For Lorry Newhouse, transitioning from the art world into a career in fashion design was a natural evolution. “The two exist side by side in my life and always have,” says Newhouse, who was classically trained as a painter at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and studied filmmaking at Yale University. Later, learning pattern-making and corset work at top fashion houses in Paris, Newhouse began making gloves and tops before designing separates and eveningwear, and ultimately releasing her inaugural 35-piece womenswear collection last year. “I’ve been designing clothes all my life. The [process of] launching the line was very organic,” she says. “It was the right time to do it. Though the economy is struggling a bit, women want and need to feel beautiful. I especially focus on my collection having dresses that women can wear from day to evening.”
As the story goes, Newhouse was on her way out of the Carolina Herrera runway show last year when someone stopped her to ask whose design she was wearing; Newhouse responded that the burnt taffeta navy dress was her own design. This event, along with accumulating historic and contemporary couture fashion throughout the years, served as the impetus to launch her eponymous line. With a style that she describes as classic with a modern twist and using her daughter, Charlotte, as her muse—“she looks amazing in all the styles,” Newhouse admits—her first collection included elegant gowns, sheer blouses, and cropped jackets.
The designer has taken a different approach for her sophomore collection, due out this fall. “I kept the climate in mind for the second collection. We’ve been having such unusually warm weather,” Newhouse explains. “I was especially inspired this season to do fabrics veiled on the body similar to how women wear them in the Middle East and India. My designs have a more romantic twist to them in the summertime as well.”
For warm August nights in the Hamptons, Newhouse calls her white organza dress with a bow at the waist the perfect summer ensemble. Appreciating the escape from hectic city life for the solace of her summer home in Southampton, Newhouse says of her time spent on the East End, “I tend my garden, visit the art shows, and go to the beach. I like to get away from the city and relax. I look forward to going to Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center and having my whole extended family over for a week at my house.”
Newhouse is also throwing an event for the American Cancer Society at her Southampton home later this month, and she participated in the second annual Shop at Sunset, a charity event founded by Gail Rothwell that unites retailers in East Hampton and Sag Harbor to raise funds for The Retreat, the only agency on the East End to provide comprehensive aid to victims of domestic abuse. With her women’s clothing line sold at Gail Rothwell in East Hampton, Newhouse supported Rothwell’s initiative on August 9 by donating a portion of her sales to the charity. “We are so happy to be [featured] in Gail Rothwell this summer in East Hampton. She has picked the best styles of the collection,” Newhouse says, adding, “We believe that the [Shop at Sunset] event brings together both the year-rounders as well as the summer residents to support this worthy cause.”
Although Newhouse’s designs are relatively new to the fashion world, she’s already gained quite a following—not surprising, considering her husband’s family is the very same Newhouse that runs media conglomerate Condé Nast. However, Newhouse feels distanced from her famous name; a self-proclaimed fledging designer, she told Women’s Wear Daily: “I don’t have any expectations from my relationship to the business. Most people think I just get invited to shows because my last name is Newhouse. I am not really connected…. My husband is on the newspaper side of the business. It’s his brother who is involved with the fashion magazines.” But it seems it won’t be long until Newhouse’s designs grace the pages of those very magazines—plans are in the works for upcoming fall fashion features, as she’s already struck a chord with bloggers and the fashion-forward set, including Rachel Zoe. Newhouse admits the short list of celebrities whom she would love to dress include Léa Seydoux, Kristen Wiig, Devon Aoki, and Rihanna.
For now, Newhouse has no plans to open her own boutique just yet. Besides being stocked in Gail Rothwell on the East End, Lorry Newhouse will be carried in select high-end boutiques throughout the US including Bloomingdale’s in New York City. Gail Rothwell, 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 324-6666