Sunday, April 27, 2008

Donna Ricco - Life feels different in a dress

I recently found this lovely site with the most amazing, gorgeous and fashionable dresses. The name of the designer is Donna Ricco,

In Europe and America, dresses are worn by females of all ages as an alternative to a separate skirt and blouse or trousers. Dresses are often used by young girls and as more formal attire by adult women.

There is something so feminine about wearing dresses. It seems that the look has finally been discovered again. But for much more than evening, prom, and cocktail hour.

The following is from her web site. Check out the dresses and more.

“For years, the word ‘dress’ was something girls associated with their mothers and grandmothers. Now I have people coming up to me and saying ‘Wow, Donna! What a great idea, a dress company.’ I just laugh. I’ve been wearing dresses since I opened the company 20 years ago. But I think it’s so great – not just that women like me are loving the idea of wearing dresses again, but that a whole new generation is discovering them, too. I mean, the dress is totally new to them. But suddenly, it makes such perfect sense…”

A conversation with Donna Ricco at her New York studio (a studio that, far from corporate, hums with the quiet chatter of assistants and the sounds of sewing machines) reveals that there is a great deal about the woman herself that also makes perfect sense. “I think growing up in the Midwest has helped keep me grounded,” she says, dodging a dressmaker’s dummy before sitting down. “I’m focused. My values haven’t changed. They’re still about keeping things straightforward and simple.” Defining herself as an “optimist,” and a woman for whom the design process remains “intensely personal,” she adds, “I have students coming into my studio who think that my life is like some episode of Project Runway. It isn’t, of course. When I first taught myself to sew as a teenager, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a fashion designer. I wasn’t making clothes for my Barbie at age 3 or reading Vogue or anything. I did it for my own pleasure and because I was good at it.”

After three years spent pursuing a Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Ricco moved to the fashion department of a small liberal arts college nearby, Mount Mary College. “I didn’t know if I wanted to be a commercial artist or a teacher,” she says. “And I wasn’t sure I could support myself as an artist. But I had been sewing all those years and experimenting. Just being creative.” Her hands-on experience with some of the more technical aspects of design such as draping, pattern-making and illustration transformed the teenage pleasures of sewing into the passion that would shape her career. “I finally subscribed to Women’s Wear Daily, the bible of fashion, and would page through it every week at home. It seemed so exciting, the amazing stories about New York. It really did inspire me.” For some, her decision to “drop everything and move to New York” with her husband and partner-to-be might seem reckless or impulsive. For her, it was “just common sense. We were both ready to do something different and he knew I had some talent. So we went.”

Three children and 20-odd years later, Donna Ricco is as committed and alive as ever to the challenges of running a successful dress design company. “I am my customer,” she explains. “And I’m doing this to make women feel good about themselves. After all this time, I’ve learned that if I know what works for me, if I can wear it and feel great in it, my customer will, too.” As for the world’s recent love affair with the dress? Ricco believes that it has more to do with women than with the ins and outs of fashion. “Women are re-thinking their lives and how they want to present themselves. They exercise and take care of their skin. They work at it and they’re feeling confident about who they are. Wearing a dress is a natural expression of that confidence.” Pausing for a moment, she laughs. “It’s also part of keeping things straightforward and simple, you know?”

andrea nicole baker


Anonymous said...

You are one hot dressing lady!

Anonymous said...