Designing Woman Eileen Fisher

A year ago this month, Eileen Fisher, Inc., launched the Eileen Fisher Lab Store. Located near Fisher’s Irvington headquarters, this one-of-a-kind boutique offers a mix of current and previous pieces from the company’s collections. Here, we chat with the company’s founder, who resides in Irvington.

Why is the Lab Store dubbed ‘an experiment in dressing’?
The whole idea is to encourage the customer to experiment. It’s not all thought-out outfits—we have a mix of pieces from the current and past seasons; sample pieces, most not available elsewhere; and gently worn, recycled garments from personal wardrobes. We show the timelessness of the clothes and how they can work together across seasons and over the years.

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How did the idea for the store come about?
Just after the stock market crashed, we had to cut back on our charitable contributions, and so we looked to find another revenue stream to fund them. Proceeds from the store’s recycled section go to support initiatives that empower girls and women.

What inspires your designs?
Travel. I’ve always been inspired by other cultures’ clothing. I spent time in Japan and was inspired by the kimono and little flat pants worn there, and, more recently, by the layering of lightweight fabrics in India. We’ve even incorporated handwork done by women’s collectives in our designs.

What are some of the big looks for your fall/winter 2010 collection?
Biker jackets—or the Eileen Fisher interpretation of them: short, comfortable, collared jackets in leather and other fabrics, like fleece. We also have a lot of merino knit, short coats, short skirts with leggings, and long cardigans.

How has your clothing changed since you first began designing 25 years ago?
When I first started, I designed very simple, loose clothing like wide pants, boxy tops, and kimono jackets. Now my team is designing more fitted pieces. So we have a lot more skinny pants, but they’re stretchy and, thus, still really comfortable.

the details: 1 Bridge St, Irvington (914) 721-2897; Store hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 7 pm

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