Designer Spotlight: Alice Ritter

The fashion incubator at the CFDA, or the Council of Fashion Designers of America, has fostered the growth of many up and coming designers by allowing them a low-cost creative and professional environment to hone their craft. By supplying 12 chosen designers with business mentoring, networking opportunities, educational seminars, and studio space, the Fashion Incubator helps the designers reach their full potential and has been supporting many up and coming talents, such as French-born, New York native, Alice Ritter1.

Though Ritter’s life was not revolved around fashion, her childhood shaped her dreams to be a fashion designer early on as she tried vintage dresses on in her grandmother’s closet and attempted to sketch complicated designs. Influenced early on by designers such as Yves Saint Lauren, Balmain, and Chanel, Ritter would not bring her childhood dreams into fruition until much later in life. Working as a music publicist in Paris, it would not be until her move to New York with her American boyfriend that Ritter would buy her first sewing machine and embark on her much successful path as a fashion designer. The clean slate of moving to New York cleared the way for her to move away from her current job and city and be reborn as a designer. Taking fashion classes at night and ripping apart vintage clothing to examine their construction all led up to her melded French and New York style. Her clothes had their beginnings at a Brooklyn boutique called Isa, where they sold out within a week, followed by an offer from GenArt to take part in the Fresh Faces in Fashion Show, which showed her first complete ready to wear collection in 2006. From then on, her success was highlighted with winning the UPS Fashion Forward award followed by a solo fashion show at Bryant Park. A member of the Fashion Incubator for the years 2010-2012, Alice has come out with a style that is “feminine, romantic, and bold1.” Her designs can be purchased at Barney’s NYC, Kirna Zabete, Leontine, and Suite Orchard3.

Ritter’s design aesthetic is marked by romantic, soft lines with an edge of tough Parisian chic. Think flowing blouses with tailored trousers atop a pair of converse sneakers. Think eyelet lace, ribbon ties, ruffled pantaloons, and the traditional French sailor stripe. Her clothes speak of comfort and versatility, with Ritter trying to create the “perfect uniform” to take a woman from day to night. If Ritter can’t picture herself wearing the clothes, she simply doesn’t make them. This is where the personality shines through in all of her designs, where you can clearly see her personal experience as a Parisian girl uprooted and living in New York. It’s femininity paired with masculinity, it’s romance mixed with business, it’s “French Romantic meets Annie Hall2.”

Her Spring 2010 collection was marked with pastel colors, light draped fabrics, pleated rose pinks, dust blue suits, ribbon tied harem pants, crisp white button downs, flirty rompers, and floor skimming maxi dresses. Fall 2010 brought with it the pantaloons and tailored pieces of the spring, but in autumn hues of olive green, navy, and brown. Plaid replaced pastels, wool replaced sheer fabrics, and the occasional pop of red was introduced. Spring 2011 showed us more austere, streamlined cuts, hues of pale orange, olive green, and grays coloring the loose fitting sweaters and jackets. The timeless beige trench made an appearance, along with comfortable sweater dresses and tiered, ruffled dresses. The most recent fall/winter collection of 2012 presented a much sleeker and more courageous Ritter, with the introduction of Eastern European type embroidery and experimentation with bold print and color. We saw luxuriously deep red leather jackets, layered and belted sweaters, calf length skirts, wool trousers, and tassle tied shirts, all atop Ritter’s signature loose fitting shirts.

Written By: Anna R.


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