Blazers are the unsung heroes of a woman’s wardrobe. Throw one on to add instant style and sophistication to jeans and a t-shirt or layer one over a dress to add a chic, not-too-precious menswear vibe. This is the thinking that lead Kate Ciepluch, a longtime fixture in the fashion world, to start a new line focusing solely on—you guessed it—blazers and jackets. As Kate says, a jacket is “truly the piece that defines your look.” Below, Kate fills us in on her new label, which goes by the name of Laveer, and unleashes her expert styling skills on one of her jackets, using it as the anchor for two different outfits.
Why did you decide to focus on jackets for your first collection?
Jackets are the classification I am most passionate about. It is the outer layer that is truly the piece that defines your look. Like a handbag or a great pair of boots, an amazingly tailored jacket is a great investment—it is an item you can rely on and wear constantly to provide that pulled-together finishing touch instantaneously. A jacket is everything—it is what I wear the most and what I consistently point to as the item I can not live without. My idea was to design a collection that took this timeless silhouette and added attitude with novelty details and fabrications. I wanted to bring a coolness to the sophistication of the category.
Do you have any female style icons who wear or wore jackets particularly well?
Kate Moss and Carolyn Bessette stand out in my mind but also real girls I see all the time in New York City—if she has an impeccable tailored jacket on you can’t help but notice.
Who or what would we find on your inspiration board?
Clémence Poésy, Emmanuelle Alt, Jane Birkin, images of men’s smoking jackets and boating jackets, equestrian riding uniforms, field jackets. Utility and sports serve as a foundation for silhouettes and details, always evoking new ideas for designs.
What made you decide to strike out on your own?
I wanted to embark on a completely different channel in fashion and do something really hands on and creative. It has been such a cool experience to go from viewing and buying collections to starting from the very beginning and constructing the garment—learning the process of taking a sketch and making it into something you can slip into. I am running around the same streets and visiting the same buildings in the garment district but now I am buying leather and looking at buttons!
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What is the significance of the name?
Laveer is an old nautical term meaning “to sail against the wind.” I love the feminine, mysterious sound of the word and that the reference points to going against the grain. I read a story about the first women to wear blazers: a rowing club outfitted in red jackets that appeared to be “ablazed” on the water. Keeping this heritage in mind and reinventing is the foundation of my designs.
You describe your aesthetic as “urbane bohéme.” What does this look like?
Tailored and minimalistic with finishing touches that breath personality into the ensemble. I live in separates—skinny jeans, blouses, and jackets—and I adorn my look by having fun with accessories—layers of necklaces, cool scarves, dramatic earrings, unique boots, hats, etc. I have always been drawn to that sexy gypsy vintage-inspired look but it has to be offset by something menswear and tailored to make is chic (I am talking about a great blazer). I love a look that transcends the notion of “uptown” and “downtown” and feels adventurous.
Tailoring is all about the details—what are some of your favorite details in Laveer’s jackets?
It’s so much about the finishings—buttons and piping were something I really focused on for my first season. Sneaky funky details was something that I kept in mind and resulted in an arm band on a traditional double-breasted style, which also intentionally buttons the mens way. I really wanted to make a jacket with no closure that resulted in the Montage style that has a slight boxy swing to the body.
What was the thought process behind choosing the different fabrics and pairing them together?
I have always been drawn to classic fabrics like tartan plaids, herringbones and unique stripes—how it feels against your skin is something I believe the customer really appreciates. And leather adds so much to a traditional fabrication—it makes the garment feel more substantial and tough. Unexpected color combos is a creative challenge I am totally up for and I applied this season with bright trims that really pop—bright blue on a deep hunter green resulted in my favorite jacket on the line.
Tell us about how the jackets are cut—what were you looking for in terms of the silhouettes and fit?
Achieving the right amount of drama with the collar and shoulders was something I concentrated on. There are 5 different bodies: the Kadette (a double breasted style with a slender fit and strong shoulders); the Jacque (a shorter boxy shape with colorblocking details); the Revelry (a traditional slim fit single button style); the Gibraltar (an oversized boyfriend cut with a dramatic feminine collar); and the Montage (your easy throw-on with no closure, like a cardigan with structure).
The Jacket: Laveer leather inset blazer // 1. Eva Fehren sapphire pendant necklace 2. Maison Martin Margiela Line 22 ankle boot 3. Givenchy shark jaw tee 4. Haider Ackermann highwaisted long pencil skirt 5. Rag & Bone embroidered jeans 6. Lynn Ban choker 7. Alexander Wang Sofia boot 8. Snowdon x Acne button front shirt 9. Jerome Dreyfuss leopard ponyhair Carlos tote