“It’s not a balance, it’s a juggle.” Truer words may have never been spoken. And Colleen Crivello knows the juggle, as a mother and wife, founder and designer of CHaLK, creative director of Ralph Lauren Girls and Baby, and most recently, founder of MINIMODE, an online shopping and editorial destination for stylish moms – downtime is scarce, but coveted. Her daughter Alba serves as muse for her collection CHaLK, and also as a personal stylist for Crivello, who she admits is often right when it come to her daily outfit opinions. When you’re as busy as Crivello, time is hard to come by, but it can also make the time spent very, very special.
What’s your design history? What led to starting a kid’s line?
My history… I was a womenswear designer for Jeremy Scott, Under Armour and others. After I had my daughter, I became interested in kids fashion and wanted to design a few items for Alba. True to my nature a few items turned into a full line and before I knew it I was naming the brand CHALK and taking meetings with Barneys to launch the line. They took me on exclusively for 2 seasons and then I began to expand to all other stores, Saks, Fred Segal, etc.
I recently launched an editorial shopping site for moms and kids called MINIMODE with my partner Maria Benetos, which has been so well received! Think Net-A-Porter meets Coveteur for kids. We feature trend stories, curated shopping and inspiring moms such as Coco Rocha, Jaime King and Jennifer Fisher.
I’m also the Creative Director of Ralph Lauren Girls and Baby division.
It’s funny for someone who wasn’t even that motivated to have kids, I’m now completely emerged in their world.
What is the most fun part of designing for kids?
Kids clothes make everyone smile.
Why do you think it’s easier to design girls clothes?
Girls clothes are more fun to buy and more emotional to design. Although, I have to say there is a huge opportunity in boys clothes…not that many people are doing them well.
For you, what’s the best part of being a mother?
All of it, watching her laugh, how her mind works, being blown away by her understanding of the world…it’s incredible they go from these little creatures that you have to do everything for to independent tiny people that are wildly capable.
How has having a children’s line changed the way you approach your personal style?
Not sure that it did. Although I should be more inspired by their general fearlessness in their sartorial choices.
Does your daughter give you input?
YES, everyday when I get ready I ask her opinion between outfit choices and I seriously take her thought into consideration…she is usually right. The girl has great style!
What are you guys up to this summer?
This summer has been amazing, we have spent a lot of time out East and in Europe. I can’t believe we’re nearing September already.
It’s a lame question, but a really complicated issue for a lot of working mothers: How do you find a work/life balance?
A fellow mom said to me recently…it’s not a balance, it’s all about the juggle. As a working mom you still want to do it all (at least I do). I want to spend time with my daughter, workout, keep up with beauty regiments, go out for drinks and focus on my career…therefore the first thing to go is sleep, ha! I’m up early, to answer emails and get a workout in, all before 7am. Also I schedule my days, down to every last detail including travel time and manicures. The day is spent in meetings and I usually have drinks out a couple days a week and dinner with the husband…then I come home and work some more when everyone is in bed. Downtime is a rare commodity and weekends are spent with the family.