Written by Lais Lacher. Photographs provided by Erin Barr.
INTERVIEW WITH ERIN BARR
Erin Barr’s first fashion week presentation took place on September 7th at Drive-in Studios in Manhattan. The presentation transported the viewer back to Mid-Century America as the models lounged in a room with furniture, books, and records from the era. Inspired by artist Frank Stella, the collection of 15 looks had a minimalist theme with only three colors, geometric cut outs and horizontal striped prints. Her other inspiration, Marilyn Monroe was seen in the sexiness of the looks from the sheerness of the fabrics to the bold red color. Although inspired by two retro artists, the clothes had a thoroughly modern look.
I spoke with Erin Barr prior to her presentation, and the collection turned out to be a perfect reflection of the sophisticated and classy designer.
Tell us about yourself and your line.
I am originally from Wisconsin, but I came to New York City nine years ago. I lived here and worked in the hair and makeup industry for a while, but I felt like I wanted to do more creatively and on a bigger scale. So I decided to go to school for fashion design and got my bachelor of fine arts. After that, I did a few internships, worked for a while, and then started my own company. This is now our third season.
With my line there is a little bit of an edge, but there is still this softness. I like to mix it because we all like to be girly, but then a little bit of a tomboy too. We want to be comfortable, but then some days you want to dress up and you want to be elegant.
What inspired your Spring/Summer 2013 collection.
This collection was inspired by the idea of two iconic figures throughout history: Frank Stella, who is a famous painter, and Marilyn Monroe. The idea is Frank and Marilyn meet and make a baby and it’s this collection. It is taking something a bit more graphic and combining it with Marilyn’s softer curvy silhouette. There are a couple of pieces you will see that are a little bit more elegant, but they still have that hard edge. We played around with the print this season, which was a new adventure for me. It came out great with the two very different famous figures combined. I think it is going to be a strong and impactful show.
What is it like showing during Fashion Week?
It has been exciting. This is my 3rd season, but the first time showing during fashion week. Last season we did a look book. So this season showing now and being part of the fashion chaos has been fun.
What is your general design philosophy when designing clothes?
I like to keep it toned down. I have a tendency to start playing with clean, strong shapes, and then I like to keep pushing them more and more. You will definitely see, throughout all of the seasons, the button down shirt. We take that silhouette each season and manipulate it with fabric, sheerness, a placket, cutouts or slits. I like cutouts and slits. There are a few staples that are kept consistent and then every season we will have a little wow factor too.
What inspires you to start this career and what continues to inspire you?
I have always had a lot of strong women in my life. My mother is an entrepreneur, and my aunt and grandmother were always go-getters, so I have always had that kind of influence. Also, working for really strong females such as Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie and Ochs. They are also great mentors. Just really being inspired and thinking, “I can do this.” I have a vision and always wanted to do it. But mostly I have been inspired by the women in my life.
Where can we buy your collection?
We are right now selling at Chezelle in North Carolina, La Privee in Jakarta, and Bejewel in Houston where you can get all of the embroidery pieces. All of the fall collection is in Chezelle now.
+ VIEW BACKSTAGE PHOTOS AND READ THE INTERVIEW WITH THE HEAD MAKEUP ARTIST