Talking to Stacey Bendet

...The woman behind whimsical fashion brand Alice + Olivia

“I’m so, so excited to be opening in Austin!” Stacey Bendet, owner of fashion favorite Alice + Olivia exclaimed just seconds after we got on the phone. “I love Austin. We did a charity event there one year with Matthew McConaughey for his foundation (JK Livin’). I went with my daughter and we had so much fun. After I started to hear about retail opportunities and I knew I had to do it because Austin is so our girl. The energy of Austin, the youthfulness, the lifestyle, it’s a powerful place and it’s fun and it’s modern and so the Alice + Oliva woman.”

Alice + Olivia opened their first Austin store August 5 at Music Lane and I had a chance to chat with her just before the big day. A+O has always been a big seller at my store (Estilo Boutique) and Bendet was quick to say, “Historically when we open stores in cities where there are other stores that carry our clothes, they do better too because it creates more of an energy and vibe around the brand.”

And while we’re super excited to keep selling the fun frocks and perfectly tailored pants, we’re looking forward to seeing what they do at their store. “I love the way the city is developing and what Austin authentically is,” Bendet says. “Our customer likes to go in and shop and we want to do a lot of parties and collaborate with local musicians and artists and charities and be involved in the community. I open in places where I feel like it’s our world, our squad and the energy of our brand.”

For Fall Bendet says, “I think girls are going to be bold, sexy and edgy. Spring/Summer was floral and romance and I think in the Fall people are going to want to go out and look hot,” adding, “We’ve been selling so many dresses now but in August and September we gave it a punky edge because I think there will be a feeling of freedom and edginess and more rocker chic.” In general she says of her often colorful clothes, “I try to make the year into a rainbow. You can’t put every color in every delivery but every month I look at having a strong color to give women something fresh and fun to wear.”

If you’re looking for fashion advice, Bendet says, “My advice to people is recognize who you are and allow your clothes to express that rather than chasing a trend. At your core, how do you feel like the best version of you? Is it in a fancy dress? Is it in a pair of bellbottom jeans? Really recognize that and make your fashion choices around who you are. Your clothes are your self-expression, they are tools that allow you to share the best version of you with the world.” We agree.

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