MYO’s Chris Lohman recently met with Lisa Vogel, creative director of LUXE by Lisa Vogel, to discuss her recent recognition as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Presents designer of the year, her crazy travel life, and all things swim.
Chris Lohman: It’s great to be able to sit down with you. I know you’ve been travelling to the east coast quite a bit for work; and also trying your best to take a few days in between to spend time with your family in Newport Beach. How was the swim circuit this year?
Lisa Vogel: For us travel season gets started with design inspiration trips starting in November and culminates with our annual trip to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in July. We have a few trips to NYC after that to plan the season with editors and buyers. Lots of time spent on planes! But truthfully, I do enjoy many of our trips, especially when they don’t involve 24 hour turnarounds and red-eyes.
CL: Are you still buzzing from all the excitement surrounding Fashion Week (Swim)?
LV: The whole experience was a whirlwind. Being named “Mercedes-Benz Presents” 2012 Designer of the Year was great for our brand – a dream of mine since we launched the line four years ago. I’m glad we took lots of pictures and video, and that the media covered it to the degree that it did. Miami this year (versus traditional years) reminded me of my wedding day: the buildup is nerve wracking and stressful, the day itself flies by so fast you barely get to sit down, let alone take a deep sigh, and then the aftermath is all about piecing back together the highlights. We were all truly honored with the selection.
CL: The show and your collection were huge hits.
LV: I’m so pleased. Cliché or no cliché, it was without question a HUGE team effort. Our staff is amazing.
CL: Well congrats. What inspired your 2012 collection?
LV: Inspiration comes from my daily life. For example, my recent travel – for work and for fun – along with researching home furnishings and interior design for our new home led to us featuring feather skin motifs & Italian Lucite hardware together as a single look. The intersection of nature and luxury.
CL: Any favorite pieces?
LV: That’s like asking me who of my two sons I love the most. I love each piece the same… and my boys the same too (with a smile).
CL: How soon will you start working on the 2013 collection?
LV: We’re lucky that we design and manufacture in the US, right here in Orange County. We’re able to start working on our new line later in the year than most other swimwear designers. The extra time allows us to see how our current line is selling in stores and make sure we area covering the key trends are for the upcoming season.
CL: When did you first “know” that you were going to create a swimwear line?
LV: I know this is going to sound a little silly – and possibly give away every woman’s golden secret of how old I am – but I remember being eight, sitting poolside on the rooftop of a Monte Carlo hotel and Donna Summer walked in with her own ghetto blaster blaring. She walked by me and said “cute suit.” I remember thinking to myself, “well I can’t sing, but I agree this suit is cute.” So from that day on I wanted to create my own swimwear line. And growing up in a family owned a swimwear usiness definitely put it in my blood. Being around the business and seeing all of the new pieces come out, I always had an opinion of what I liked when I saw it, even at a young age.
CL: When you aren’t focused on LUXE, what do you like to do?
LV: Travel - The kind where I get to go relax somewhere exotic and enjoy some downtime with my family. Exercising too. I think it’s a must to help with finding a balance. Recently I’ve picked up SUP (stand up paddle boarding). It’s popular in Orange County, and I keep seeing and reading where it’s popping up everywhere there is water. I’m hooked.
CL: If you had to pick one fashion line as your favorite, which one?
LV: THat's easy, Chanel. The line continues to be fabulous. Understated elegance. Also, I recently had a chance to visit Coco Chanel's apartment in Paris. It was surreal and beautiful and the visit inspired me to spend time researching her story. I just love how she became a huge factor in what was then a predominately male-only fashion world.
CL: You're a bit of a gadget fiend. What piece of technology could you not live without?
LV: My iPhone. My 4-yr old son Charlie is always skyping me. I'll be in the middle of a meeting and he'll call. It's so great to be able to see him throughout the day. For this reason only, I love my phone.
CL: Heels or sandals?
LV: No easy answer. I always start with the swim look and then accessorize from there. Thank god for big closets!
CL: Well this has been very insightful, thanks Lisa. One last question before I let you go. If you could only use three words to describe the future direction of your line, what would they be?
LV: Innovation, Convertibility, Organic Luxury. Ok, that's four words, sorry!
Eat well and stay fabulous!