Friday, December 10, 2010

Intimate Interview: Arielle Shapiro of ARI DEIN

I fell in love with ARI DEIN's line when I saw it at Journelle's Fashion's Night Out event, and so I was over the moon when Arielle Shapiro, the young directrice of this brand, agreed to an interview. ARI DEIN is luxury lingerie at it's finest, and all the pieces are made right here in NYC. The smallest details make the biggest differences, and Arielle has definitely made sure that her line stands out.
Petit Mort High-Waisted Knickers

Pretty Little Underthings: Your collection is beyond glamorous and has the power to evoke nostalgia for a bygone era most of us never experienced personally. What inspired you to go in this creative direction?
Arielle Shapiro: Thank you Esther!! My grandmother is my personal style icon and grew up in the 1920’s. At first I was really enamored with her fashion sense and especially her classic and eclectic furnishings, but the more I learned about her upbringing the more my inspiration shifted to her father, Ben Dein. He kept his family of eight children afloat through a Great Depression, two World Wars and educated all the boys at Duke and my grandmother at Syracuse. The Dein Fur story is opulent and chic but they were up against a lot during those times. I think it’s incredible what Ben made from nothing- that’s what gave me the confidence to go into business for myself.

PLU: Would you say there is a specific “ARI DEIN woman” who you are designing for? What kind of style and personality traits do you think she has?
Arielle: I have a total ARI DEIN fantasy girl in mind- in winter she’s moody, curling up in her West Village apartment by the fireplace, looping jazz vinyls and downing hot toddies in her lingerie. In summer, she’s refreshed—hanging around the neighborhood in her pajamas, limonata in hand, grabbing peonies at the local grocer. I think of her as being smart, polished well traveled and having great taste—mixing new style with the old. In real life, the collection seems to appeal to a broad range of women with diverse body types and ages. I think the demographic morphs city to city, but I like to think my customers all share an appreciation for quality and timeless fashion.

PLU: What has inspired you the most since you launched your first collection?
Arielle: My inspiration comes from all over the place; fine art, poetry, fairy tales, you name it. But I think what’s been truly amazing to me is just that I was really ambitious and I worked really hard, and it seems like I’m getting out of my career what I put into it. Sure there is much more to learn and achieve, but when you taste the tiniest bit of success and your dreams begin to come true, it is the most inspiring feeling to keep going- how you know you are on the right track.

Boxwood Floral Demi Robe

PLU: What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to launch your line?
Arielle: I had worked in fashion in NY, but after leaving a big company it was news to me where to get things made out of House source fabrics and trims, and all the other aspects of producing in the city. But when there is something I need to learn, I turn into a sponge and just soak up all the information I can get my hands on. In a few months, I had found suppliers, contractors and everything else I needed to start my business. After those details were worked out, everything fell into place.

Also, when you work in a large company you tend to work on one season at a time and then hand it off to another branch for production. Handling my own press, sales, product development, production, etc.—it’s a lot of responsibilities for one person all at once. But I love being involved in every aspect of the company. I think before you can delegate responsibilities to employees you should really make sure you can get the job done first yourself.

PLU: What’s the most exciting moment you’ve experienced so far since you launched ARI DEIN?
Arielle: Probably getting an email from Gossip Girl that they loved the collection and couldn’t wait to use a piece on the show!

PLU: I adore the Boxwood floral demi robe and the Petit Mort high-waisted knickers. What would you say are your top three favorite pieces from your collections?
Arielle: I’m really excited about the pieces that are coming out for SS2011 additions and AW2011—but I can’t tell you about those yet [ed. note: darn!]. Looking back on the first season, that Boxwood Demi Robe is personally what I slip into around the apartment, I think the Boutique Hotel Camisole and Short are really sweet, and I’m really impressed that there are women who are buying the backless Boutique Hotel gown to wear out to events—maybe I should buy stock in NuBra…
Boutique Hotel Chemise (worn by Blair Waldorf on "Gossip Girl")

PLU: I’m so excited to see what you’ll roll out next. What can we expect to see in the near future from ARI DEIN?
Arielle: I’ve been playing around with bralets, knickers and garter belts for SS2011. The palate is really bright and lighthearted. I’m especially excited about the new floral print I’m introducing that I named after my mother, Mona Giardino Rosa. A Spring Preview will go on next month.

PLU: What advice would you give to other aspiring designers?
Arielle: Don’t pay attention to what anyone else is designing. Work hard to find inspiration in unexpected places and be the breath of fresh air the buyers are hunting for. Dream REALLY big and work even harder :)

Thanks Ari!

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  1. Brilliant interview! I love her designs. :)

  2. we LOVE the Ari Dein brand! It really is a standout brand in that Ari's style is easily recognizable and unique.
    xoxx Alison

    PS - thanks for visiting our blog/website!

  3. thanks everyone for your lovely comments! really appreciate it :)

  4. I second that, Esther! It means so much to have the collection appreciated so thank you all very much :)