Although I am in every sense a New Yorker, born, raised and educated in Manhattan, I love to travel away from the city. I am grateful that my career in fashion has led me all around the world, and eventually to Hong Kong; This is where I discovered the remarkable trove of vintage brocades from a mill owned by a 90 year old man, an extraordinary craftsman.
This treasured trove, and the remnants I acquired when the man retired, eventually inspired my business, which I call KOTUR, my maiden name.
The first collection in 2004- a kind of retro glamour combined with various exotic elements in a limited edition of brocade clutches- to my surprise, was picked up immediately by the world’s most prestigious retailers, Bergdorf Goodman and Scoop in New York, Browns in London, and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong.
I grew up in a household in which art, design and creativity were revered. My mother is a painter, a wonderful fashion illustrator, and a noted interior decorator based in Manhattan, and she is incredibly chic in her own right. She kindly lends her talent to our seasonal collection illustrations. My sister has been a magazine editor throughout her career, spending 15 years at Vogue, and is now Creative Director at Town & Country.
My love affair with accessories was sparked by my mother’s almost ceremonial way of taking care of her shoes, jewelry and bags, even illustrating the tags on each box to show what was inside.
I graduated from Wellesley College and studied at Yale, and Parsons School of Design. My first job was with Ralph Lauren overseeing product design of handbags and other accessories, from there I went on to work for the Gap Inc. My career has offered a multitude of opportunities, but my time co-founding Tory Burch gave me a reason to explore so many exciting, off-the-beaten path sources in Asia, and which eventually lead me to where I am now.
With four gorgeous and very active sons, I often joke that my handbags are like my daughters. After ten years of living between New York and Hong Kong, raising a family with my husband, and trying to grow a business, my thoughts turn to Nora Ephron’s wise words: “Two paths diverge in a wood, and we get to take them both”. For that opportunity I am grateful.
Born in England, her professional background began as a fashion designer working in Paris for Christian Dior. This evolved into a career as a fashion illustrator, a very successful artist working in New York for magazines and retailers back in the day when fashion illustration was still very much in demand. Her work was much sought after and as busy as she was it allowed my mother flexible hours while my sister and I were young. Later, she launched an interior design business that she runs today.
I always loved my mother’s drawings, and I am delighted she is lending her style, her creativity and her chic as the visual voice of KOTUR. Who knows? As a friend said to my mother at a baby shower for my sister not long ago, in this era of redefining luxury maybe fashion illustration is coming back.
“It is back,” my mother responded, and laughed. But of course she wasn’t kidding.