Fashion designer Nanette Lepore is taking teen dressing personally.
Inspired by her daughter Violet, Lepore has launched L'Amour Nanette Lepore, a fun junior designer collection that's perfect for back-to-school and available exclusively at JCPenney.
The collection is grounded in inspirations from Lepore's brand as well as her teenage daughter, with denim, pants, skirts, knit and woven tops, dresses and sportswear jackets featuring updated vintage elements mixed with bold colors and prints.
The Garment District-based designer talks about raising a teenager in New York and her inspiration behind creating an extension clothing brand that's dressing the new teenage girls who are smart, creative and have a strong sense of self and style -- just like Violet.
Q: Why did you choose JCPenney for a junior line?
A: I was ready to have a brand extension, and I've been watching my daughter's style develop. Since she's come out of that preteen age, she's more creative with her clothing. She's my muse.
Q: How long did the process take to make the line?
A: We started the line when she was 15, a year ago. It's a long process from idea to when the clothes are shipped to the stores to sell.
Q: Why did you partner with JCPenney?
A: I have a soft spot in my heart for JCPenney. My parents gave me unlimited use of JCPenney to buy anything for my sewing.
Q: How do you describe the L'Amour brand?
A: It's playful and very happy. I love the fun prints, colors and layering. It's also at an affordable price point.
Q: What do you think of the 40-year-old mother and the 16-year-old daughter wearing the same clothes?
A: It depends on how you wear it. I really want the track pants, but I'll wear them with a blazer. My daughter ... will wear them with a crop top.
Q: Where does your daughter go to school?
A: She goes to a downtown arts school in the West Village.
Q: What's the biggest challenge of raising a daughter and working?
A: It's hard to find the time to spend with her, and I feel sad that I've missed out on certain times. I am able to carve out time since I run my own show. But I do work very long hours.
Q: What do you guys do together?
A: We shop, love spas and share movie time.
Q: Where do you shop?
A: We go to JCPenney and I drag her to flea markets. She's getting better about loving vintage. She loves LF and Topshop.
Q: Which spas do you like?
A: Violet is a spa girl. We want to go to the Trump Soho ... and we do love spas when we go on vacation. Violet treats my house in the Hamptons like a spa. She goes from the salt water to pools.
Q: Why did you pick SoHo for your flagship?
A: I love that neighborhood: between NoLIta and SoHo. It's where I want to be. The store has been there for 10 years. We were pioneers in that neighborhood.
Q: Why the name L'Amour?
A: We wanted something that played off my name and to build a brand that was young and sophisticated. I like the French aspect of it.
Q: How are you going to spend Labor Day?
A: Working. I'll be working because of our fashion show [in early September during Fashion Week].
Q: What's the inspiration for spring 2015?
A: Sunny. We love sunshine and happiness. We are using aqua and pink. It's going to feel floaty with caftans and what women just want to throw on in the summer.
Q: Any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
A: Have a a lot of fun and take chances. Life is a party. Life is tough. Live with family and friends close together. Clothing you choose shows how you feel. It's all a part of it.