Spotlight: Whimsical Fashion Label Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet
While the big names of the fashion world continue to produce clothing that graces catwalks, magazines, and on-line articles globally, there’s so many incredible designers out there who are less well-known at street level. Today, we’re going to introduce you to whimsical fashion label Alice + Olivia by designer Stacey Bendet.
Based in New York, clothing company Alice + Olivia was created by Stacey Bendet, a University of Pennsylvania alumna. After an unsuccessful search to find the perfect pants, Stacey began tailoring her own groovy trousers at university. From this, Stacey decided to start a trouser revolution—making trousers “sexy” and the focal point of an outfit. As a result, she created Alice + Olivia’s signature item— the “StaceyPants”, a low-rise, slim fit trouser that creates the illusion of long legs and a sleek silhouette by cutting the hips slim.
In every designer’s dream story, Stacey was spotted on the street wearing her own design—retro, striped, “Mick Jagger” style pants—and boutique owner Lisa Kline ordered 20 pairs for her store right there. After graduating, Stacey’s parents wanted her to work in law, but she followed her passion and launched her first collection in 2002, the amusingly-named “Just Pants”—20 trousers in a range of exciting patterns and bold colours with a strong retro vibe.
By 2004, Alice + Olivia had expanded into menswear, and seasonal wear by 2005. Alice + Olivia quickly developed into a full lifestyle brand, from dresses to accessories, shoes, and bags—all with no outside investment. Stacey’s passion for all things art, music, and culture translate to her fashion, and along with her love of flea markets, this creates the brand’s vintage aesthetic. From metallic pleated maxi skirts to over sized pinstripe trousers, Stacey’s designs embody whimsy and nostalgia.
Many of her designs hark back to bygone eras, from glamorous gowns to bold 70s flower prints, embroidered bell-bottom jeans to romantic lace tops, 90s jackets to peasant blouses, and leather skirts to 80s shoulder pads. She also embraces the modern with the “functional” dressing of her simple black and white Base Collection. Stacey expertly marries feminine with wearable, and having designed for herself, she understands women’s body shapes and how to make women look and feel good.
As a result, Alice + Olivia has swiftly become a favourite of celebrities from Katie Perry to Dakota Fanning, Anne Hathaway to Sienna Miller. From its small beginnings, the brand went global and is now sold in more than 50 countries, yet Alice + Olivia still remains relatively unknown on the street.
As well as being the wife of Eric Eisner, son of the ex-Disney CEO, and a mother, Stacey finds the time to fit in charity work for several children’s foundations and gets up at 4.30 every morning to practice yoga. An inspiring businesswoman for women everywhere, Stacey proves that it’s possible to create a global fashion brand if you have a unique idea, motivation, and passion.