Stacey Bendet, the CEO and Creative Director behind alice + olivia, has it all—a luxe label, retail stores worldwide, a loving husband, three adorable daughters, and now a flagship store in Miami’s Design District. We sat down with Bendet at her store opening to talk about building an empire, inspiring women, and what Miami locals have to look forward to in her spring and fall 2018 collections. Read on to get the scoop and hear Stacey’s suggestions for the perfect outfit and her favorite hot spots for the Miami style icon.
It was recently International Women’s Day. As the woman who does it all, what message do you have for Ocean Drive readers? Stacey Bendet: I feel like every day should be women’s day! But one message, we made certain t-shirts. My favorite one was probably “empowered women empower women.” And I think that’s such a strong message to share right now because I feel what’s been the most amazing thing about this year, is how women have sort of stood up together and are fighting for each other, and with each other, to champion all sorts of women’s rights. So I think that’s been amazing.
Your fall 2018 Collection is based on female empowerment. Can you take us through the collection and tell us what inspired you? SB: The theme was the University of Alice and Olivia. So it was my version of a university, which is a women’s university with rainbow books and this whole rock and roll vibe. To me, the girl who is being educated is the girl who is being empowered. And the girl who is being educated and empowered is fierce. So the clothes were a mix of rainbow and rock and roll.
How do you plan to inspire women through your clothing in the future? SB: I think as a designer, especially a designer with stores around the world, you have a voice and you have a window to the world. Every window I have in every part of the world allows me to talk to women, to inspire women, and one of our big initiatives is our community project. They’re all female empowerment t-shirts and they go to support projects such as Champ or the Global Fund for Women. The messages are meant to be shared on social media or with friends because they open up a discussion about what women want and what women should want.
What outfit would you recommend from the spring 2018 collection for the Miami empowered woman? SB: I’m feeling empowered in florals right now. But one of my favorite pieces that we have is a sequin jacket that so many girls are wearing tonight. And we did two versions. One is with rainbow stripes and there’s another version that says, “be the star that you are” on the back. I think that’s such a great empowering piece.
Tell us about building an international, global brand. SB: It seemed like it happened so fast. But it really happened step by step and I guess as we started opening up stores there was a real interest in our clothes in other parts of the world so we established partnerships and started opening stores in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, and the Middle East. It’s exciting. I feel lucky to have so many women around the world who love our clothing.
What advice can you give the young female entrepreneur looking to build a brand? SB: Stick to your vision and also remind yourself every day that hard work is what makes it happen.
A frequent visitor to Miami, what are your favorite hotspots in the Magic City? SB: I love the Faena Hotel, I’m staying there tonight and having dinner there tonight. I obviously love the Design District and the alice + olivia store here.
What is your favorite Miami memory? SB: I remember going to Miami when I was really little, to the Fountainebleau with my parents. I’ve been coming to Miami for so many years. Just being a kid and running around on the beach, and now being here with my little girls and seeing them being so happy running around. It’s such a great place. I love what Miami has evolved into in the last decade.
Why build a flagship store in Miami? SB: I feel like the Miami woman embodies so much of what the alice + olivia girl is. She’s feminine. She likes colorful colors. She likes to dress up. So it was an exciting opportunity for us.
What is one fashion rule you can give to our Ocean Drive style icons? SB: My rule is, always to use your clothes to uplift and use your outfits to inspire yourself because in the morning when you get dressed, that’s your creative expression and that’s what you’re showing to the world without saying a word each day. So I always tell women to remember that and to think what their message is going to be for the day.