Erin Barr. You’ll remember the name from my coverage of her debut Spring/Summer 2013 collection at New York Fashion Week in September. She was one of my must-watch designers back then, and she still remains at the top of my rankings for Fall/Winter 2013. With a successful presentation months behind her, she’s moved on to bigger and greater things — and to the runway. On Thursday, her Fall 2013 collection took to the catwalk at the Chelsea Piers’ Pier 59 Digital Studios, and I was there to catch it all.
Inspired by nature, the collection featured menswear-inspired pieces with slits and cutouts, as well as an array of soft mossy tones with neutrals and a speckled print. And lots of black. Scattered throughout the lineup were sharp lines and asymmetry, peekaboo cutouts and sheer panels. I fell in love with the cropped leather tops, the shouldered oversized blazers and the tailored satin trousers with slits behind the knees; however, the perfect fate item of the night made its appearance toward the end of the show: The black and white zip-line dress with a sheer panel at the bottom.
Just minutes before the start of her debut runway show, I met up with the Wisconsin-born designer to discuss her Fall 2013 collection, the ERIN BARR woman and her aspirations for the future.
Congratulations on your first runway show. I absolutely loved your presentation last season. How does it feel that transition from presentation to runway, especially at this caliber?
It’s really exciting. It’s a whole new thing but very similar in terms of casting and choosing the girls. It’s going to be really exciting to see the clothes move down the runway and getting to see the whole energy of it come alive. I think it’ll be really fun.
What inspired the move?
Just growth. And I was ready for it. I think it’s good I didn’t jump right into it, for me personally. I think it’s good to slowly get your feet wet. For me, it’s been great!
Tell us a bit about your Fall 2013 collection. What inspired it?
This season is about going back to nature. I spent some time at my parents’ cabin up north in Wisconsin – where I’m from – after the last collection. The last collection was so bold and graphic with the Frank Stella and the Marilyn Monroe. And a little softer with the girly hair and the lips. But this season, I really wanted to dive into the hardness of nature — the textures and the colors. But also combine it with the softness that you naturally find. So this season is also going to be a bit stronger and tougher; the girls are going to be a bit more masculine.
How do you think the ERIN BARR woman has evolved since the last collection?
Yeah, I think she’s getting stronger. Maybe more knowledgeable, in a way. I feel, for me personally, I’ve learned so much now about the industry and how it is having your own company.
So the ERIN BARR woman is sort of taking this journey with you?
Yeah, I think. I got married this summer, so maybe I’m growing up a bit. Evolving.
Do you have a favorite piece?
Yeah, that black and white gown right there. [Pointing to the black and white zip-line dress, shown second to last in the images below.] I just love it.
I love it too! I’m actually just a fan of everything you do.
It’s kind of amazing, yeah!
Going back a few years, you were originally a hair and make-up artist, yeah? What inspired your move into fashion? I know you’ve probably get asked this question a lot.
Yeah, no, it’s fine. I’ve always been so interested in fashion. Ever since I was young, I was looking through magazine editorials. So when I was in the hair and make-up industry, I just found myself wanting more and wanting to go back to school and get my BFA. I’d always wanted to do fashion, so it was a natural progression, I think. And it’s nice I can communicate so easily with the hairdressers. I feel so at ease because I can relay what I like and what I don’t. And they get it. So it’s cool; but they’re easy to work with.
As a former hair and make-up artist, do you have any favorite looks, maybe some you’ll be showing us on the runway?
Yeah, definitely. I don’t love a really girly blown-out fuzz. Yeah, I like a little bit of softness, but yeah, I think that comes through with the hair. I don’t like too much makeup, either.
But you like a bold lip.
Yeah, I’ll play with the bold lip. Or a bold eye and no makeup.
So what type of looks are we going to see on the runway?
You’re going to see a bit more of a glow. Like a natural smoke happening with the eye. It’s sort of a more masculine look. The eyebrows are going to be much stronger.
So since it’s The Aspiring Fashionista: Is there anything you’re aspiring to do over the next few years for ERIN BARR?
Yeah, just to expand globally. We just launched our online shop on our website. So I think really focusing on that and get the brand really moving forward. Getting more stores, making it more accessible.
Shop for ERIN BARR at Brooklyn Fox in New York, Bleu in L.A. and Be-Jewel in Houston.
— Brent Ramsey