Designer to Know: Layla Racy and the Great Outdoors

Designer to Know: Layla Racy and the Great Outdoors
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Layla Racys got good instincts. They guided the 30-year-old designer while she created her self-titled debut line for spring/summer 2011 and it was picked up by arbiter-of-hip Opening Ceremony and the Gargyle boutique in the Lower East Side.

I fall in love with a print first and thats really what drives my collection, Racy says.

For spring/summer, that print was a leopard with the heads of the exotic cat, putting Racy in the same ranks as Christopher Kane and his gorilla prints. For fall, the backbone of the collection is arich foliage-tonedpaisley in reds, oranges and greens.

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Into the wild: the leopard pants from Racy’s spring collection.

Racys childhood, spent in the outdoors of her small Connecticut hometown, inspired this affinity for nature in her designs.The washed silks she favors are crafted in simple, loose shapes that eschew the overtly sexy in favor of a creative elegance.

I was always a tomboy so I wanted clothes that are comfortable.”

She isn’t the only one. After nearly selling out at Opening Ceremony, Racys line is expanding from seven pieces for spring/summer to twelve for fall/winter. The Parsons grad created a more extensive collection with jackets and ponchos for colder temperatures.

In order to keepthe focus of the line on the quality of the clothes, rather than being mass-produced and low priced, the pieces are craftedin New York City to support local pattern makers and fabric stores. The hands-on designer was also able to see her collection grow every step of the way.

I had to be able to run back and forth each day to see my stuff, Racy says.

Her hard work is paying off. The fall line will be available at the Opening Ceremony LA post also.

Basically I design stuff that I want to wear, Racy says. We’re glad she followed her instinct.

The Layla Racy fall/winter 2011 collection will be available at Opening Ceremony and Gargyle by August. Take a look at the collection in the slideshow above.

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