Updated: Jan 8
Let's admit it. Fashion is confusing. The enigmatic fashion girls have dominated the conversation on style for too long often leaving insufficient space for the timeless girls who do not allow trends to inform their wardrobe.
In walk Molly Moorkamp, the unabashedly chic womenswear designer ruffling the hem of the fashion industry. Moorkamp, a Fashion Institute of Technology graduate, earned her stripes working for the imitable Oscar de la Renta and the ever-classic Ralph Lauren. Not only did she have the paramount experience of working under such greats but she garnered a personal connection to both.
It was at a pivotal transition moment in her career Moorkamp decided to leap into the breach to launch her namesake label alongside her best friend and brother, Sam Moorkamp.
Prior to launching, Moorkamp created custom-made gowns for select clients allowing her to develop a keen vision for the brand while acquiring a strong base of customers. And to no surprise, it was not long after the initial launch that she found success.
Molly and Sam Moorkamp
Maintaining three categories of ready-to-wear; dresses, gowns, and separates,
Moorkamp infuses her collection with sensibility from her predecessors while maintaining a distinct perspective of her own. Her clothing embodies the spirit of a modern lady who dares to break from trends. With illustrious prints, classic and well-tailored silhouettes, color, and of course, glamour, Moorkamp designs for a "new generation of uptown girls"(Vogue 2018).
On Friday, November 12th, Moorkamp launched her latest collection of holiday evening wear. With five sumptuous pieces, the collection exudes sophistication with a dash of Auntie Mame, precisely the look I wish to convey this holiday season. In honor of the holiday drop, I had a good grace of sitting down with Molly to dish on her career, developing her company, and designing this collection:
Looking back, are there specific memories you have that led you into fashion design?
Sam and I were completely engulfed by old movies from birth. Every weekend was a new discovery in an old film. When the other kids were watching Ninja Turtles, I was playing Ms. Scarlett and Sam was a wonderful Mrs. White. I think we've been researching costumes before we knew multiplication and division. It's been a long windy road since then!
Your background of working for Ralph Lauren has bared a great influence on your career. What stands out to you as the most impactful lesson you learned?
Crystal clear vision of brand identity. You often hear something is “very Ralph”, but what is just as important is the list of traits that are NOT Ralph.
At what moment did you know you were ready to leap to develop your namesake brand?
I have been very fortunate in my career to work for wonderful companies such as Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa, and Ralph Lauren. Both my brother and I always had an itch to create something together. As I found myself looking for other positions, I noticed the only products that excited me in the retail space were new, direct-to-consumer brands. I was much more invested in the new opportunity to buy products like eyeglasses, razors, and makeup from new DTC brands than I was scouring department store sale racks and designer sample sales.
In my twenties, I spent so much time attempting to cobble together classic pieces that seemed to be missing from the market at the price point I desired. And then just spend fifteen minutes with my brother and you’ll also be inspired to make a bold career leap. He’s the most unafraid person I’ve ever known. A recipe for an exciting jumpstart I’d say.
Your brother and you work together as both business and design partners. How has your relationship evolved?
Sam and I have been best friends our entire lives. I know what his opinion is of almost anything before he says it. Moving into a business relationship, clear, constant communication, and verbalizing thoughts concisely and directly is critical. But who am I kidding, I'm his older sister and we mix work and personal all the time and there are no boundaries with family.
Where does the designing of a new collection or garment begin?
Print development! As we say in the industry, prints are personal. Sam does all of our print directions, which is always the jumping-off point for us. We usually review at least six print ideas we are excited about and decide what time of year/occasion they would work best.
What is the inspiration behind this collection?
"LIVE LIVE LIVE. LIFE IS A BANQUET", one of my favorites from Auntie Mame. I think after the last two years, and according to some feedback from customers, people are yearning for EVENING clothes. Evening to wear to a dinner party or a cocktail. Ruffles, feathers, the frivolity we've been yearning for - at a great price point.
Where do you envision a Molly Moorkamp girl wearing these pieces?
Evening clothes to wear to a dinner party or a cocktail hour. It's not just about black-tie gowns with huge skirts. I'm so excited to dress up every Friday when the clock strikes 5. Anything can become an occasion to look your best!
1950s or 1960s fashion?
Natalie, I could host an entire podcast on this question! I think people conflate the two. I often hear "you’re so 50’s!" Which I think is a bit confusing….there were A LOT of weird styles happening in the early 50’s post-war boom. To me I think the most exciting period of that time was the transition years between the two decades - Mark Bohan at Dior from 58’-60’, the costumes in Pink Panther by YSL in 1960, Liz Taylor’s 1st wedding to Richard Burton in 64’. 58’-65’ is my final answer.
A historical figure fictional or not you consistently return to for inspiration?
Jayne Wrightsman and Marella Agnelli for inspiration in all aspects of life.
The message you wish to leave behind?
Two-part answer. One, I hope people remember us for our bold business model. Founding a clothing company as an independent direct-to-consumer business from the beginning is a strong commitment to the highest quality, at the best price point possible, with exceptional customer service. And two, the martini I mix in my own home.
What’s next for Molly Moorkamp?
We’re always focused on slow and steady growth. Would I love ten stores and hundreds of SKUs of home products…of course! But standing behind new products our customers are asking from us is of the utmost importance to me. Customer service and quality will never fall by the wayside when you see our name on the label.
The holiday evening wear collection is now available for preorder HERE with an estimated delivery date of December 15th.
Shop all Molly Moorkamp HERE.
Follow Molly Moorkamp on Instagram: @mollymoorkamp
Follow Natalie on Instagram: @natalieealdridge
Images: Molly Moorkamp and Mikey DeTemple