When it came to denim, retailers Nicole Tondre and Lisa Fuller of NYCs directional boutique Court could never find what they were looking for to stock in their store. So they decided to start their own collection. Using their Mulberry Street shop as a launching pad and name, the two friends launched Court denima range of jeans just for women.
For spring/summer 2012 Court has used some equestrian detailing and is continuing with their Americana feel. As far as fabric, Court is incorporating linen and premium quality denim. Inspiration lies in two of the greatest cities: New York and Paris. But also takes us back to the era of bell bottoms, hippies, peace and love: the 70s. The line is being sold at a selection of other shops including Bona Drag, Eva and Urban Outfitters.
Having recently shot their spring/summer 2012 lookbook, we caught up with Nicole Tondre to talk all things denim and Court. - Interview by Hana May
Who makes up the Court team and what are your various titles? Shikhar Shah, Owner Nicole Tondre, Designer Lisa Fuller, Brand Manager
Why did Court initially decide to do denim?
As retailers, we could never find exactly what we wanted from denim in the marketeither great fit and way too expensive or the other way around. We couldn't find a line with the right fit, right mood, at the right price.
What is the Court team's background in denim?
Shikhar Shahs family has been manufacturing, exporting and retailing denim for over 30 years. His father was one of the founders of MEXX in the 80's. They own and operate all of our factories and washhouses.
I have a background in denim and outerwear design. My late store Circa Now and now Court specialize in high-waisted denim both vintage and designer.
How do you balance being a retailer and running a denim brand?
Its not easy! In January, we will move our headquarters out of our store into a design/showroom space and will put separate teams into place to manage the 2 sides of the business.
What are some of the major challenges you see as a small business?
Cash flow. Money to grow. Needing more staff.
What are some advantages of being a small business?
Immediate hands on feedback from the customers, which is helping fine tune our fits. I get to see what Ive designed from inception to actually on the customer, so I can see whats working and what needs improvements.
What's usually the first thing girls say when they come out of the room with a pair of high-waisteds on?
That their ass looks amazing.
Historically when did high-waisted denim first make an appearance?
Historically, pants were meant to be worn at the natural waist. Im just trying to bring girls back to a natural waist fit, pants sitting at the smallest part of the waist. Going with, rather than against, the natural shape.
Where does your love from high-waisted denim come from?
See above! But also, I dont like it when its crazy high. Thats not flattering either. It should sit just at or below the belly button for the most natural, feminine, timeless and flattering shape.
High-waisted denim seems to be more flattering, is this true for most body types?
Not all, but most. Some girls prefer a lower jean and we offer it in almost every wash in our Midrise or Crissy Fit.
What's one thing people usually don't know about denim?
How much time and care (blood sweat and tears) is put into the fit, wash development, detail and production.
What's the hardest part?
Getting a consistent fit in various denims with different stretch, shrinkage, dying techniques. And trying to fit a very broad range of body types and offer all sizes. We constantly agonize over and update our patterns every season to achieve a perfect fit for all the ladies out there.
What denim trends will be popular for spring/summer 2012?
We are continuing with our classic Americana feel. As usual, no tricks or embellishments for us although we have added the Brie shorts with an equestrian style metal buckle and woven details. We are moving away from all the bright colors we saw last spring and into nice muted, soft tones.
What kinds of denim will be popular?
We are doing a linen blend in our Redding jean. We are also doing a few rigids without stretch for ladies. They just achieve better washes and break in so beautifully over the years. Premium, durable denim is always popular, and lots of vintage inspired and clean classic washes.
What sort of denim styles will be in the Court denim S/S '12 collection?
Lots of clean, classic shorts, cropped jeans jackets, cropped straight leg jeans and of course our staple, the high waist skinny.
What inspired the upcoming collection?
There's some nods to the 70'NYC and Paris street style of the 70's and of today. The jeans we want to be living in.
What should we be prepared to pair with our denim for S/S 12?
Pretty feminine blouses, and flowy crop tops for our high-waisted staples.
Best denim designer of all time?
Three (or four) celebrities dead or alive that wear denim better than the rest of them:
Jane Birkin, Erin Wasson, Cindy Crawford and Kate Moss.