By: Southern Femme Fashion Assistant, Becca Griffith
Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Kimberly Newport-Mimran, designer and founder of fashion label, Pink Tartan. Originally from Niagara Falls, Kim knew she loved fashion from an early age. After working as a buyer, she decided to start her own line in 2002, and from there Pink Tartan was born. Now sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and countless boutiques across America, Pink Tartan has taken off. Featuring feminine silhouettes and gorgeous fabrics, the line is very wearable and relatable to women. I enjoyed getting to know Kim a bit. Aside from being extremely talented, she is also very warm and lovely to talk to. Keep reading to learn more about Pink Tartan and the new spring line!
Becca: How are you enjoying Birmingham and the South?
Kim: I love it; it’s so beautiful here! I’m based in Canada, so I haven’t been to every part in the US, but I’ve been to California and to New York, many different cities, but I’ve never been to Alabama. It’s a really pretty place, and the sensibility here is feminine and I like that, because that’s the girl I speak to. They’re softer and friendlier.
B: Who is the ‘Pink Tartan’ woman?
K: Well I definitely design clothes to my lifestyle and my aesthetic. So when I think of icons I always think that Grace Kelly was fantastic and chic– and Audrey Hepburn, so I dress that type of girl in modern day. You want to look feminine, but I do day-to-dinner too because we’re so time starved, especially if you’re a working woman. How do you get your clothes to transition easily from day to night? Or how do you travel and you have high maintenance clothing? That gets expensive. I mean sometimes the dry cleaning bill on things is astronomical. I try to use as many easy care fabrics that are as luxurious and very designer driven.
B: I know your grandmother was a big inspiration for you and your line.
K: She was southern, and she grew up in Virginia! So she always had a little bit of ‘southern belle’ to her. And she was very chic. She always had the right handbag, and clothes mattered to her. I think I was very inspired by that.
B: Was there anything else that inspired you to get into the fashion industry and be a designer?
K: I thought about it before, and I didn’t go right into design school. I went into buying and product development, where I worked with the designers and I would be the executer of the product. So you would get the design, and someone had to make it. So I got to make clothes, and in doing that it trained me on fabrics, on fit, on sourcing. When I decided and got the confidence to say ‘I want to start my own line,’ which was when I was about 32, I had this background that was very good experience that I could bring to my design. I understand how to buy it. And I’m a woman who designs for a woman. And I find there are tricks to cuts and seams. I’m a very big collector of vintage couture of old Dior, and Chrisotbal Balenciaga, and YSL, and all of those pieces I found were very inspiring to me as a designer because I am really interested in cut and seam detail and how to enhance a woman’s figure versus being just a great clothing item.
B: I think that’s so important, because a lot of designers these days forget about the fit sometimes.
K: And it’s harder for a boy too, because they aren’t really wearing it on a day-to-day basis, and living a modern woman’s lifestyle.
B: From your current collection, which piece is your favorite?
K: Well I’m loving the power stretch fabric, and I’m wearing it right now because it’s one of my favorite pieces, but it’s amazing fabric to work in because it’s a knit that hangs like a woven. It travels beautifully and it’s easy to care for. My favorite pattern is the honeycomb navy blue dress because I can use geometric inspiration of pattern and it’s a different construction of a woven, so I love working in that fabric. We also design our own prints, so I love working on the artistic side with an artist to design our own signature prints. The butterfly print is very botanical. I love botany; I love little creatures and amphibians. I love things like that. But I was very enamored with the whole Schiaparelli/Prada juxtaposition. And Elsa Schiaparelli used to do a lot of these pretty butterflies.
B: So for this particular collection, what was your source of inspiration?
K: As I said, I was really liking botanicals and geometrics. I play a lot with shapes. You’ll see there’s a lot of laser cut that went into it. All of the laser cut– and even some of the beading I did– you’ll see is very geometric. I love the PJ for day and pastels. I think they’ll be very nice here, I did a lot of pale pinks and a little bit of purple. I have to show fall in two weeks, so I’ve got to pull out my favorite direction for fall because the line is quite big. When you do concept you have to narrow it down and say, ‘what’s my vision for editorial?’
B: So what can we expect from your fall collection?
K: For fall I’ve been so hooked on these blonde Hitchcock heroines. I just watched both seasons of American Horror Story with Jessica Lange. They live in these grand houses, but there’s something just really off with all of the girls. They’re a little bit crazy, but they’re so elegant. I’m trying to work on how to say that through a fashion show. Our clothes are sophisticated, and as I said it’s about not being boring. It’s an idea of sophistication with a bit of an edge this season for me. Sometimes I just do really pretty, but this one will be edgier. I see my muse being a young Jessica Lange. Sienna Miller is another one of those modern-type of girls.
B: What in your opinion is the one item every woman should own?
K: A white shirt. It’s my ad campaign. The white shirt is a really important staple in a woman’s collection. I want to give you the most fashionable and wearable clothes for the season, and I think that sometimes changes. It’s been a big dress moment for a while, and I think it’s moving back to these really couture cut suits that we haven’t seen in a while. For this season I would say a little bit longer and fuller skirt, and I think there’s a lot of embellishment and geometric pattern. It’s about picking up one piece for your wardrobe to update it. That’s how I like to build the Pink Tartan wardrobe for girls.
B: If you could dress one person, who would you dress?
K: I like Alexa Chung. I think she’s chic. I think she’s a modern day Pink Tartan girl innately. I think she’s got cool with the right amount of femininity. She’s pretty, but still cool. I like girls that have real style versus just being pretty. I like knowing they are dressing themselves. I’d be thrilled if she wore my clothes.
To see more of the collection and learn more about Kim and Pink Tartan, click here. Or visit Saks Fifth Avenue to view her feminine collection in person.