Meet Austyn Zung, Ann Taylor’s Creative Force

by Kristen Heinzinger
Austyn Zung

Austyn Zung

Serious spring-like showers set the mood for the Ann Taylor Spring/Summer ’16 presentation at 7 Times Square last night, the first designed by Austyn Zung. Zung, who already sits as creative chief for the company’s sister lines, LOFT (since 2010) and Lou & Grey (2014), has worked for Oscar de la Renta, John Bartlett, and the Gap. Isn’t it about time we knew more about her?

So Austyn, is designing Ann Taylor majorly different from LOFT or Lou & Grey?
Our muse is very elegant and refined, but she always has a sense of relaxed ease. LOFT is just relaxed. The clothes aren’t too constricted—they’re not too tucked-in or cinched.

Who is the Ann Taylor woman?
Probably every woman I know! All of my friends are very busy—they’ve got a lot going on, whether it’s a career or kids or an amazing social life. We have to get dressed in the morning, but we don’t want it to suck all of our energy. That’s why we’re here—to give her easy solutions, and feel very fashionable.

It’s torrential outside…Is there any rain gear in this collection?
There are a few trench coats! There’s a great classic one that we’ll keep reinventing. It’s water-resistant, but I don’t think you can shower in it for 45 minutes! 

Do you have a new vision for the company now that you’re at the helm of all three brands?
My longterm vision for all three brands is to keep them very differentiated. There will inherently be a little bit of crossover, but if the goal is to really be respectful of what each of these brands truly is, then we can service so many women.

What are you going to do to celebrate tonight?
Sleep! [laughs] This has been a long week! The unglamorous answer is that I’m going to a potluck dinner at my son’s school.

Is there a food dish you’re famous for?
It’s all about a roast chicken for me. It looks great, it smells great, it tastes great, and it’s so easy to do right.

Love the pineapple print you used in skirts and shorts. Tough question: What makes the perfect fruit salad?
Anything tropical. Mango, pineapple, and guava are my favorites!

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