10 Minutes with: Elie Tahari
April 9, 2015
No two pathways to success are the same—a statement that is true when speaking generally about life or building a brand. One designer we look up to in terms of building an iconic fashion brand is Israeli-born, New York-based designer Elie Tahari, who celebrated his label’s 40th anniversary last year. Over the past four decades, Tahari’s inspiration has been a sign of the times, from ’70s dazzling discos and flirty dresses to ’80s tailored suits to today’s “quieter clothing.” It is the opulent fabrics, subtle textures and unforgettable details that have come to define the revered brand. Here, Tahari talks business and women who inspire.
NM: How do you continue to find inspiration season after season?
ET: I believe that clothing, no matter the occasion, should enhance a woman’s natural beauty. My job as a designer is to create great pieces that flatter a woman and make her inner beauty shine through without overpowering her. I try to create timeless signature pieces that my customer can wear forever.
NM: Tell us about the Elie Tahari woman.
ET: I feel she is elegant, sophisticated, independent, and of course, smart!
NM: Best thing about being a designer…
ET: TThe best thing about being a designer is being able to interact with my customers. I love that I can help women look elegant and sophisticated while also making them feel good. I’m on my way to Neiman Marcus in Chicago for a Spring collection fashion show, where I will also help style clients—one of my favorite things to do!
NM: And the most challenging…
ET: The most challenging part is creating timeless pieces that can address the various fashion needs of all my customers. I’m a designer and a merchant. I’ve always known what people are wearing. Anyone can show you clothes; I try to show women what they want.
NM: If you could share a meal with any woman, present or past, who would it be? What would you ask her?
ET: Definitely my daughter. There is nothing more precious to me than time spent with my family. I would ask her to follow her dreams and her heart.
NM: Best business advice received…
ET: Even a kick in the butt is good when you’re facing the right direction!
NM: What has been on your mind this season?
ET: The pieces from my Spring collection. Clothing that looks like it has been weathered and bleached by the sun, worn and tattered by sand and salt, all made with futurist materials including mesh, leather fringe and laser-cut neoprene, which are perfect for Spring.
NM: Which women inspire you? Why?
ET: Real women who are independent and smart.
NM: What have you changed your mind about and why?
ET: I don’t change my mind a lot. Once I set a course I generally tend to stick to the plan. It’s all about being open to new possibilities and the ideas of everyone around you.
NM: What’s next?
ET: I hope to expand our global presence, and I am always excited and passionate about what’s ahead. This Spring I launched an eyewear collection, and in February I launched a new collection called Elie Tahari Sport—so the possibilities are endless.
Meet designer Elie Tahari and view his Fall 2015 collection at NM Michigan Avenue on April 9.