Fashion Week Frenzy: Elise Overland’s Warrior Princesses

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overland.jpgWelcome back to our coverage of New York’s Fall Fashion Week where we’re recapping all the craziness in Manhattan surrounding the season’s style shows. Mary Alice Stephenson, America’s Most Smartest Model host and Harper’s Bazaar contributing fashion editor, gives us the lowdown on the hottest designers. In today’s installment, we meet Elise Overland, one of the winners of the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award, an honor given out to emerging designers. Overland’s known for her rocker-ish taste — she’s made clothes for stars like the Smashing Pumpkins — but her show this time was a tad more sophisticated than it was stage-ready. It had plenty of attitude, though, as did its designer, whose personal style we’ve always thought of as being very Red Sonja meets Clan of the Cave Bear. Overland is striking, and so are her clothes. She attracted some well-known types to celebrate with her, including model/musician Irina Lazareanu, artist Hope Atherton and first daughter Barbara Bush. More after the jump.

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February 1, 2008
Designer: Elise Overland
The look: Motorcycle queen gets married; help me find my trapeze and I’ll swing us both home; which way to the flapper ball?
Celebrities: Irina Lazareanu, Hope Atherton, Barbara Bush, Genevieve Jones, Margherita Missoni, Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl)

Mary Alice Stephenson interviews Elise Overland:

Mary Alice Stephenson: I wanted to ask you about music. VH1 is all about the music, and I know that you’ve designed amazing outfits for the Smashing Pumpkins, the White Stripes and a lot of other bands. Tell us who you’ve worked who has really inspired you.
Elise Overland: The closest, I think, was Steven Tyler. He found me when I was still in school. He helped me along the way, and we had a very strong collaboration for many years. He inspired me and I think I helped him a little, too.

MAS: Why did you decide to start designing for mainstream America?
EO:
I think I just needed a change. Designing for one person is like making a painting — at the end, there is only one. I wanted to make a big picture, and then turn that into a business.

MAS: What was your inspiration for this collection?
EO: My inspiration is myself. How I live my life contributes to what I want to wear, and whatever suits my lifestyle is what comes out. It never changes. It’s not like I watch a science-fiction movie and then decide to make science-fiction clothes.

Mary Alice Stephenson interviews Irina Lazareanu:irinalazareanu.jpg

MAS: Why are you here supporting Elise?
Irina Lazareanu:
There’s a whole new broad swath of designers coming out of New York. For so long we had the Marc Jacobs and the Michael Kors and the Donnas and the Oscars, but now you’re seeing a whole new group of designers breaking through. It’s important to be here and support those people.

MAS: I know you’re a singer and a musician. Who are some of your modern-day influences, playing now, who have great style?
IL:
I always go back to the old references. I was fortunate enough to work with Patti Smith on my album. She’s amazing. Today in music, I find that the groundbreaking artists are similar to those in the past — they’re saying the same sorts of things, just in a different way. People like Cat Power — she’s such an inspiration to me — and a lot of English bands have given me fresh perspective. The Arcade Fire’s new album is incredible. And there’s a new band called the Baby Elephants. There’s a lot going on. It feels like every kid these days is picking up a guitar. Thank god.