we love: Couture Chaos
When you are 16, everyone you know is pretty much the same… slouching around in school sweatpants, eating mystery meat at the dining hall (“Korean-style London Broil”), and you don’t generally think much about what glowingly talented people they will become with a couple years experience and some good make-up. This is not true of Ashlie Darrel. I’ll never forget her dance performance to ‘Strange Fruit’ my senior year. It blew me away and I knew that she was off to bigger and better things. Which is why it comes as no surprise that she is one half of the very fabulous Couture Chaos label. We sat down (g-chatted) a little while back and talked a little fashion.
BOAP: When did you realize you wanted to design?
AD: It wasn’t until after college. I started a fashion group on campus and I taught myself how to sew. After graduating, I started working in NY in the industry, and I just wanted to make it “good” in the sense that I wanted to make something chic, but that could benefit others.
BOAP: What do you mean by benefiting others?
AD: I originally wanted to create a woman’s co-op similar to what Carlos Miele does, where women benefit from fair wages and developmental projects. And so would our designs, as they would have an eclectic quality about them. We still want to eventually do that, but for now we are forging partnerships with organizations that provide empowerment programs for young women and girls.
BOAP: Obviously giving back is important to you. What else should we know about you?
AD: I love to travel, and I think a love for tropical climates, culture and people is reflected in our designs.
BOAP: When you design, what is your touchstone? What values do you keep coming back to?
AD: I’m a little conflicted at times… I feel as though I am designing for a very specific customer, but I also want to appeal to most women, especially keeping curvy women in mind. I think its important for me to create wearable garments with unique and intricate detailing. My business partner, Amanda Perna, and I both have warm weather roots so comfort and color are standard and ombre is slowly becoming our trademark.
BOAP: What are you guys working on right now?
AD: We are focused on creating our Spring/Summer line, and it is super girly and fun. We are using pastels, nudes, applique, tulle, you name it. We are always designing, although when people look at our site everything is new to them, but we have been over that line for almost 6 months now!
BOAP: I can appreciate that feeling! What was your favorite piece from that line?
AD: The ombre romper, because at first glance everyone assumes it’s a cocktail dress, but that magic of it is that it’s a romper. The colors are gorgeous and it has the ability to be worn casually with flats if you are heading to an outdoor rooftop party or with killer heels and jewels at a semi-formal dinner. The colors are orgasmic together, its like wearing the sherbert ice cream from your childhood (in the best way possible). We specifically chose to shoot it on a model with a fair complexion to prove that the colors are stunning on EVERYONE. Ahhh so proud of that one!
BOAP: And where can people buy Couture Chaos?
AD: www.couturechaos.com just launched!
BOAP: I’m sure your personal style influences your designs a lot. What is the one piece you can’t live without?
AD: I can’t live without a killer pair of shoes, they can just make every wrong right.
BOAP: Okay, last question: what style/look/trend are you most excited about for Spring?
AD: I am so excited about the comeback of the maxi, but in a chic/Etro-ish way, not that peasant, flip-flop town gown way. I love these silk printed halter dresses that blow in an ocean breeze and make you look regal when you’re just hanging with the girls. They are so luxe!