Socialite Tinsley Mortimer’s reality show High Society premiered last night on The CW. The show’s promise of “tearing down the golden façade of the socialite world” sounded appealing when we heard about it. However, what we found even more interesting than Tinsley’s show was the clothing line by her soon-to-be-former-sister-in-law, Minnie Mortimer. The Gloss’ Deputy Editor Jennifer Wright interviewed Minnie about the line. We scheduled the interview to run yesterday. However, we started getting emails from Minnie’s publicist, asking that we cut certain parts of the interview after the fact, which goes against our editorial policy. You can learn more about that in Page Six. As for the interview, it’s right here:
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a designer?
Well, I started out working as a photographer. And I loved working on fashion photography. I found myself so focused on the clothing. And then I started styling and I realized I had such a need for certain pieces that I couldn’t find and it sort of became organic that way.
Which pieces in particular did you find weren’t available?
It was really men’s shirting I started in. It was such a great place to start, because it’s such a basic piece. But I really learnt about the importance of details and the fit. It took me forever to get it right.
Most women’s button-down shirts are so horrible. They never seem to fit quite right.
I know! A lot of tailors specialize in men’s shirts, that’s why they’re too boxy! Or too short. I love them really simple and flattering. I’ve become maniacal about button placement – I hate how they make that little window that you can see through.
Do you think working as a photographer helped you with shoots for your line?
Oh yeah, it’s helped me in so many ways. Especially in terms of the way that shoots are produced and structured and all the thought that goes into it. When I design something I picture how it wears but also how it photographs.
You’re originally from New York, and now you’re living on the West Coast. When I look at your line, I get a very New York/Hamptons preppy feel – is that fair to say?
I think so. It’s funny because I rebelled again that for a while. Now that I’m living in LA I’m really nostalgic for those times. And I like way those pieces are very East Coast preppy. But you can style them so that they aren’t.
Please explain how to style your preppy outfits in non-preppy ways.
Okay, think of the shirt dress I made. It can be really preppy with ballet flats, and that works. But I’ve seen other girls who really switch up the belts and use great Marni cutouts. And great boots, of course. Or some people rumple them up and make them totally rumpled. I really like it when they do that.
Do you find that fashion is approached differently in LA?
I think it’s more casual in Los Angeles. People will wear exercise clothes. Just in general, it’s so much more laid back. I’m a big surfer and I grew up dreaming of the California skate-and-surf culture. A lot of pieces are inspired by those moments. LA has a lot of really interesting organic street style and New York is so much more pulled-together. Style in New York is more thought out. But I appreciate both, and I’m finding more and more that I’m integrating. But my fall collection is very East Coast. When I think of fall, I think of boarding school in New England and Central Park and the leaves changing. My summer collection is always more colorful and sporty – I think that’s more my LA side.
I know that you dress to fill in a gap in your own wardrobe, but do you have any style icons that you find influence your designs?
Definitely. I love Camilla Belle, I love her style. I have fewer present-day style icons, I really like Kate Bosworth, though. Generally, I’m inspired by other decades. I’m very nostalgic for the ’60s. I love ’60s and ’70s cinema! Faye Dunaway, Cybill Shepherd in The Last Picture Show. I’m a big fan of Network. That era is where I usually find myself looking to. And I collect photography books and I find a lot of inspiration from vintage pieces.
Why don’t you carry plus sizes?
I would like to, and I’ve definitely had demand. It’s just right now the company is a certain size. I’ve also had a lot of request for smaller sizes, and for children – I have a daughter. I’d really like to in the future make it available for as many people as I can. But I want to insure that the quality is the same throughout.
Olivia Palermo co-hosted the launch of your line. Should we be looking for your clothes on The City?
Well, I was actually going to be going on – I’m doing a project with Elle right now – but that didn’t happen. But the clothing will definitely be on in some form! Olivia wears a lot of the stuff, she’s a very longtime friend.
What about High Society? You have one dress called The Tinsley, which I assume is after your ex-sister-in-law.
Oh, do I? Really? The Tinsley dress? That was my first season. Yeah. That was a year ago.
What about the movies? Your husband, Stephen Gaghan, is a director (Syriana). Would you ever consider doing costuming for one of his films?
I would welcome that challenge. I think that clothing makes such a difference for the whole production in the end. And we’ve talked about it. I’ve helped him a bit before with that, and I think I will in the future. I really love designing everything – that’s why I still love photography, it’s designing too. If I could I would just design everything, it’s so satisfying for me. The growth has just been exponential in a short amount of time.
Where are the dresses selling now?
Scoop in New York and Madison out here. We haven’t made any deals with any place like Barney’s or Saks or Neiman’s because it’s still an intimate collection and it’s all made in downtown Los Angeles and I’m trying to keep a handle on all of that. I’m getting there, but I like the way it is now. It’s sort of select.
What are you planning in the future?
I’m going to keep making things. It’s probably not as well thought-out as some other designers you talk to. To tell you the truth, I don’t really have a formula – I should probably get one – but right now when I want something I make it. It’s such a personal process for me. I don’t have a business plan or a target customer. I don’t know how to do it any other way. I take it one day at time.