Trish Wescoat Pound Talks Haute Hippie in the Hamptons
by danine alati
Her aesthetic has been called a hybrid of hippy/gypsy/couture/nomad plus a little bit country and a little bit rock ’n’ roll. An alumnus of Theory, Michael Kors, Liz Claiborne, and Calvin Klein, designer Trish Wescoat Pound launched her women’s clothing brand Haute Hippie in 2008. And after several summers in a temporary retail space in Southampton, she has expanded into her first permanent yearround address in East Hampton. While still maintaining her seasonal Southampton store, Pound now will be able to better cater to East End trendsetters, offering her “Ro-Bo” (rock ’n’ roll bohemian) style in multiple Hamptons venues.
“The Hamptons for me is chic, yet relaxed. It’s a natural location for us,” Pound says of herself, daughter Jillian, and husband Jesse. “It was really easy for us to find this place in the Hamptons because it’s like a permanent home—sexy and sophisticated, but there’s that inherent ease. So many of our customers either vacation here, spend summers here, or are year-round residents, like we are, so it’s the perfect brand location for us.”
A fan of melding her personal and business worlds, Pound submerges herself in spaces that fuel her creative genius. “The Hamptons are extremely inspirational. In fact, this year we created a design studio here—a little house out back,” Pound reveals. “It allows my designers to be in this environment so they can design for this environment.” She describes the studio as a “little traveling commune” or “summer camp for designers,” because it immerses them in their inspirational setting. “It makes us better at what we do, and hopefully that translates to the customers and makes them feel better about what we make,” she says.
Heavily influenced by Pound’s personal musical tastes—from country to alternative to folk, with obvious references to Stevie Nicks—all Haute Hippie collections feature prints with musically inspired names. A current style called “Sweet Home Alabama” mixes a plaid shirt with a big floral skirt. Travel experiences also inform her designs, and she includes authentic cultural references in her collections that are at once laid-back rocker, global nomad, and urban chic. The “All Things Gold” Resort 2012 collection, a collaboration with Jamaican hospitality company Island Outpost’s GoldenEye Hotel—helmed by legendary record producer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chris Blackwell—reflects an island sensibility that’s aligned with Haute Hippie’s design philosophy. The collection, which will be available later this year, represents “a true meeting of the minds,” says Pound.
Perhaps Pound’s preferred, nontraditional work style stems from her company’s early days, which began with five employees operating all aspects of the business out of her apartment. Now, just four years later, Haute Hippie has expanded to be sold in 40 countries worldwide and at more than 100 retailers in the United States, including Bergdorf Goodman, Net-a-Porter, Saks Fifth Avenue, and its own freestanding stores in New York City and East Hampton. Celebrities including Brooklyn Decker, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, and Maria Menounos have all been seen wearing her designs.
Pound feels that her collections—her women’s clothing and accessories and the new Haute Hoodie line, which includes her first foray into menswear—reflect a Hamptons sensibility. “The Hamptons, for me, is summer. When I think summer, I think Hamptons,” she says. In effort to “create things that people want to wear when they’re here [in the Hamptons],” Pound designs ultra-feminine dresses and romantic, flowing skirts in bold prints and saturated colors. Her latest collection is “really anything that you could wear to the beach or for après beach,” she says.
Haute Hoodie reflects a more relaxed weekend vibe with Italian wool sweaters, leather jackets, and suede vests. Another subset of her brand is Haute Hoodie Beneath, which includes sexy underpinnings, such as boy shorts and camisoles that can be worn to bed, to the beach, or out for the evening. Favoring juxtaposition in her pairings, Pound will opt to throw a poncho and fur over a sleek evening gown or layer a chunky sweater with a beaded dress and vintage belt. She aims for the unpredictable, boho-chic aesthetic, “designing for the gyp-set, not the jet-set.” 20 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 324-5134; 66 Jobs Lane, Southampton, 283-2280
photography by eric striffler; kevin mazur/wireimage.com (lopez)