As far back as three years ago—almost exactly—we were tracking the run of local designers Karly Orr and Liise Wyatt. Collectively known as Wyatt Orr, the designers are steadily, surely making their way into boutiques and closets in the Northwest and beyond.
Their spring collection will show up at Les Amis in March; to celebrate that perfect pairing, we give you a sneak peek at the looks, and an insider dialog with the women behind the draped, leather paneled dresses and textural, back-revealing tops.
SHOP TALK: It's one of those seemingly banal and cliché questions that people like you don't always love to answer, but folks love to know where the inspiration comes from. Tell us about the initial idea—or fabric or shape from which the rest spun out?
WYATT ORR: We were inspired by contrast and this idea of armor combined with a touch of softness and elegance. We subtly hinted to armor with our more structured fabrics. The softer side comes in with the weightless silk chiffon and georgette. We fell in love with the cotton-pleated fabric that you will see on the backs and yokes of some of our pieces for SS13. We loved the contrast between the textural pleats with the smooth flowing silks in some of our tops and dresses. And then there's leather... We love leather. The Odi dress is an example of how silk and leather can work together beautifully. As always, we used naturally fibered fabrics for spring; silk, organic cotton, and leather, so they were a dream to work with and feel like butter and clouds against the body. Our silhouettes are a little roomy, giving them a somewhat effortless vibe and the ability to be dressed up or down.
Where are you having the line fabricated? If you're able to do it in town, can you talk about the challenges and rewards of being locally made?
Our pieces are made locally in Los Angeles and Seattle, which is important to us. But yes, this does come with its own set of challenges, primarily the expense. However, we value the ability to support domestic artists and craftsmen and hope we can continue to do so.
Let's pretend you were going to show this collection in Seattle ala New York Fashion Week. What space—a restaurant, a park, a weird corner you drive by and love—would be perfect for showing off these looks, and what song would soundtrack the show?
We love old warehouses; someplace a little gritty and rough that we could light strategically and style with a bit of elegance to play off the textural contrast of the collection. Guests might hear "Where Is My Mind" by the Pixies or "We Used To Be Friends" by Dandy Warhols. Ravenna Park would be a hauntingly magical outdoor venue if the models could wind their way down lantern-lined pathways and weave their way through the Northwest forest at dusk to Sigur Ros or AIR.
What do you feel is missing in terms of making Seattle a hospitable community for designers and local fashion? What should consumers and shoppers know about how they can support the local scene? What do you think people should know about the challenges of your particular endeavor?
A dream come true would be a fashion district in Seattle, similar to LA's or New York's. We would love a good central location for fashion shows, studios, show rooms, fabric, and production resources, etc. A scene both industry- and consumer-friendly, which would benefit all of us.