The Scarlett Story

 In Feature, Style

Bold colors and sheer courage fuel a unique new line debuting at Saint Louis Fashion Week.




The three lead team members all have different personal styles, which is evident in their favorite pieces. Strauss, for example, loves that the palazzo pants (a key shape of the collection) have a great “fit and flair without that ’70s look.” Simpson’s favorite is a black peplum top, the first piece she made‰ÛÓa triumph of asymmetrical lines, pleats and points. And Lampe is enthusiastic about “the mermaid ensemble” with its sheer, floor-length black skirt over a tropical bark cloth mini, worn with a bustier top (also of bark cloth).
Sewing the originals for their runway models utilized Lampe’s custom design background and prompted her to consider the trade-offs necessary when designing for hundreds of body shapes and sizes. Some of the most intricate pieces from a technical standpoint‰ÛÓincluding a godet peplum blazer‰ÛÓare the most successful. Other initial ideas needed to be rethought.
One of the first items the designers finalized was a peplum top with a pleated, asymmetrical design and slimming black side panels. The ensemble wasn’t working with the original palazzo pant pairing, but after swapping in a skirt featuring the same bark cloth and black paneling, the outfit now exudes endless possibilities. “And you could wear it with your own skirt or top,” Strauss adds, clearly envisioning the pieces in consumers’ closets‰ÛÓor better yet, being unpacked from suitcases at resorts by free-spirited, creative, bold women.



Mary Strauss has an eye for fashion. Over the years, the arts philanthropist, film producer and director of restoration at The Fox has observed countless stage costumes and custom-designed pieces. “It’s so interesting to me to see what’s coming back,” she says, adding with characteristic humor, “If you live long enough, you see three cycles of it!”

This time around, Strauss is not merely a consumer‰ÛÓshe’s an innovator. Working with two young designers from local custom gown powerhouse R&M Designs, Strauss has drawn inspiration from her personal collection of whimsical vintage bark cloth for a ready-to-wear clothing line called The Scarlett Collection, which debuts this fall at Saint Louis Fashion Week.


Photo credit: Photo by: Wesley Law. Models: Alyssa Wolf and Marylyn Simpson. Watercolor sketches by Kyle Lucks.

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