Taking a new creative direction helped this distinctly American brand’s fashion star shine brighter than ever.
According to Jill Norton, Vince’s senior vice president, the success of this modern luxury brand begins with its distinctly West Coast perspective.
“Based in Los Angeles, we’ve pioneered luxury in that space, establishing the brand as both aspirational and grounded,” Norton says. “The American customer feels a connection to the innate sense of ease, versatility and effortless approach to luxury while the global customer feels inspired by our carefree yet thoughtfully curated aesthetic.”
In 2017, Caroline Belhumeur was hired as creative director to put her magical touch on Vince’s quiet yet polished vibe. She helmed a small but important transition from elevated basics to low-key luxury. Here, we sit down with Belhumeur, who oversees men’s and women’s design (menswear is designed by Patrik Ervell), to learn more about why Vince’s popularity continues to grow.
Could you give us a short history of the brand?
Vince was founded in 2002 in Los Angeles as a women’s knitwear maker. We introduced menswear in 2007, followed by footwear, handbags, home and, earlier this year, fragrance.
What is your creative background?
I began my career working for Calvin Klein in NYC before going on to positions at Fenn Wright Manson, White and Warren and Theory Luxe.
Prior to Vince, I worked at Club Monaco for 10 years, my last role being creative director overseeing everything from design, store presentation, digital and social media.
What was your inspiration for the fall ’19 women’s collection?
The collection draws reference to Eduardo Chillida’s Peine del Viento at La Concha Beach in San Sebastián—the sculpture juts out of the cliffs above the ocean below. Our fall colors are inspired by the hues in tide pools, seaweed and the red rust of the metal sculptures.
What are the key must-have pieces in the Fall ’19 collection?
I love the nubuck blazer worn with our flannel wide-leg trouser or high-waist cigarette pant. Dresses range from a velvet wrap model to a lace-trim pleated style. The outerwear is sensational, from a leather trench coat to the quilted down puffer to our long plush faux fur and our long double-breasted model in beautiful textured wool.
Vince is famous for luxury basics: Will you continue in this direction?
Luxury knitwear and luxury silks will always exist at Vince but we’ll continue to evolve the collection in a way that feels right. We’re exploring what makes sense for Vince in terms of additional categories, including the possibility of expanding our accessories and home collections. We continue to explore color and texture while balancing the timeless pieces we all love.
It might seem strange to wax poetic about fashion basics—the perfect tee, a well-cut tank, just-right modern pants. But when you talk about well-designed wardrobe staples in soft luxury fabrics that look as good as they feel, poetry is warranted. As we all know, these types of quality basics are hard to find. Fortunately, Vince continues to design simple, sophisticated clothes that capture the zeitgeist of contemporary American design.