Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hot Spot: Séraphine's "Kate Effect"

Kate Middleton's fashion style has been making headlines for some time, but it's her maternity wear that has the UK press coining it the "Kate Effect." I had a chance to sit down with Cecile Reinaud, the designer behind Séraphine and Kate's Middleton's most memorable maternity looks. I like to hear about the newest styles for the girl next door, but it is even better hearing about the styles for the new mom next door!

Just like the rest of us, Cecile told me she and her team were glued to the television waiting to see what Kate would be wearing in her first appearance after the birth of her first child, Prince George Alexander Louis. "We knew she was buying many of our dresses," said Cecile. "But we didn't know what she would be wearing until that day." When that moment came Cecile and her team were wildly excited- "everyone in the office [was] screaming our heads off." Even though a Séraphine store is located just around the corner from Kensington Palace, it was at Séraphine.com where Kate began her shopping. 

Fuchsia Knot Front Maternity Dress 
Kate has made maternity wear look fashionable. It's not that maternity wear was irrelevant before, it's just that you wouldn't find it on a typical best dressed list. "That is the signature of our brand, this Parisian chic look," says Cecile, and it's all about, "keeping to classic things like polka dots, working with classic color palettes, but with real pops of colors to stay in with the right fashion of the moment." She continued, "We are really trying to cover this Bohemian chic mom to the super glamorous evening type of person that needs a cocktail dress."

Though the world has just discovered Séraphine designs, it's something that UK womehave known for some time. Cecile began Séraphine 10 years ago. "I became pregnant in the first year," she says. "It was a bit crazy because I thought I need to experience this, the stages of maternity." How does she make sure she is still as in touch with her audience now as she was then? She has a fun little secret.  "Now when I design things I always try them on with a fake bum so I can still keep close to the product."  She went on to tell me that "the plus point is that I really kinda retested a lot of shapes and am so aware of the comfort factor and how to beautify your shape."

I like that Séraphine post-baby items look just like my pre-baby clothes. As I told Cecile, I am currently only wearing tops that I can pull and tug at so I can nurse. Therefore, I am very limited on tops and refuse to go into my "one-day-I-will-wear-again pile. When I asked about this she told me that they're "finding shapes that can adapt." "We always try to work with clever things like elastic (that) can retract back to shape as well," she said.  "We use really good quality jerseys that have good retention so that it won't get saggy, and work after." One fabric I have never seen before that the tops have is bamboo fiber. It's a silky soft yarn with temperature-regulating properties that can help you stay comfortable when we get hot or cold, which seems to happen a lot post-birth." Cecile believes it is their concentration on maternity wear that puts them ahead, "we only do maternity wear so we are obsessed about it and I think it shows." She says, "The plus point is that I really kinda retested a lot of shapes, and am so aware of the comfort factor and how to beautify your shape." 

It isn't just Kate Middleton who has been seen wearing Séraphine. It seems several Hollywood  mothers such as Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner and many more have found comfort in the brand. Cecile herself hasn't had the pleasure of meeting any of them. "We have had [celebrities] come to the store but I wasn't there either," she says, "so I missed all the action." But she may have a chance to meet another fashionable Kate, Kate Winslet, who lives in the UK and as Cecile said "we are kinda dressing her for some events." So keep an eye on Kate Winslet and you may find she is wearing Séraphine. "It's great just knowing that they love the clothes and they like the brand and they choose us," Cecile said "Meeting them will be a plus."

 Another important factor I noticed was the prices at Séraphine. They are very reasonable. You can get a top for $39- $65. Sounds good since I keep seeing maternity tops going for $100+ dollars! Cecile explained the reason for the practical prices is that she understands maternity wear is only needed for a limited period of time and the prices reflect that.  Just like your average woman next door has an endless possibility for clothes, so does your average new mom or mom to be, thanks to the team at Séraphine!

You don't have to wait until 2014 when Séraphine opens its doors in New York, you can begin your shopping with just a click at USA link www.Seraphinematernity.com/maternity-clothes.html.