Kule collection launch

Nikki Kule portrait by Marko MacPherson for Keep it Chic

KiC recently caught up with one of our first Style Setters, Nikki Kule. Last summer I was thinking about a kid’s cashmere fisherman-knit sweater that Nikki had designed a few years ago.  I asked her if, by any chance, she had one left over. “You’re in luck!” she replied and proceeded to tell me about the Kule women’s line she had set to debut this fall.

So, with KiC photo team in tow, we stopped by her uber chic (70’s mixed with antiques) apartment to preview the premier Kule collection. You have to remember, despite being an Upper East Side mother of two and head designer of Brooks Brothers’ children’s line, Nikki is super cool and relaxed with boho-meets-prep style. The eponymous collection captures its “preppy luxe” tagline to a T, with perfectly cut grey wool trousers, tailored jackets that are “just so”, sleeveless sweaters, Breton striped tops, and a bunch of great accessories. The entire line, plus some hand-picked “essentials” from MiH, Woolrich, Black Fleece and others, are available on her Kule website.

And yes, there is the most divine cashmere fisherman-knit sweater in her new collection!

You have been successful at designing children’s clothes, what made you want to re-launch Kule as a women’s line?  I have been so lucky to have customers who have been so incredibly supportive over the years and willing to share directly with me what they want and what they are looking for. So many of them asked me to make the kids clothes in their sizes. Also, many of them would wear the kids clothes themselves. I made a couple of capsule collections for women years ago and they did very well.  As soon as my kids grew out of the kids clothes I decided it was time to do something that was pure me.

Who is the Kule customer?  She definitely has style and wants to always look great but she does so in the most effortless way. I want my customers to always feel comfortable but cool and modern at the same time.

You describe Kule as being Preppy Luxe. What is your inspiration for the line?  I love everything that is classic and timeless.  But even with the most iconic styles, fashion is never finished.  I am inspired to reinterpret them in the most luxurious fabrics with a modern take. This season I found inspiration in the Scottish Aran knit sweater, the stripe boat neck tee and an old vintage Fair Isle sweater.  I made them in super luxe cashmere with a sleeker fit to bring the classics to this decade. The preppy look is what I grew up with and what I aspired to wear as a teenager. I was always influenced by the New England aesthetic– the collegiate look from movies like The Graduate and Love Story and stores like LL Bean and Brooks Brothers.

Kule essentials:  Everything I design is meant to be timeless and classic.  That is the definition of an icon and the essence of the Kule brand.  I want my customer to feel that each piece is an investment that they can wear for a long time. I plan to have my basic items, like the cashmere sweaters, always available.

Your fall essentials:  Fall essentials aren’t so much about the items as what I am doing.  For example, I love taking walks in Central Park with my kids on the weekend.  That to me is a ‘fall essential.’ As for clothes, I will be wearing my Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Macintosh bowler bag and Mih oversized white shirt with a Kule Scottie ivory sweater and a Woolrich down coat.

Coming next season:  This was a very small collection that will be sold mainly online.  Next season the collection will include more handbags and I am currently working on shoes. Mostly, I have been working on sourcing globally to expand Kule’s design capabilities and to insure a truly unique look to each piece.

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what's new

BLAZÉ MILANO

High Kingdom Everyday checked blazer

PRADA

Leather-trimmed checked trench coat

APIECE APART

Ruffle-trimmed neck cotton blouse

GIANVITO ROSSI

Katie suede sock bootie

PRADA

Belted wool coat

SAINT LAURENT

loulou leather over-the-knee boots

BALENCIAGA

Suede Crooked-Heel ankle boot

BALENCIAGA

Everyday tote small leather bag

BRUNELLO CUCINELLI

Padded velvet jacket

LOEWE

Roll-neck argyle-sleeved sweater

GANNI

Ridgewood corduroy trousers

PRADA

Point-toe slingback kitten-heel pumps

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Rooms

Frond Memories

Beverly Hills Hotel

First the Ritz Paris, and now the Beverly Hills Hotel is up for a make-over. Sadly, I did not get a chance to check into the Ritz before they closed for two years this past summer. Another great, The Hotel Bel-Air, has finally reopened after a multi-year re-do. I stayed at the Bel-Air often when I was little and I hear the recent updates erased a bit of its charm.

At the risk of sounding like a stick-in-the-mud, I am not loving all the renovations of my favorite hotels. We stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel when visiting my husband’s family, and breakfast in the Fountain Room above before claiming a spot by the pool, is a tradition.  I know first hand that it could hit the refresh button (especially after the hideous changes from the 1980’s), but I am relieved to hear that the palm frond wallpaper is protected and the curved counter is not going to be touched. Phew.

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Shark Attack

Snakes, Rottweilers and sharks– the creatures of fall fashion. I am not a fan of snarling dog or gaped-mouth shark printed tees (no “funny” sayings either, I don’t wear irony), but shark-tooth inspired necklaces and accessories closures, have certainly caught my eye. I am considering a brass, single shark tooth by Jennifer Fisher to mix in with my pendants, and the Givenchy shark lock pieces and 3.1 Phillip Lim shark-textured bags are also really good.

Congratulations Kristina!

Kristina O'Neill

My dear friend and early KiC Style Setter, Kristina O’Neill, has been named editor of the WSJ. magazine. After 12 years at Harper’s Bazaar, currently the executive editor and the editor-in-chief of Bazaar’s Runway Report magazine, Kristina will head to the WSJ at the end of this month.

Smart, hard-working, crazy funny, and completely down-to-earth, Kristina is like a little sister to me, and I am extremely proud of her.  But I am not surprised in the least. When I was at Bazaar, Hearst asked me to evaluate Kristina and all I said was, “make her an editor-in-chief.” End. Stop.

The WSJ. magazine is a KiC favorite, and I know Kristina will make it even more of a must-read.

Ageless Beauty

Vogue Paris just released a sneak peek of their November issue cover. Daria Werbowy, Stephanie Seymour and Lauren Hutton are the faces of beauty at every age. The trio, shot by Inez and Vinoodh in classic white button-downs and faded jeans (1990’s Peter Linbergh?), look modern and truly beautiful.

Am I a suit woman?

Having never worked in a traditional business environment, I am not hardwired to wear a suit. When I was at Vogue, Grace Coddington wore perfectly tailored suits to evening events and always looked polished and pulled-together. But, we rarely wore them to the office and now that I think about it, I don’t think I have ever owned one. Blazers, yes, and matching tops and bottoms, but not a finely tailored, menswear inspired jacket and pant. If I ever wanted to try one, now is the time.

This weekend the WSJ ran a round-up of some of the season’s best trouser suits. My favorite, and the one I have my heart set on, is from the recent Dior spring show. Raf Simons, in his debut RTW collection for Dior, opened the show with a trio of drop-dead gorgeous suits. But I also love one from the Theyskens’ Theory resort show and will try it first as it will be in stores early December.  I will let you know if a pant-suit suits me.

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Tailgating

Bulleit Woody Tailgate Trailer from Neiman Marcus

The perfect fall weekend- apple and pumpkin picking, cider donuts, chunky sweaters and football. And the best part of football? Tailgating!

The Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue arrived yesterday (Christmas?) and this Bulleit Woody tailgate trailer won the prize (second place, a $100,000. chicken coop). And if I use my Neiman’s card, I can get triple points. At $150,000., that’s a lot of points.

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Copy cat

Photo © TOMBOY style.com by Lizzie Garrett

You know when you hear about something a number of times from different sources and it starts to stick in your head? This happened to me recently, and the “something” is a pair of Tretorn sneakers. The plain, white on white, all-canvas style. But, let me back up first.

It really started with my Superga sneakers that are sadly, not very comfortable. I think they are too narrow and I can no longer justify bandaids just so I can wear them. The retro, European styling is what got me to try the Superga, but in the end, comfort trumped looks and they have been shelved. When I started to look for new sneakers (I am not talking marathon-worthy or super tricked-out athletic) I realized that I still want a pair to wear running around doing errands in lieu of ballet flats or loafers.

The classic Tretorn has been on my radar to re-try. I grew up in Boston and they were the de rigueur shoe of my childhood. So, when KiC L.A. photographer, Agnes Baddoo, emailed me the above post from one of our favorite blogs, Tomboy Style by Lizzie Garrett, I knew it was a sign.  I may even copy Lizzie on the cool laces.

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Looks

Easy and timeless run-around pieces

I have not bought a cocktail dress or evening-specific item since I-don’t-know-when. Daywear is my priority and that’s what I spend my money on. I buy three-season investment pieces that are somewhat classic. Perfect example, the cashmere poncho, above, which I will wear all year long (even over shorts and a tee on a cool summer evening). Ditto the perfect skinny jeans and cute flats.

Jeans, Current/Elliott; Earrings, Monica Vinader; Poncho, Inhabit; Tote, Sophie Hulme; Flats, Givenchy; Bracelet, Givenchy.

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Ring me up

Photo © the NYT’s

It’s no secret that I am a ring stacker. So, when I saw these on the Balenciaga runway last week, I flipped. They are sold as a set per finger; I will take five please.

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