I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Why? Because I get the chance to work with my son!
About 10 months ago, my son, Robert, and I started our own label, VACCA. Now we begin almost every morning together with a business meeting that could touch on anything from fabrics to finances.
Many times these meetings take place at our family home in the museum towers above MoMA. I feel so inspired there, the light and energy that comes in from our panoramic view on the 39th floor makes me feel a part of Manhattan, a part of the world. I love spending time at our home where I am surrounded by some of my favorite things: the art that was given to me by my husband and oversized photographs from around the world taken by my son on family vacations.
I am also surrounded by my collection of ancient robes made of silks from my home country, Uzbekistan. The beautiful Ikat designs on these robes were actually the main inspiration for VACCA's Spring/Summer 2011 collection. Many of the fabrics that we used in the collection are woven by hand and shipped over from Uzbekistan. I love Ikat prints not only because they speak to me of my heritage, but also because they have influenced many artists including Chagall and Kandinsky.
Not a weekend passes without us talking business or working at the office. We sit at brunch with my son's girlfriend, Kelly, who works at Vogue, and ask each other, "How did it all start and why fashion?" About 20 years ago when Robert was small he would sometimes come with me to work. First it was at Burberry, then at Turnbull and Asser. I always asked his opinion regarding anything I was doing, whether it was a display, choosing fabrics for the next collection, or writing a report to my boss. He was always so bright and it was fun to hear his suggestions.
Julie with her son, Robert
Now, 20 years later we have VACCA! VACCA is a fashion forward label inspired by our other family business, Domenico Vacca, my husband's label. His is a rapidly growing empire of sartorial stores and a new luxury denim label, DV Denim. Both of his companies have become favorites of Saudi royals and A-list Hollywood celebrities. The most important men in my life, my husband and my son, encourage me always to reach for more and to be exactly who I feel I must be. I am 100% percent certain that if I were married to anyone else I would never have had the courage to start my own label.
VACCA was presented for the first time at Lincoln Center during the S/S 2011 fashion week. I was very happy that, from our first season, both Harrods and Tsum recognized the unique approach of the brand. And I am happy to say that we are delivering the collection to them this month! What was also touching and important to me was the support I received from my friends surrounding the inaugural presentation. One friend flew from London for the day to be there with me while another chose not to miss it even though she had a high fever, and because she lives in three countries she has become an ambassador of the brand. As you can see, my friends play a major role in my life. The night after the presentation, I celebrated with my friend from London over a five hour dinner at The Lion in Greenwich Village. We had some great laughs that night--and a few good tears.
I find fashion really fascinating. It's an industry that allows me to combine so many of the things I love in my work, whether it's classic movies, the work of modern architects like Renzo Piano and Norman Foster, or the art of Giacometti and Modigliani. Music, too, plays a major role as a vein for the simplicity or complexity of life. So, to work with my design team, who are some of the most talented people in the fashion world, and to work alongside my son (who, besides working with me, is pursuing his MBA at Stern), and to have the strong support of my family and friends--I consider myself to be very lucky. For me, it's for sure a family affair!
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