My Favorite...Leather and Lace Party Dress
Kim Schraub, designer and co-founder of Love Leather, shares the story behind this stunning Christopher Kane dress.
Sometimes, serendipity intervenes to put just the perfect garment in one's path. That's just what happened when Love Leather designer and co-founder Kim Schraub (who honed her craft at Victoria's Secret) came face to face with this gorgeous Christopher Kane dress while attending a friend's destination wedding. Like her own line, which is available at Colette in Paris, Browns in London, and H. Lorenzo in LA, this special piece is innovative, classic and fun.
How did this stunning dress come into your life? "I had a wedding in St. Barth's, Jennifer [Zuccarini of Fleur du Mal]'s wedding, and I had something that I was going to wear but wasn't super crazy about it. And I always loved that Christopher Kane collection, Fall 2010. It was a lot of leather, lace, and embroidery on top of leather and lace, and I always gravitate towards things that have a bustier top or bra influences because I worked in lingerie for so long at Victoria's Secret. So I always liked that sort of corset thing. I was staying at the Eden Rock in St. Barth's, and I was very unhappy with the dress I was going to be wearing. I went down to the store,and they had all this designer stuff on sale. It was probably a $6,000 dress and when I found it—and it was the perfect size, perfect everything—it was 240 Euros or something crazy like that. I was like, 'This is meant to be, I'm supposed to wear this dress.'"
What do you love about it? "It's got a lot going on. It's super ornate, and it's got a lot of structure, and then it's got lace, it's got leather, it's got corseting. It's that perfect casual-but-special sort of thing! And I usually spend my money on accessories, and shoes and bags and coats and stuff, and I go pretty simple with everything else; I definitely buy a lot of vintage. It's not like I have a closet full of designer dresses—maybe vintage designer stuff, and a lot of basics. So this is the perfect thing. [Also], it's from 2010, but I still feel like it's cool. And a lot of stuff looks dated to me easily; I tend to stay away from obvious seasonal fashion, but it has that thing that it doesn't feel like it's been around so much."
How do you like to wear it? "Well, it's short, it has a corset top, the center part is black leather, and the sides have cut-out black lace. And it has a lot of Asian, sort of heavy embroidery. It has cups and an underwire, and otherwise the fit and shape of it are pretty simple. But all of the textures and everything going on is special. It's the kind of thing where you don't need jewelry, and I just wear simple flats with it."
The texture really is gorgeous. "It's very textured—and very short. But I tend to like things that are very short, because everyone has their thing that they can sort of work, so I'd say my legs are more of my favorite thing. So I usually like that proportion, and I often wear it with something long and drapey over it, like a drapey coat if it's cold out."
Sounds like it's escorted you to some very festive occasions! "It was my birthday the other night and I was running from a meeting to going out to dinner and I had a second to think about it, and I just threw that on. I always have fun when I'm wearing that dress, it's a conversation piece! I was in Milan for work over the summer and I wore it, and somebody came over to me and said, 'I love that Christopher Kane dress.' And I wore it in Montauk last summer, when we had a beach bonfire. It's always when I'm doing something fun. I was thinking about that dress tonight, and it made me text my friend and write, 'Will you plan a party with me?' She was like, 'Sure, what's inspiring this?' I was thinking, I don't know, we should just start planning a party. Not that I'll wear that dress necessarily, but it's definitely a party dress."
When you look at the dress, do you remember the trip when you first wore it? "I definitely remember that trip to St. Barth's, and that wedding that was so amazing. We were all dancing, and we were without our kids. That part's not very sexy, but how many times in your life do you get away with all your friends in St. Barths, celebrating. When one of your friends gets married and you're a little bit older, it seems [so] real and sincere."
How does the dress relate to your line Love Leather? "Well, it's leather, and I always gravitate towards leather because for me it's always classic, but it has an edge. What I do at Love Leather, the coolest thing that makes us the most unique is we do a lot of prints, graphics and athletic things, we have an NBA collaboration. We always try to be super innovative with leather and not just do the same leather pants you'll buy from a few different brands. Of course, we do those things because we like the basics, but being innovative with leather is what Love Leather's all about. And this dress does something similar. We also do a lot of bra tops and bustiers, in a fun, casual way, and not in an obvious sexy way, and I feel the same way about the dress."
When you see the dress hanging in your closet, what are the first words that come to mind? "Party. And effortless. I like things that are effortless and easy that I can just throw on and don't have to think about it."