Stacey Bendet on the Pants That Started Alice + Olivia and Why "Color Uplifts"

“Is that Lady Gaga?” Alice + Olivia’s founder, CEO, and creative director arrived at POPSUGAR Play/Ground in an all-pink outfit with serious black eyeliner and some of the highest wedges in the game. Her BFF Jenny Mollen did a double-take when she greeted Stacey ahead of their panel with our very own Lisa Sugar. We, too, were immediately taken by her personal style. Bendet is most known for her iconic label Alice + Olivia, which was founded in 2002 and named after her mother.

While Alice + Olivia is known for its adorable dresses, it was actually bell-bottom pants that started the whole line. Bendet “didn’t come from a traditional fashion background” but rather was walking through Manhattan and, as she says, “I bought these crazy striped fabrics, and I was like, ‘I want to make these into pants’ and the woman I was working for helped me with my first pattern. . . . All of our bell-bottomed jeans are based off of these original pants. The Alice + Olivia style has always had a bit of a ’70s feel to it.”

Alice + Olivia wasn’t just a style trailblazer, but a market trailblazer too. “It was the beginning of the contemporary market. We were establishing this new market in fashion where there was something in between street and designer.” The prices are right in the middle, which gives women the opportunity to feel put-together and luxurious in a way that won’t break the bank.

With iconic style all her own, Stacey’s advice for embracing color is surprisingly simple: “Dress in what makes you feel good.” Plus, just in time for Summer, “color uplifts. When you put on a beautiful color, it changes your day.” Catch us in an all-pink ensemble all season long.

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