Fashion designer


The people in my life - my friends and family. They all have so much to teach and I can learn so much from them.

Career advice:

Get any experience you can. Be kind and respectful. If you don't try, you'll never know. I learned so much throughout my time as an intern and I loved it. I always say that I would go back to being an intern because you get to do so many different things and soak up so much knowledge.

Career tipping point:

Hopefully I am still working towards it. Each day brings its own form of fulfilment, and just being able to work towards your creative vision is indeed gratifying.

Rosie Assoulin's fluid, romantic yet modern creations can be seen anywhere from the red carpet to the hottest brunch joint in SoHo.

The New York-based fashion designer only launched her eponymous label in late 2012, and made her debut with her Resort 2014 in Paris, which won last year's Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Swarovski Award for Womenswear.

"This may sound funny," says Assoulin, recalling the moment before she was announced the winner. "But as the presenters came on stage I was just repeating to myself please don't call my name over and over again. I was so intimidated about speaking in front of all of these mega-amazing designers."

Winning the award, Brooklyn native Assoulin says, was a humbling experience. "There are so many talented people to speak to and learn from and to be in the company of these truly innovative individuals is absolutely crazy to me."

While Assoulin was saluted at the CFDA award ceremony by a stellar audience including fellow winners such as the Olsen sisters of The Row, and Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, she has always been in good company with some of the industry's most respected designers. Her mother-in-law, veteran jeweller Roxanne Assoulin of Lee Angel, has been a mentor from early on. After studying at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, Assoulin apprenticed under the king of eveningwear Oscar de la Renta before relocating to Paris for a short stint at the atelier of Lanvin.

"To trust my gut is one of the most important lessons that I learned through my internships," Assoulin says. "Watching Mr de la Renta and Alber Elbaz [former creative director of Lanvin] create their collections, I saw that they never let their creative vision stray. Sure, they listened to their teams and took opinions seriously, but if they felt strongly about something they wouldn't budge and I've always truly respected that."

Assoulin's unique approach to formal wear - think billowy silhouettes, off-shoulder and asymmetrical cuts mixed with romantic ruffles and elegant elongated sleeves - was an instant hit. "It" girls such as Karlie Kloss and Leandra Medine of Man Repeller have been spotted in Assoulin's effortless chic creations.

"I think [my approach] comes from being a fan of design and fashion from all different time periods," says Assoulin. "I love looking for modern ways to bring some of my favourite things from the past into the present."

The young designer showed her latest spring/summer collection in the swimming pool of the School of the Visual Arts which counts prestigious alumni such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The venue set a perfect background for the spring/summer collection which updates slouchy flared pants in a rainbow of summer hues and paired with reconstructed shirts and bikini tops. Sculpted silhouettes are, however, edited for minimalistic aesthetics - elegant and clean. Every piece in the collection was made in New York.

"The vision was really to take summer classics and incorporate unique elements like trompe l'oeil effect on bikini motifs, silhouettes in mermaid mesh and Swarovski crystals," Assoulin says. "We wanted to find a way to take leisure to the street and the street into the world of formal dressing."

Looking back, Assoulin says launching her business was a big challenge for her.

"We launched the resort collection first because it's usually quieter compared to the other fashion weeks and the clothes are on the floor longer so it was a good way to introduce ourselves to the customers," she says. "It's all been a challenge running my own business. Putting ourselves out there, being vulnerable and open-hearted and sharing our vision was not easy."

Winning the CFDA award is just the beginning for Assoulin.

"Hopefully we are still working towards the tipping point of my career," she says. "Each day brings its own form of fulfilment, and being able to work towards your creative vision is gratifying."

Assoulin's designs have landed at various prestigious retailers including Bergdorf Goodman in New York, L' Eclaireur in Paris as well as Symphony in Dubai. Her made-to-measure bridal collection is available in Hong Kong at Lane Crawford.