Spotlight on a New Designer: Jane Oh

Jane Oh skirt in Elle Denmark February 2011

Ann, have I ever told you the story about how I discovered the very first designer for my boutique?

I was at market for the first time in New York in February 2010 with my director of marketing — and sister — Mary Joyce. We were there buying for Fall 2010.  Although still in my practice of law with a boutique that was nearly six months away from opening its doors, I had been thinking nonstop about the collection that I wanted to create. During many sleepless nights I would use all my newfound time reviewing in my mind the types of designs I wanted to carry and the designers I wanted to feature.   Like a detailed teenage day-dream about your wedding day with a faceless groom at the end of the aisle, I had an imaginary boutique filled with beautiful things that I just couldn’t see clearly.  What I hoped to find to bring this blurry image to life were essential, elegant and enlightened designs that were timelessly chic but oh-so-current.

The Fall shows for more established designers — Coterie –are held at the Piers or the Javits Center. A show of smaller or new designers, called Designers & Agents or “D&A,” is often at the Chelsea Art Museum and in other cavernous spaces downtown.  Each venue is a sea of designers and buyers, blaring music and parading models.  As Mary Joyce and I were running through the 14th Floor of the Starrett-Lehigh building, thinking we had seen all there was to see that day, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a great looking black jacket in an all-black collection. Hoping I had found the source for my Washington, DC LBD, we stopped. We looked. And we found the debut collection of Jane Oh.

We met Jane and learned her story.

A few months later, Women’s Wear Daily named her “Fresh Talent” and wrote the following about her:

“Jane Oh was surrounded by fashion practically from the day she was born. Her mother owns the denim manufacturer Stone Blue Inc. in her native Los Angeles. And when Oh, now 30, received a business degree from the University of Southern California in 2002, mom offered her a job at the company, where she spent the next year learning the production and design ropes. ‘I started making my own clothes,’ she says, ‘and showed them to a buyer for the first time. I showed her, like, 70 things, with no storyline or anything.’ The buyer’s reaction? ‘Wow, you don’t know what you’re doing,’ Oh recalls now, with a laugh. That harsh reality check prompted her to enroll at Parsons The New School for Design in 2003.

Collection: Oh culls her inspiration from the posh and polished Fifties, à la Audrey Hepburn. And the designer, who also interned in the accessories department at Marc Jacobs and with the footwear licensee of Michael Kors, knows full well what a cliché it is to name the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as her main influence — but it is. ‘Ever since I was little I always wished we could dress like that, with the gloves and the hats,’ Oh says. ‘There’s just something very sexy and confident about that look.’ Her debut collection, to that end, works a Parisian sophisticate vibe with plenty of LBDs, whether sheath-style or poufed, and beribboned jackets, blouses and dresses.”

We wrote a BIG order for Fall ’10 with Jane Oh and were absolutely thrilled to be the only source in Washington, DC for her designs. Her collections have evolved in color and style, each one reveling in nostalgic Hollywood glamour.

And here are a few of her creations:

  Holiday 2010

Spring 2011

Jane went plaid for Fall 2011

And now celebrities have found her, too! (Lauren Bush, Jena Malone, and January Jones)

And the spectacular black jacket that caught my eye at D&A was at the very center of my first collection at Julia Farr. Ann, I must say, you look fabulous in it!

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