Lauren Grossman on How to Make Comfort Chic

by Charles Manning

Designer Lauren Grossman has made her brand, Planet by Lauren G, a go-to for women seeking clothes that look good, feel good, and don’t harm animals. The Daily spoke to the Coterie veteran to find out what fuels her, and what fans can expect this season.

Lauren Grossman

Comfort is synonymous with your brand — how do you define comfort? How do you toe the line between comfort and chic?
Comfort is defined by Planet as everyday clothing, as well as [clothing for] every evening. The fabrics are luxurious, and that feeling equates with comfort. It’s easy to look good and still be chic because the style is there.

You work with vegan leather. Why is that important to you?
Planet likes to be kind to the environment. Rather than using leather that kills animals and has to be dry-cleaned, vegan leather is a totally washable and an animal-free, man-made fabric.

What other textiles are you working with these days?
I am excited about the new scuba fabric. It’s amazing — minimal, washable, and comfortable. It’s available in black, asphalt, and white. We did some color blocking, because these three colors coordinate so well together. It’s not only hip, but very chic!

You’ve told us before that you admire Donna Karan. Why do you connect to her work?
I read her memoir, My Journey, and I was shaking when I read about her concept of the seven easy pieces. It’s exactly what Planet’s philosophy of dressing has been for the past 20 years.

Are there any people in your personal life you’ve looked up to, style-wise?
My sister has always been my fashion icon. She is 13 years my senior, and as a little girl, I watched her dress in the latest and greatest fashions throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Now in the 2000s, I watch her wear Planet. She always looks up-to-date and appropriate for any occasion. Chic is her look — she doesn’t wear a costume. I am proud to say her entire wardrobe is Planet.

Who is the Planet woman?
Planet is a lifestyle collection that caters to women who travel, go to spas, and live in a country-club setting. The pima-cotton tees and sweater knits, as well as the matte jersey, are ideal for such environments. It’s about always looking smart but also being comfortable.

Tell us more about how your designs work for women on the go!
Each piece can be layered and worn in either daytime or evening. The fabrications are easily packable to travel in a small suitcase. We don’t use any prints. Instead, we use various textures that can be accessorized with fabulous chunky necklaces, bracelets, shoes, sneakers, or boots. Each one of these pieces can be used in the wardrobe, year after year.

How do you stay active?
I exercise every morning before I go to the office. I either do a high-energy spin class or a Zumba dance class. It clears my head and energizes me for the day.

How would you describe your personal style? How has it changed over the years?
I went through the ’70s in platform shoes and Faded Glory jeans, along with Nik Nik shirts and Wayne Rogers tops. In the ’80s, I wore Norma Kamali with great big shoulder pads, as well as Betsey Johnson. I also rocked my favorite look, the punk/New Wave style — Boy London belts and clothing from Patricia Fields, Fiorucci, and Reminiscence. It was so creative and out of the box. The ’90s cleaned up with a lot of menswear suiting, but my favorite part of the ’90s was the grunge look. I wore a flannel shirt tied around my waist every day.

What’s your design process like? Where do you usually start with your collections?
My design process is like a birth. I first start with a color palette. From there, I select fabrics to coordinate with the colors selected. Next, I break down the categories into tops, jackets, bottoms, and sweaters. Then I match up which designs look the best in each fabric and color. First samples are then made, and we build the collection from there. Once I approve all the details of each piece — such as buttons, thread, and zippers — I have the piece sketched, price it out, and it goes into the new collection.

What advice would you give to someone showing at Coterie for the first time?
Be prepared, and know your product inside and out. Knowledge is power.

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