. I saw the ground floor and wanted to see the space because I’m always looking for cool architecture for events. I didn’t even see the penthouse. It was even funnier because the story went online and blogs were saying it was Michael Eisner’s wife that was looking. So I was like, “My husband is not 70 years old.” It also said that I live in Los Angeles! I was like, “Oh, by the way, I have 300 people in New York City that work for me in an office that I am at most of my life.”
We still like Page Six…
Me too! Sometimes you need a distraction when you don’t want to think about work or anything spiritual or important in the world.
How else did you summer?
We were in Malibu most of July. I went back and forth and the girls stayed out there. It was kind of great because I could work Monday through Thursday and go be with them Thursday to Sunday. It’s really beautiful and peaceful out there. And for me, driving five hours to go to Montauk, I’d rather fly five hours and be in Malibu.
Any fab neighbors?
Malibu is all fabulous. I do yoga with a fun little crowd, like Mike Diamond from the Beastie Boys and Tamra Davis. They have a little yoga shell at their house and I practice there. My friends Susie and Rene Lopez are always out there. Rachel Zoe’s son and Scarlet swim together. It’s Malibu—everyone is someone everywhere you walk. But at the same time, I feel a real sense of anonymity while I’m there because that’s not really my world.
Will we see an Alice + Olivia perfume anytime soon?
We’ve been talking about it. There needs to be a perfume concept for the more contemporary woman that really doesn’t wear strong perfume. I don’t feel my contemporaries wear perfume the way our mothers did. It’s a different kind of era, so I want to do something that I feel is appropriate to the brand and to our consumers. But it has to be the right time. Maybe in a year or two.
What are you obsessed with these days?
Over-the-knee boots, plaid skirts, and magic.
What kind of magic?
I’m not sure. We’re having a magic dinner party on Thursday, so every guest has to do tricks.
What’s your trick?
I think I’m going to do something about love and kindness. That’s my other obsession right now, love and kindness. We are starting this project called “The Love and Kindness Project.” We’re installing these trees and then we’re putting all sorts of cool things on the trees, like little messages in a bottle and vintage books, and people can come and take one and replace it with another message.
You’re a pretty positive person!
Most of the time! I’m also very honest. I have “truthfulness” tattooed on my wrist.
Do people always know where they stand with you?
Yes. I’m not fake. If I’m happy with something then I’m really happy and encouraging. But if something is bad, I won’t sugarcoat. If I’m not honest with my staff and my team, I’m not being very honest with myself.