Rent the Runway is partnering with fashion insiders to create collections for its new “Tastemaker” series. First up is celebrity stylist and designer/creative director Jamie Mizrahi. The capsule — titled Sweet Baby Jamie — features a range of dresses, coats, and separates curated for the holiday season. The Daily called Mizrahi, who has worked with everyone from Katy Perry to Amber Valetta, to get the scoop on her work with RTR, and how she pulls sustainably-conscious clothes for her celebrity clients.
Tell me about this partnership with Rent the Runway! Why did you decide to take this on?
It’s actually a company that I’ve followed for a long time. I love the idea of being able to rent and give back the clothes that will then be rented again — recycling and not wasting clothes. So when they contacted me I was really excited because it’s a business model that is so interesting; so ahead of it’s time. I think a lot of brands eventually may end up looking into either being a part of this or doing it themselves. It’s so smart. They’re kind of the pioneer in the rental industry.
Had you used their services before?
Yes, and I use them now even more.
What were some of your initial concepts for your first collection?
Initial concepts were really for it to feel like the things I wear day-to-day. I mix and match what I wear to work, repeat wear. It’s classic, comfortable, really versatile. Making sure that you can rent a sweater and wear it with a skirt, pants, or wear it over a dress, under a jacket. [To be able to] mix and match the pieces with different things from the line and also things in your closet. And also thinking of that girl who is going to work, but maybe going to dinner straight from there. Or wants to look presentable on the weekends but doesn’t want to think about it. That’s where we started: from my closet and the types of pieces that I regularly wear and rotate, and would never really get rid of.
There seems to be a bit of a vintage vibe, too.
I really wanted it to feel classic more than anything. Like, pieces that when you go back in your closet two years later, you’re still interested in wearing them. Those are some things I gravitate towards. High colors for fall and winter. Blazers. Checkered, striped, easy to wear patterns. I really wanted to make sure that everything mixed and matched. So even if there were two prints, that they worked with the other prints in the collection. Maybe I gravitate towards a kind of vintage aesthetic, but I think the overall goal was for everything to feel as timeless, but also as modern, as possible.
I’ve read that it was partially inspired by Aspen. Do you spend a lot of time there?
The whole collection is not Aspen themed, but there are pieces that are inspired by that, like the argyle sweater and the faux fur coat. That’s where I go over the holidays every year.
Is that what you’re doing for the holidays this year?
I will be going to Colorado, just figuring out how long. And then my best friend is getting married on New Years, so that’s a party I’ll be excited for.
What’s on your wish list this year?
The truth is, at this point, I’ve really edited down everything in my life and in my closet. And I don’t like to have too much. It’s really just things that I can have over and over, and it doesn’t feel like I have to think about it or have excess. So I don’t really have any tangible wants. I’d be way more interested in my friends giving to charities than buying me things, because I don’t really need anything.
Have you been reading up on sustainability in the fashion industry?
Yeah, I’m actually in the middle of reading an article that my business partner just sent me. It’s so funny that you say that. It’s about mass brands all starting to go organic.
What are your hopes for the fashion industry?
I think we’re all noticing waste. It’s important to buy sustainable goods. And people are more aware of how important it is. More brands will [have sustainable options] based on the demands of people like us: shoppers and customers. That’s one of the reasons that I really love Rent the Runway, because it’s a way to be able to wear news clothes, feel that excitement of getting something new, but not contributing to the constant excess need to buy and consume.
Are you bringing that in to your work with your celebrity clients at all?
I’ve always gravitated towards brands like Stella McCartney and brands that are looking out for the environment. The conversation has gotten more and more important to everyone, so there are more available options. But vintage is something that I;ve always used on my clients. I have so many vendors that I work with where there are so many stories that a garment tells. For a lot of my clients, to wear vintage and to be able to repurpose that, is always really exciting and fun.
You usually work with individual clients. Was it a challenge trying to curate something for a wide audience?
No, only because I really took everyone into consideration. I tried to really balance out the collection so that the pieces cohesively work together. If you don’t like them all there’s probably one thing in there that you would be able to gravitate towards.
What do you see for your next RTR collection?
We’ve already started doing it. It’s very cute, and very spring. It’s really fun and girly. It feels very true to who I am. I can see a lot of my friends wearing it. There’s a lot of prints, a lot of color. It’s really a breath of fresh air. Because this [current] collection is a little darker and a little more neutral. That’s what I gravitate towards in the fall and the winter. But for spring and summer I love prints, I love color. It’s a lot of vintage-inspired florals that are really fun and cute.
The Sweet Baby Jamie collection will be available on Rent the Runway November 15. See all the pieces below.