“I am a woman above everything else.” – Jackie Kennedy
By taking the famous Jackie Kennedy quote “I never leave my house unless I am suitably dressed” to heart, designer Laurel Berman launched her line, Black Halo, with flawless construction, impeccable tailoring and a heavy dose of sex appeal. Black Halo is known for its popular “Jackie O” Dress that helped to transformed the way women dress today with the elegance of a single dress, inspired by fashion icon Jackie O’s timeless silhouette.
Interview with Designer Laurel Berman of Black Halo
Justin Howard for Black Chalk – Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from?
Laurel Berman for Black Halo – I grew up in Washington state, studied at the San Francisco Academy of Fashion, then moved to LA and started Black Halo in 2002.
JH – What does fashion mean to you?
LB – It’s an expression of my mood on a given day, chameleon-like, always changing and evolving.
JH – When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
LB – After I graduated from Washington State with a Political Science degree I took a look within and asked myself “What is it in my heart that I wanted to do with the rest of my life” and I realized at that moment that fashion was the thing that always mattered in my life so I set off to pursue that dream.
JH – What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
LB – A pair of Gaucho’s I made in 7th grade.
JH – How long does it usually take you to construct a piece? Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.
LB – My design process always starts with fabrics and inspiration images, then my team and I sketch and create silhouettes, that evolve into groups, that in turn become collections. We are constantly designing dresses/collections as we have over 7 deliveries to make every year.
JH – Who are some of your favorite designers?
JH – How do you select your models?
LB – My team and I come up with a particular “look” that we are going for then set up castings with the top agencies in town, narrowing down our selection until we come up with the exact line up/combination which we are seeking.
JH – Do you consider yourself an artist?
LB – I prefer to consider myself a creative entrepreneur blending Art & Commerce seamlessly.
JH – What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
LB – Proportion and fit are key for me. I review in great detail the fit of each individual garment to ensure that the specs are correct for production before shipping to our stores/customers.
JH – How do you prepare for a fashion shoot or show?
LB – My team and I find our specific inspiration for the the shoot/show in terms of art direction and follow that through from hair and make-up through castings, through the actual shoot itself.
Jh – What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
LB – Never give up no matter how many “Nos” you receive – persevere and stay true to your course.
JH – How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
LB – I take great pride in that my Point-of-View is so strong that people can easily identify my brand.
JH – Where do you get your inspiration?
LB – From museums, to travel, to vintage shopping
JH – What are your favorite fabrics to work with and why?
LB – Stretch Gabardine because of its recovery and it’s forgiving nature – easily covers up a woman’s imperfections
JH – Future Plans?
LB – We are hoping to eventually expand into shoes, sunglasses, and fragrances.