If there’s anyone who’s ready to get back to business, it’s Planet founder Lauren Grossman. The Florida-based entrepreneur is finally returning to New York City to show her Spring collection at COTERIE at the Javits Center this month. The Daily recently checked in with Grossman to find out what’s new with her lifestyle line and why she’s so eager to reunite IRL again.
We know you must be excited about the return of COTERIE in person!
I sure am! It’s like going on a first date! What should I wear? I think I’ll start dieting! [Laughs]
How long have you been showing here?
Planet has been showing in NYC for the past 22 years. The energy of being in Manhattan and showing the collection was exciting. I put so much effort into the aesthetic of the booth that I got an award. I had curly willows and all elements of the earth to launch Planet. We even brought in sand to launch the Spring collection. We had shells and sand in the booth. It was so beautiful. That was a good buzz for a designer starting out.
How many people from your team are coming to the show?
I bring eight people. It’s a lot, but we are so busy. We don’t want to keep our customers waiting and want to make sure everyone gets attention.
What’s the collection you’ll be showing like?
I’m launching new fabrications in the Spring collection. Last year I did a launch of silk that was lightweight and easy. It can be dressed up or dressed down. My philosophy is it still can be used for the casual weddings that are still prevailing right now. I parlayed that dressy feeling and did a dusty aqua blue color. It has a nice drape and flow. You can put it on with sneakers or combat boots and make it street chic. The colors are elements of the earth. I did white, sand, and nile, which is a dusty aqua blue. It’s a feel-good color.
How does it feel to have people wear your collection at weddings?
It’s heartwarming. A lot of our customers have been with me for many years. They share pictures of their family, and now they’re the mother or grandmother of the bride. Since I know them, I know what colors they like and I can make suggestions about jewelry or what heels go with it.
Our spa T-shirt classification is up 30 percent, and we’re maximizing the opportunity. We are expanding the category, and we’re excited to introduce a whole lot of newness! We’re up 25 percent from 2019 from our spa collection. These are pima cotton T-shirts that are lightweight and the most luxurious cotton on the planet. We added a bunch of new T-shirts and some cool graphics. I’m excited about that!
Your website, shopplanetbylaureng.com, is looking great!
It was launched during COVID. We have places where we never had representation before and people can find us. It also helps our boutique stores because the brand is more branded. They go into the boutique and they saw it online. Other stores can’t carry every piece or color, but they can go through the website. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Why do you think you prevailed during the pandemic?
My fabrication went from what we used to call travel clothes to couch couture. Career women were wearing our looks because they don’t wrinkle; they’re machine washable, and they’re great for Zoom meetings. Women still like fashion and love high-quality fabric, and the pieces last for years.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I watch fashion shows every evening on my phone while my husband and I are watching TV. I love esoteric and up-and-coming designers. I always wonder who they. are and how old they are. I love following German and Japanese designers. I also look at couture designers like Lanvin, Givenchy, Yohji Yamamoto. I draw from their inspiration and create my collection to fit everyday women rather than runway.
If you could turn back time, would you have wanted to work at a house like Givenchy?
When I first started out of college, I was in a training program at Burdines, where I learned how to become a buyer and merchant. I did that for a couple of years, but it was a bureaucracy and they took away your creativity. I was the first one promoted in my class and after my promotion I went to the vice president and I resigned. He asked me why I resigned and I said, “I should buy for the designer department!”
And the rest is history!
Exactly. You don’t put baby in a corner.
Ha! You haven’t been to New York since the last COTERIE show.
I haven’t and I can’t wait! I have friends who live in the city and they say it’s different now. I’ll let you know once I get there. I’m coming to the city early to do some shopping and hit the streets.
What do you have planned?
I’m going to meet my girlfriend who I’ve known since I was 16 for dinner one night. I’m going to Soho, dinners, I have a friend who is in the Hamptons and he’s going to drive in to see me. I haven’t seen him in 18 months. He’s like a brother to me! We usually do holidays together. All of that is a renewed feeling of normalcy. I’m grateful. Any favorite restaurants you love when you’re in town? You’re gonna laugh, but in my [Fashion District] neighborhood, there’s a restaurant I love called Chef Yu. It’s a Chinese joint. I love Chinese food, and we don’t have it in Florida and my husband doesn’t eat it. When I get out there, I hold my first staff meeting there. We order up everything, and the things we like, we order twice! I can’t wait!