In part one of the Lindsay Stewart interview Papierdoll asked her a variety of questions about her start in fashion designing, major obstacles and her motivation to continue.
Part two of her interview covers her opinion of other designers, the direction of American fashion design and the future of her fashion line.
If you missed the previous interview Click Here
Continue reading part two below:
PD:Who is your favorite designer?
LS:Roberto Cavalli… I love the mysterious glamour of Versace. When I was 16 I wrote a success paper for English – defining, giving examples, sources, explanation of what it all meant to me, etc. I wrote about my Grandpa John and … Gianni Versace. Quite a combo! Grandpa may have pretended to know who Versace was after reading my masterpiece, but he definitely knew it was a compliment to be lumped into a 10 page paper, written by his granddaughter, with some huge Italian designer. Aw, Grandpa – your successes were much more important to me, anyway.
PD:Which designer do you think should hang up their sketch pad and call it a day?
LS:I’m not prepared to write off any potential future aid at this point!
PD:What is your biggest gripe with fashion today?
LS:We take runway and fashion spreads too literal. We should understand the designer’s intention behind the design, just as we study paintings and look beyond the paint. However, the way we all wear our clothing is personal and should not mirror a perfect ensemble. We would look out of place in our own skin. It’s all about interpretation. We just need to ‘get’ where the piece is coming from, put our own spin on things (since we’re personally wearing it) and then wear it like it’s nobody’s business! We cannot get so hung up on the trend, or the big picture. The hottest styles are the styles that make you feel like you own the place!
PD:Throughout your site and pr materials you use one model. Why? And who is she?
LS:Oh my gosh, I love our model. Her name is Kristina Somers and she’s with an agency in Seattle, WA. We decided on one model because we really wanted to make a Face of Maxwell Hudson. We knew she would take on all of the characteristics of our line, since the styles vary from left to right (all with the same undertones, however). But also, because one girl could/would wear everything in our line. I don’t have any thing distinctly romantic or distinctly wildly-punk. All girls have a few styles. When searching for our model, it quickly came down to two girls. I did not want the all-American look at all – I wanted someone a little more mysterious, slightly rough but still pretty. I didn’t want cute. I wanted someone with sharp features, unique expressions. When we met Kristina, I instantly loved her. She was beautiful when she arrived to the shoot, but as the day progressed and she came and went from hair and make-up, I couldn’t get over her! She can be, literally, every look for Maxwell Hudson. And, most importantly – she’s sharp as a tack! She’s very smart and an incredible student. Intelligence makes people beautiful, but Kristina’s drop-dead because she’s wicked smart and gorgeous!
PD:Stylistically, how would you describe your line?
LS:Friendly rock ‘n roll, sweetly punk, free-spirited trendsetting – everything juxtaposed.
PD:If you had all the money in the world and could put together an extensive line for men and women, what would it look like?
LS:I would create evening gowns and tuxedos sewn with 24 karat gold spun thread. Ornate, Indian motif leaf patterns would flow around the base of the gown, again sewn in gold thread. The skirt would billow with layers upon layers of black tulle, generously littered with tiny diamonds. The tuxedo would be a full tux with tails, and would mimic the gold ornateness of the gown. Emerald and princess cut diamonds would be the buttons and cufflinks. I’m talking about complete excess. I’m definitely a bigger is better gal, the more the merrier. Ultimately, we would auction off the wildly expensive costumes. The money would go to The Fistula Foundation in Ethiopia which cures women of fistulas, caused by obstructed labor.
PD:Where do you see the Maxwell Hudson line in 5 years?
LS:There are two answers here. The Safe Answer and the Lindsay Stewart Dreamer/Doer answer. I’ll give you the latter: Insanely Successful; hosting annual benefits raising money for women’s health here and abroad; runway shows at New York Fashion Week; a flagship store on Robertson or 3rd in LA; a large office overlooking a neighborhood district in Paris or an industrial space downtown LA by the grocer’s hub; tons of employees who love their job and do not work for me, but with me; wide recognition for being the first fashion company in the world who is not cut-throat, shallow, two-sided or greedy, but rather gives freely of our money to better causes, offers childcare, healthcare and a maternity schedule; encouraging our employees to experience new places and people with their vacation time by instating a “See-the-world-on-Maxwell-Hudson-dollars Life Experiences Travel Incentive Program.” People will want to work with us – we will be top-notch. We’re starting out this way and it can only get better and more realistic.
PD:Your line features names that range from Lemon Drop, Star Unicorn to Thou Shalt Not Kill and Skull and Crossbones, who comes up with the names? And what is the thought process behind them?
LS:I came up with all of the names. Some of them, like “Skull & Crossbones” are just named after the design on the piece. Others are just a combination of my thinking, “OKAY, what did I just design – I have to call it something,” and the mood I’m in by the time I finish. It’s very spontaneous and I simply hope it makes my brand easily identifiable.
PD:It must be a logistical nightmare creating each piece custom by hand. Why do you do that? How long do you plan on doing that? And why?
LS:Since most of our pieces are hand-painted, there isn’t a way to mass-produce them. The whole point is to make something that is completely unique with all the hand-crafted bells and whistles. Each and every piece spends quite a bit of time in my hands It is quite a bonding experience actually, whether I’m creating 1 piece for a special order, or 150 pieces for one of our stores. It can also be chaotic, with little Max running around, but I honestly do take at least a second with every piece and think about where it’s going, who’s going to buy it, where will they wear the first time, and I wonder if maybe my clothing will be associated with a milestone in their life. I don’t do it on purpose, but I have to wonder where something is going after we’ve spent so much time on it. It’s like I want our custom pieces to all find good homes.
PD:If you weren’t designing right now, what would you be doing?
LS:Finding a way to be on TV. Working with Oprah.
PD:What do you love/hate about designing?
LS:I love designing because I can make everything in my soul literal. I can put to life a mood, or a lifestyle, or location that might interest me but I would never be/do/go. It’s like pretending. If I’m feeling extremely dark and sinister, I have an incredible opportunity to create something right then and there, while in that element, that I may never otherwise think of long enough to create. If I’m in Cinque Terra in my mind, I can quickly create something in beautiful teal organza, with tons of layers and flowing scarves tied around my hair. Designing is my little home-made transport machine. I can be anywhere right now and design while I’m there before I climb back in and head o
ff to the next location my soul takes me. Designing gets difficult when the sketch/idea phase is over and production/sample time begins. Finding the exact fabric I’ve settled on can be a nightmare. Once I’ve decided in my mind what it’s going to be, wavering for a second choice is impossible and frustrating.
PD:What famous figure in the past or presently would you love to design for? And why?
LS:I love people! They’re so interesting, even the nasty ones! I would be most thrilled to meet and design for Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson. I can’t begin to go on and on about what a neat couple they are! I feel lots of bonds with Kate, but mostly because our baby boys were due at the same time at Cedars-Sinai in LA. But Max came two weeks early so I lost all chances of ‘bumping’ into her and Chris and Goldie in the maternity ward. A lot of people kindly tell me we resemble each other. In reading her interviews, I think I could really nail down some neat duds for her! I love her personal style and I feel we have a lot in common.
PD:Tell us something about you that know one else knows.
LS:Would you believe there really isn’t anything!? I swear!
PD:American designers are rare when it comes to haute couture and ready to wear, why is that so?
LS:America is beautiful for reasons other than fashion. European designers have remarkable, centuries-old churches, monuments and museums as their landscapes, backdrops and inspirations. They have an intense, lengthy history of religions, cultures, love and war. Everything in Europe is more dramatic. The old-world glamour as well as today’s modern, harsh interpretation creates the legacy for the founding fathers of haute couture and ready to wear.
PD:Are successful American designers an endangered species?
LS:As long as we always have innovative designs, new trends (instead of all this cyclical stuff) then I don’t care who’s doing the designing. Maxwell Hudson is successful and we hope to inspire and encourage, so, hopefully, new waves of designers will spring from all the little ones that are blooming as we speak.
PD:Where can we purchase your line?
LS:Anouchig, Newport Coast, CA
Ten sixteen, La Jolla, CA
Blush, Scottsdale, AZ
Ella Belles, Rockport, TX
Ella Belles, Kerrville, TX
Original Cin, Pittsburgh, PA
Up to You, Toronto, Canada
Apron Pocket, Centralia, WA
PD:The public can send e-mails to Max firstname.lastname@example.org, what kind of e-mails has he received?
LS:A lot of messages from family, mainly. I think people are a little hesitant and maybe think it’s weird that our baby (now 19 months old) has access to his own email messages. It’s just a token!
PD:You’re sitting at a café and someone walks by wearing one of your pieces, how would you feel?
LS:This has happened!! I started squealing really quietly to my husband and asked him if he believed it! It doesn’t matter how many accounts we’ve opened or will open, or how many millions we earn – there is nothing more gratifying knowing someone has worked very hard for their money, and then turns around and spends it on my dream – on something that I’ve worked so very hard to build and grow. We have a million choices when it comes to how we’ll define our personal styles. A Maxwell Hudson purchase is a smart one, but mostly, the gals are purchasing because they love it – which means I’ve been successful in creating a line that promotes individuality, stylistic self-expression and bold humor, too! I would be honored.
PD:When Lindsay Stewart can no longer design what happens to Maxwell Hudson?
LS:My little sisters are 14. Jasmine and Jillian (twins) will run the show probably long before I call it a day.