Cozying-up to her lush and over sized wool scarf on a cool and damp afternoon, Catherine Holstein embodies the superior sense of style she executes in her line, “Most of my focus is comfort,” she said, “I think comfort is the key to being confident. There is nothing worse than a girl who looks uncomfortable in what she is wearing.” Overdone to perfection is quite painful to Holstein, literally, “Even with heels it kills me because I always buy them, and love them, but they end up just sitting there because at the end of the night I always regret wearing them, I wish I could be one of those girls who can run around in heels,” said Holstein.
We don’t. We love the girl who delivers clothes for everyday cobble stone hopping in downtown Manhattan with her same relaxed attitude. Raised in London, Holstein caters to a New York fashion sense with a solid influence from her hometown. This influence runs subtly through each of her collections without hitting you over the head.
An artist at heart and hand, Holstein stumbled upon designing through her sister who was working in fashion around the time she contemplated her career path, “I have been drawing since I was 12 years old, and I would steal my sister’s designs. But I was always more interested in illustrating and painting, so I did kind of fall into designing,” she said, ” Then I did a project, and it sold to Barney’s and that was it.”
For her latest collection, Holstein paid close attention to the economic downturn, not only by choosing high quality but less costly fabrics, but by encapsulating our present mood and hesitation about the future, “The economy plays a huge role, especially for someone like me who is very new and young, and trying to hit a price point that will sell. So my collection took on it’s own persona, like a railroad pushing through, kind of a vagabond passing through the night and passing through the dark times, no home, no destination in sight, just moving through,” she explained, “then that sort of creature of the night came to take on a kind of vampire darkness.”
A dear friend to the designer, Jessica Stam, circulated through the crowd at Holstein’s fall presentation last month, wearing a coveted flannel button down from the line, “Jessica definitely embodies the girl I want to dress,” explained Holstein, “but don’t get me wrong, I love to dress everyone!”
Exuding a lightness and positivity, Holstein is humble and kept in perspective by her family, “I have a lot of siblings all of whom do different things. I have a brother who was in the army and now works for a defense consulting firm, he is always off to Iraq and Afghanistan, he can hardly ever tell us where he is going. I look at him and am like, you DO something, I just make clothes, no one is going to die,” she laughed. Certainly not deadly, but surely swoon-worthy is Holstein’s plan to expand on her separates, meaning more t-shirts and draped jersey to pair with her impeccably pleated high waisted pants.