Ok so I may be a seasoned fashion professional but there are certain items in my wardrobe that I would consider the holy grail of fashion. Top of the list is the perfect silk shirt – I’m always on the lookout for styles that fit well but that also have cool fashion details that take it from boring to chic.
Coming to my rescue is the newly launched Vaughan. Founded by Hong Kong based fashionista Lindsay Narain, Vaughan tags itself as a specialist in classic silk shirts. Meant to be worn slightly oversized and made from a lightweight silk, the best thing about the shirts are the details. The Holiday 2012 collection for example features 10 must-have colours such as red, orange and bottle green and embellished styles decorated with diamond collars (trend alert!) and lace trims. Prices are reasonable (US$125 to US$180) and customers have the option of monogramming any style. Oh and did I mention each shirt is embroidered with a cute bumblebee motif?
Interestingly, Lindsay has decided to launch the brand exclusively online for the time being, although there are plans to organise trunk shows in the future. Read our exclusive interview with her to find out more…
You come from a media/online background – what inspired you to go into fashion?
I found myself visiting tailors in search of the perfect shirt and I thought that other women must be doing the same. I’m lucky to be in a region that’s famous for both silk and tailoring so it seemed natural.
Why the obsession with shirts?
It probably has something to do with my Catholic school days. For me, shirts are so easy to wear – they’re like a uniform. I find myself wearing them again and again in many different settings from casual lunches to cocktail parties. It’s also really easy to switch up the look by playing with buttoning/unbuttoning the neck, rolling up the sleeves, wearing it untucked as a tunic or tucking it into skirts or trousers.
What makes Vaughan different from other brands?
I started Vaughan because I couldn’t find a consistently great fitting shirt. I also love the idea of cocktail blouses…a little extra embellishment to make the shirt more formal which is, again, hard to find from season to season.
I use 18mm sandwashed silk crêpe de Chine, so it’s high quality and drapes beautifully. All of my silks are custom dyed for Vaughan so you won’t find the same colour anywhere. You can also personalise your shirt with a monogram, logo or small image.
I’ve also tried to price the shirts really well so women can buy a couple of colours every season without breaking the bank.
Who inspires you?
My grandmother was my earliest inspiration. That woman wore a white shirt every day of her life! Cotton during the summer, tuxedo for evening… you name it.
I named all of my shirts after Katharine Hepburn movies. There’s one photo of her I just love… she’s wearing a shirt and wide trousers and looks so fierce. She was very unconventional for her time; she did (and dressed) exactly as she pleased. I love strong women.
Working with just one product can be challenging. How do you come up with new ideas?
I think it’s important to be open-minded and observant. I find myself being inspired in the most surprising places… a neckline from Downton Abby, a girl sitting across from me on the train, it’s just a matter of taking the time to look.
For now, I’d like to stick to silk shirts. I’ll be adding more for spring/summer but still styles that will work from day to night. I’d rather focus in one area and do it really well.
What is your favourite style from the collection?
The Glass Menagerie Shirt in white. It’s classic with just a splash of crystals on the collar to add a bit of interest. It looks great buttoned up with a pair of wide trousers. For evening, I would pair it with a great skirt or leather leggings.
If you had to describe Vaughan shirts in one sentence what would it be?
The most versatile item in your closet.
If I could design for one brand it would be…
I don’t know that I would. Maybe Pantone… awash in colour, picking the shade of the year.
Check out Vaughan’s collection at www.wearvaughan.com. Free shipping is available worldwide until January 2013.