Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue’s fashion director, hosted an intimate dinner last night at Pietro Nolita in NYC to celebrate the launch of the Tome x Saks Fifth Avenue capsule collection with the brand’s designers, Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin. Guests gathered in the kitschy all-pink dining room that, since the eatery’s opening, famously crops up on the Instagrams of fashion personalities. Bloggers Athena Calderone, Cipriani Quann, and TK Wonder, artists Phoebe Collings-James and Mickalene Thomas, actress Michelle Hicks, and models Andreja Pejic, Grace Mahary, and Stav Strashko toasted the debut of the five-piece capsule with pink drinks and light Italian fare.
We caught up with Lobo about what fuels his fast-growing label (it’s hit its five-year mark, if you can believe it), the capsule, and the brand’s longstanding partnership with Saks.
Ryan, why did you and Ramon decide to create this capsule with Saks?
We reached the five year anniversary at Tome, and we started to delve into the archive. We talked to Saks about things customers keep requesting, and eventually talked about putting together a capsule of those favorites. It also speaks to the DNA of what we do. Saks was our first big partner and they’re our only department store in America, so it made sense to ask them for their thoughts on the history of Tome. In a way, they kind of put us on the map.
What was the experience like?
It was nice to revisit the question, What does Tome mean to people? We explored things that speak to the DNA of Tome—easy things to go from work to night, to pick up the kids, whatever it is. Things that are also very “every woman.” That’s really at the heart of what we do.
How do you evolve the brand while staying true to the DNA?
We’re not those designers who do a 180-degree turn every season, so with complete humility I will say it just kind of comes naturally. It’s not our desire to move things in a really new direction—it’s like we’re holding on to what we love, what is tried, true, and tested. We don’t throw muses away, we don’t throw women away, and we don’t throw our Tome girls away. So we like things that move a little slower than perhaps the rest of fashion. How do we keep it moving? By thinking about what’s long-lasting. What means something to people? What can stick around? And what can hang in a person’s closet and actually mean something to them after six months or a year?
How do you and Ramon unify your vision when it comes to design?
It’s kind of an unspoken synchronicity that happens with us that’s very respectful and that challenges us. We’ll say things to each other that are like, “Really? You think that’s a good idea?” And one of us will sit with it and then pretend like it was our own idea. Just like how we had a conversation for almost 15 years before we started the brand. I think if you’re lucky enough to put something into the world that people listen to, you have a responsibility and an obligation to do that with heart, with passion, and with some kind of sophistication. So how do we work together? It’s very equal. We challenge each other but we also try to explore each other’s ideas fully, and I think that’s where the magic happens. It’s an absolute collaboration and a fusion, and really, every piece is for us.
BY CAREY CASSIDY