Kelly Wearstler Chats Color and Shows Off FW 12 Collection at Tootsies

Kelly Wearstler's FW 12 collection is ripe with rich colors and lush textures with a slight '80s rocker vibe.

Many designers are familiar with textiles, but Wearstler's experience comes from her first career: interior design. Famous for her Hollywood Regency aesthetic, Wearstler has designed a chic, opulent hotel chain, The Viceroy, and the historical Avalon hotel in Beverly Hills.

New York fashion week is right around the corner and Wearstler is moving into her second year as a fashion designer. This week, she stopped by Tootsies for a fashion show featuring what's currently on the racks.

Wearstler's mother worked in interior design, and her beach background reaches to far before she moved to Los Angeles in her early twenties. Wearstler was born in South Carolina and has kept a laid-back approach to fashion. While her sometimes opulent getups may seem anything but relaxed, Wearstler is quick to point out that all aesthetics tie back to what feels right. "It's emotional," she says.

Wearstler is known for her maximizing interior designs where more is more. That has translated to her fashion designs, but it's something we're seeing across the board in fashion. For those who aren't so comfortable wearing prints and loud colors, Wearstler says, "Start with a blouse. Try a print or a texture, maybe a non-print print [such as texture]. Unless you take risks, you can't evolve your wardrobe. It's the same with interiors. You have to step out of your box in order to evolve."

Wearstler's FW 12 collection lets you evolve by taking small steps. There are skinny jeans in several acid wash colors. The blouse is also prominent, with silky separates that transfer from the office to cocktail hour with ease. Best of all are Wearstler's jackets, which tie a simple look together. "I love designing jackets," she says. There are tweeds with stud details, a quirky polka dot blazer and a peachy pea coat. Sometimes a classic silhouette in a fresh color or print is the easiest way to evolve a wardrobe.

"People know what feels right," Wearstler says when asked about mixing prints. She mastered this look long before it became a trend popping up in magazines, which is why she's the go-to source on how to do it right. "You have to think about scale. If you're doing a big print on bottom, try a smaller print on top. Make sure the color story works. I feel scale and color are the two things to look at [when mixing prints]."

While Wearstler's ready-to-wear and jewelry collections are filled with statement pieces, she advises keeping fashion personal and wearing what feels good. You can't pile on every trend and expect to look stylish. "You have to have restraint and you have to edit," Wearstler says.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Samantha Cabrera