When critics dub you a fashion wunderkind, expectations are high and you had better be prepared to deliver. This sort of pressure would be a challenge for any up-and-coming designer, but for 24-year-old Wes Gordon, it’s just another day in the studio.
Gordon’s fall 2011 collection personifies luxury in an accessibly modern yet classically chic approach. Gordon’s forte is in his meticulous tailoring, which can be seen in the collection’s structured jackets, statement coats, and impeccably-hemmed pants that fill his fall line with the sharp sophistication of a fashion virtuoso. Only three collections into his career, Sheridan Road chats with the young designer about his fall line, his favorite looks, and his fashion inspirations.
Sheridan Road: How would you describe your personal style and how does it relate to your design aesthetic?
Wes Gordon: When I go out, my go-to look is a tailored blazer and dark denim. It may be no-frills, but I still appreciate well-crafted clothes. These two things, specifically, make me design with versatility and detail in mind. Both those things are what we at Wes Gordon strive for. There is this attitude of perfectionism that goes into each and every one of our pieces.
SR: You are known for your well-tailored separates. Can you tell me a little bit about the creative process for your fall collection?
WG: At Wes Gordon, we believe in an old-school method of construction; all of our clothing is handmade in New York. We want to make versatile clothing that is appropriate for women of all ages. Our hope is that these women, from various social circles, will be able to find a piece they want to buy and will love for years to come. We try to focus on using luxurious fabrics and creating detailed embroideries; we want our pieces to effortlessly fit into the lifestyle of every woman. I think separates are extremely important, especially coming out of the recession. Well-tailored pieces give women a versatility that they are able to combine with pieces they already have.
SR: Who are some of your fashion role models and how have you adapted and interpreted their ethos into your trademark looks?
WG: I had the pleasure of interning at Oscar de la Renta while I was going to school in London. He is a master of his craft and knows everything there is to know about American elegance. It is his knowledge of this craft that makes me strive for even half as much of what he has obtained in women’s wear, and it is what taught me to be true to my design aesthetic and the clientele who are wearing it.
SR: SR loves your use of proportion, especially in your fall collection. What is your number one tip for women who are looking to play with proportion while still complementing their body type?
WG: Hem length, definitely. For the past couple seasons, designers have been very experimental with the length of their hems. There have been some super long trousers, and hyper short skirts, but designers often forget that sometimes those don’t translate well off the runway and on real women. The idea of a beautiful hem length is all about the person who is wearing it. Forget about all the fashion rules you’ve heard, know what works for your body and throw the rest out the window.
SR: You have said Catherine Deneuve and a luxurious Parisian take on modern clothing inspired your fall collection. What do you think are important stylistic elements that people should keep in mind this [fall] season?
WG: I’m obsessed with high-waisted wide-leg pants. There is something slightly androgynous about them. They make legs look a million miles long in a fluid yet linear kind of way. This is the tailored look every girl should have. Proper fit will give women the ability to pull a look together that is both smart and sophisticated. Women should also splurge on a great coat. It’s something you will wear every day, and it has the ability to transform any look into something new.
SR: In your mind, what is the main difference between the fashion in New York and the fashion in Chicago?
WG: I think fashion in both New York and Chicago is extremely similar. I’d say Chicago has more of an open mind when it comes to color, but as much, if not more, attention to detail and style.
SR: In your mind, who is the quintessential “Wes Gordon” woman?
WG: The quintessential Wes Gordon woman is between 30 to 60 years old. She is very cosmopolitan and knows what she wants. She’s not a compulsive buyer, but when she sees something beautiful, feminine, and tailored to a T, she has to have it.