LuAnn de Lesseps can now add another hyphenate to her title. The model-nurse-TV personality is going into fashion with her own clothing collection.
Lesseps first hit it big six years ago when she landed a role on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.” Then came a book on manners, “Class with the Countess: How to Live with Elegance and Flair,” as well as two hit songs: “Chic, C’est La Vie” and “Money Can’t Buy You Class.”
With her debut collection, the East Coast native, better known as “Countess LuAnn,” combines her love for travel, entertaining and a vibrant lifestyle with elegant yet affordable styles.
The NYC-made Countess Luann Collection debuts on Shop HQ Saturday at 1 p.m. Before the launch, the Countess talks summer styles and gives us tips on how to be well dressed for this upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
Q: Who’s your favorite dress designer?
A: My favorite dress designer is Michael Kors. I also just bought a great dress from [Roberto] Cavalli. I wore it to the opening of Tavern on the Green [on May 12].
Q: Why did you go into fashion?
A: I wanted to launch a sportswear collection: three dresses, three pairs of pants, three blouses and a cropped jacket. The on-trend collection of figure-flattering and easy-to-mix-and-match styles features a signature swirl pleated jersey dress with a hint of stretch in my favorite vivid pastels and prints, jewel-toned cut-out and animal print sheaths, the perfect cropped jacket, lace pants, a classic stretch ponte slim leg black pant and beautiful printed sheer tops.
Q: What’s unique about this line?
A: I created a line women shouldn’t live without. These items can stand alone or be mixed into an existing wardrobe. With this collection you know you are dressed right for the occasion. And most are priced under $100.
Q: Who’s your female icon?
A: Sophia Loren. She’s sophisticated, elegant and a great beauty. I also admire Diane von Fürstenberg and what she’s done to inspire and empower women while looking great.
Q: Why are manners so important to you?
A: Without good manners what do you have? Money can’t buy it. When you strip someone down to the bare roots and take away all their worldly things, all they have is how they behave towards other people.
Q: Is reality TV good for branding?
A: It can be. It’s given me an amazing platform to highlight what I care about — philanthropy, manners, good style and music.
Q: What did you want to accomplish with your own clothing line?
A: Women are busy, and it’s work to put yourself together. With my collection, I want to take the stress out of dressing.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Classic with an edge.
Q: What are your essentials for a fun Memorial Day weekend?
A: Eres bathing suit, bottle of wine form Gabriella wines (Teres Rosé from the South of France that I love) Eric Javits handbag, compact and Rose Quartz lipstick from Chanel, Jo Malone Grapefruit fragrance and glasses from Cohen’s Fashion Optical.
Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
A: It’s better to overdress than underdress.