Nothing says luxe like leather, and nobody does leather like West 14th. Inspired by New York and designed in Sydney, fashion label West 14th focuses creating beautiful leather clothing that combines urban attitude with head-turning elegance. Couturing had the opportunity to interview Violeta Tentomas, West 14th‘s founder and designer, to discover the story behind the brand, and what inspired the dreamy new SS15 collection, Allure.
The inspiration for West 14th came to you when you were in New York… What was it exactly that struck such a chord with you?
I was brought up in the tri-state area so NYC was my playground leading into my professional life. For me it’s the pace of the city, the grandness and the grittiness that I love! My life in NYC became more electrified and special after moving to Sydney. It was so pleasing to hear the enthusiasm Australians share for NY especially within the fashion industry. It was a natural choice to have New York as my muse and play the biggest character in the brand’s story. It’s a place that evokes joy, freedom and self-discovery. I am continuously inspired and drawn to this city. And any piece of the collection can easily be placed on any street in NYC!
Who is the ‘West 14th’ woman?
The West 14th woman is me. It’s you. It’s my mum! She is a confident, smart woman who appreciates style and quality. At heart she’s an adventurer, curious and wants to explore. What I love about our brand is it can be worn by the cool-girls during fashion week to a powerhouse CEO to dinner with her husband to stylish mums on school pickup. She’s at an age that life is good and can afford an everyday luxury like leather.
Your designs make use of the most gorgeous leathers. Why is leather your fabric of choice?
I am an investment shopper and feel many consumers want to buy hero pieces to have for years. From my perspective leather offers this investment. It’s a textile that with ‘years’ and ‘wear’ reveals it’s true character. A leather piece is a considered purchase. I love the idea of a potential West 14th customer bringing her girlfriends in to a boutique to retry one of our pieces for supportive opinions. For me it’s about the journey to a West 14th piece, then our leather piece acts as a vehicle for the wearer to make their own stories.
Tell me about your new SS15 collection, Allure. What was the mood and inspiration behind it?
A trip to Paris inspired this season’s story. The subtle seduction of French woman, the mystique of Paris’s narrow streets and the indulgent pastries laid the foundations to our spring collection, ALLURE. We approached the designing of this collection with a motive to dress like a Parisian woman. We wanted to reflect the elegant style Parisian women are renowned for by creating wardrobe stapes with a contemporary edge.
A major inspiration for collection is the indulgent macaron experience. We played with the heavenly weightlessness, perfectly round sugary frenzy that is the macaron. We literally interpreted the shape in cutouts on tee shirts and repeat circle punch hole details on dress trims. The crispness of a macaron translates into lightweight leathers and flirty ostrich feathers. The colour palette is a nod to the gelato shades, bon bon pinks and blueberry treats that lure you into Ladurée. They are described as macaron flavours like lavender, salted caramel, hazelnut, blueberry and champagne. We tried to blend the city of love’s whimsical and flirty references into West 14th’s signature urban-chic styling for this collection.
What is your favourite piece from the new collection?
Just one piece… too hard! The Yve Dress – I love the luxurious silk mixed with the flirty ostrich feathers in this perfect blueberry shade. My second pick is The Greenwich Motor Jacket in hazelnut bubble leather – it’s divine!
What are your tips for styling leather pieces in summer?
For the warmer months it’s all about selecting lightweight leathers in breathable shapes. I have a few leather styles that are in full wardrobe rotation to see me through the summer months. One of these pieces is The Americano Skirt. I wear this piece with strappy sandals and an oversized boyfriend shirt. I live in leather shorts in summer! They work back with lightweight summer tanks by day and flowy silk tops by night. My final summer piece is The Bedford Tank. It’s perfect with silk shorts or with ripped denim. It’s the only desk to dinner piece for the warmer months!
What can we hope to see from West 14th in the near future?
We have been secretly working on a new winter collection. The sales team are currently presenting to buyers before it arrives to stores in March 2015. The brands direction and mood is evolving and the curiosity to be nomadic is explored. Keep an eye out for the new campaign- it’s one of our bests! We are also focusing on our Luxe Basics pieces too. I keep coming back to a short list of basic pieces that anchor my wardrobe. So we are finally giving them the air-time they deserve.
What else… there is always something on the go, so stay tuned!
For more information and to shop online, please visit www.west14th.com