This year, New York-based, Israeli-born designer Nili Lotan celebrates ten years since launching her namesake label. The designer cut her chops at Ralph Lauren, Nautica, and Liz Clairborne before building her own brand around her signature idea that a woman’s wardrobe should be built around ease and function as an extension of who she is. From the very start she focused on the idea of essentials—like white shirting and denim—and elevated these items by adding her own spin. “When I founded my brand, I laid the foundation upon which my collections would evolve through the years to become what I see to be my ultimate wardrobe,” she tells The Window.
Below, she shares in more detail about the evolution of her style mantra and why Fall ’16 so perfectly captures who she is.
The Window: Congrats on your 10 year anniversary! How does it feel to be celebrating this milestone?
Nili Lotan: When the 10th anniversary approached, it gave me this opportunity to reflect on how my brand has evolved. I realized that I have spent the last ten years working towards one goal: defining and achieving the essence of my brand. Collection after collection, season after season—I have spent the last ten years developing a philosophy in the form of clothing.
How does that philosophy play out?
I started with five essential pieces, which I called the “non-jean jeans.” The idea was to create casual, everyday pieces that would be an alternative to denim. As things evolved, I added my signature Nili Lotan shirt, which became a key element to my collections. Then, I went on to add cashmere sweaters. As I continued to add signature piece after piece, I had come to a complete wardrobe—one that serves the modern woman from day to night.
In what ways does this collection represent your idea of the complete wardrobe?
This collection looks back at my signature styles, refreshed for Fall 2016. Starting with the white shirt, the center of every wardrobe, and also including my kimono coat, military jacket, and cami dress—each one of my iconic styles can be found. The palette this season explores the range of shades I take most comfort in, from black to white and all the browns, greys and beiges in between. I focus my work on cultivating a style that steadily evolves with my consumer as she continues to live, change, and grow.
Would you say your inspiration is mostly experiential?
Yes, through the years I’ve learned to identify references and experiences ranging from when I was five years old up till now, which includes living between New York and Tel Aviv. I view these experiences as disciplines for my work, and I draw inspiration from them.
How is your Israeli upbringing reflected specifically?
As I search into my own references, I always find myself in the colors and scenery that remind me of my childhood. My Israeli palate and childhood scenes deeply influence my personal style. Tel Aviv is a constant source of creative inspiration for me. My relaxed yet sophisticated signature style can be credited to the attitude of life in Tel Aviv.
We’re excited about denim for resort—what can you tell us about that collection?
As the years go by, I keep adding different elements to the wardrobe and the only thing that was missing was denim. The source of inspiration for the denim collection was my own “non-jean jean” collection that I had launched my business with and continuously evolving. I translated those designs into denim, staying away from the classic five-pocket jean and creating non traditional denim styles while using the best Japanese denim in different weights. The collection has a lot of elements of destruction, fraying, and raw finishes.
What’s next for Nili Lotan?
Continuing to design clothes that make women feel good!