October 19, 2011

An Interview with Designer Lynne Hiriak

Lynne Hiriak is the designer of CARDIGAN by Lynne Hiriak, a singular knitwear concept dedicated to cardigans.

Lynne's passion for cardigans is clear: her personal collection of cardigans hovers at around 200 pieces!!

Lynne talks about her fall fashion must-haves, her design inspiration, and of course, her love of cardigans with Young Sophisticates.

YS: I share your obsession with cardigans. I absolutely love wearing them. I'm curious - how did your love of cardigans lead you to create a knitwear line dedicated to the eponymous item?

Lynne: I’ve always loved cardigans from when I was in High School! It was a part of my Catholic School Uniform. I must admit, then, I always wished that I could spice up my yellow or navy crewneck cardigan. The irony now is that I’m still trying to design that perfect navy cardigan!!! I don’t think I’ve been able to do it yet!

YS: You have design experience working for Michael Kors and Derek Lam. Other than designing cardigans, what other pieces have you most enjoyed designing during your career?

Lynne: I have to admit, working and consulting for an eclectic mix of designers who are so talented and present to me some very serious challenges in terms of execution, it’s very hard to answer that. Every designer I have worked for has their own perspective, creativity, and sensibility that sometimes, I would seriously leave a meeting – sweating, wondering how I can deliver!!! Honestly, besides Cardigans, my Marc Sweatshirt has become a bit of a cult favorite with both girls and guys…I have a bit of an obsession with sweater sweatshirts! I want to one day have a line of well- sweatshirts…..

YS: The CARDIGAN Mimi Sequin Dress (pictured at right) is so cute. How did you come up with the idea for that dress?

Lynne: Thank you! That’s super sweet of you! The Maritime French Stripe has always been a signature pattern for Cardigan, and the dress was a signature shape. So I did the math, and it worked! Being repressed in Catholic High School, mixed with Consulting for Guess Marciano for 3 years kinda birthed that really cute dress. It’s totally one of my favorites. I get compliments on it ALL the time. And, now, I am officially a total sequins addict…

YS: What was the inspiration or concept behind the rustic shoot for the fall look book?

Lynne: We shot the lookbook one week before the tragic hurricane this summer. It’s a little bittersweet because we shot on my friends' (Karl and Johnny) land the weekend before and the weather was perfect, gorgeous, sort of a bit of calm before the storm. So in hindsight, we were all so happy that we have some gorgeous photos that really preserved the beauty of the land.

My inspiration for fall womens was a little bit PBS Brideshead Revisited, mixed with Upstate migration into the woods, plus a little bit of Sweden. So the eclectic mix of Fairisles, Polka Dots, Donegals, and Classic SchoolBoy stripes really worked well together in the outdoor woodsy, green environs of the Hudson River Valley. My team of Trevor Smith, Lauren Wood and Caroline Ventura is quite perfect…We also did a shoot together last fall if you haven’t seen it….pretty gorgeous! We’re quite a great team together…

Photo Credits: Courtesy of CARDIGAN; Daphne Shawl Cardigan (pictured above)

YS: Other than cardigans, what are your fall fashion must-haves?

Lynne: Crewneck sweatshirts……the Marc! ………BRVTVS jewelry- feeling for gold! …80/20 wedge shoes (wanna be tall but gotta be functional!) …..Gryphon beaded dresses (that look so femme under Cardigan!) ...Michael Kors Aviators (my go to eyewear for 15 years! need some new ones!).. lace tees (to peep out under Cardigans)……black pearls - strands of them….to go with my not so black Cardigans!

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