Since the brand’s inception in New York in 1974, Elie Tahari has defined modern sophistication with his inspired collections of understated grace and elegance. Arriving in New York in his twenties, the renowned designer once moonlighted as an electrician at a boutique in Greenwich Village in the 70s. From there, inspiration reigned supreme, and Tahari was instantly dazzled by the world of fashion. From popularizing the tube top, to giving the power suit a whole new meaning, Elie Tahari’s passion for New York birthed an era of inimitable design.
Being one of the first fashion designers to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York, Tahari’s inherent ability to predict what women want in terms of style and tailoring led the company toward astounding success. In celebrating forty fabulous years of Elie Tahari, the brand recently launched the “Elie Tahari Edition 1974” anniversary collection. The collection features updated iconic silhouettes from the past four decades that were first shown during his Spring 2014 New York Fashion Week presentation, with a modern take on the cage mesh swing coat, jumpsuit, and laser cut shift dress and signature leather pieces. Each piece from the collection is named after an iconic New York landmark, paying homage to the city that’s provided the designer with endless inspiration for over 40 years.
bazaar: Why is each piece in the capsule collection specifically named after significant New York landmarks? Essentially, what does New York mean to you?
Elie Tahari:“Elie Tahari Edition 1974” is a capsule collection that features updated iconic silhouettes from the past 4 decades of my career, all named after NYC landmarks, a city that has provided me with endless inspiration since I arrived 40 years ago. Kicking off Fashion Week with Elie Tahari Day was the proudest moment of my career; I was so humbled and honored to be recognized by the mayor and city of New York, a place that I love so much. I was able to share that special day with my family, friends and people in the industry who have been so instrumental in my career; it’s a day I will never forget.
bazaar: First popularizing the iconic tube top marked the start of a brilliant career. What was your motivation behind this design?
Elie Tahari: Popularizing the tube top was a complete accident! A fashion manufacturing error occurred and resulted in a pile of fabric tubes, some of these mistakes ended up in a New York boutique. I knew right away they were going to be a hit. I bought a pile of them for $2 apiece and resold them for $4. I snuck into a trade show with my bags of tubes and no credentials and pictures showing how to wear them; by the end of the day I had thousands of orders. That was the beginning of my wholesale career.
bazaar: Looking back on 40 years of incredible designs, can you tell us a little bit about how you’ve sustained the brand?
Elie Tahari: I credit my longevity to adapting with the changes and tastes but still staying true to my classic designs and heritage. I want all women to feel beautiful in Elie Tahari. I truly love what I do, designing is my passion and I think that shows in my collections.
bazaar: What’s your favorite item from the capsule collection?
Elie Tahari: That is such a tough question because I can identify with each piece but I must say the Hudson Jumpsuit is one of my favorites. It’s an iconic 70s silhouette that I updated with a great silicone insert as it reminds me of my disco days.
bazaar: Does fashion make the person, or does the person make fashion?
Elie Tahari: The person absolutely makes fashion—I always like to say, the clothes should be quieter than the woman so her true beauty can shine through.
bazaar: Finally, what’s next for Elie Tahari?
Elie Tahari: As I celebrate my 40 years, I reflect on the past and look forward to the future with the launch of the 40th anniversary capsule collection and many new projects including eyewear in the spring. I love this industry so much and look forward to the next 40 years of fashion, design and creativity.
The “Elie Tahari Edition 1974” collection will be available at the Elie Tahari Boutique located in Mall 360. For more information, please call 2530 9618.