Designer Jordana Warmflash is the mastermind behind breakout womenswear line NOVIS. The New Yorker took the less-traveled route when pursuing a career in fashion, and opted to attend Washington University in St. Louis to hone her passion for craftsmanship and clothing design. Her resume boasts positions at Zac Posen, Peter Som, Alice + Olivia and Jay Godfrey. In 2012, Warmflash launched her own line, NOVIS, to encapsulate her unique blend of uptown and downtown with equal parts whimsy and elegance.
How did you find yourself studying fashion design at Washington University in St. Louis?
I grew up in New York City and knew that I would always want to live in NYC (all my family is here and also to pursue a career in fashion). I didn't want to go the Parsons/FIT route since I felt it was important to get outside the New York bubble for a little while. I decided to go to Washington University in St. Louis because it allowed me to study fashion design within an intimate art school that was part of a top university in the country, while also allowing me the opportunity to study subjects outside of the art school. I loved the entire experience and learned so much. Most people don't know that the fashion design program at Wash U is actually one of the oldest in the country.
In what ways have your college years influenced your design aesthetic?
I think I became a perfectionist during college. I spent hours on end ripping out stitches and resewing until every seam was perfect. I became known as the crazy girl with the seam ripper, but more importantly, my classmates and my professors looked at my work as the standard for craft and tailoring. The root of my aesthetic is grounded in my passion for construction and tailored details.
With a resume citing design experiences from Peter Som to Zac Posen, what were some of the most valuable tools you learned before launching your own collection?
I learned so much from all the companies I was fortunate to work at. At Peter Som and Zac Posen, I most definitely learned about quality construction and attention to detail. Both of those experiences confirmed my passion for high-end luxury product.
Your collections are very feminine, who is/are the woman or women you have in mind when designing each season?
Elle Fanning has been coming back to me season after season. I love her look. She is classic and feminine, but has a cool factor to her. She has not worn NOVIS yet – but hopefully she will soon! She would look amazing in the Priscilla Sapphire Velvet Jumpsuit from the Fall 13 collection!
The Fall 2012 collection is entirely dresses. How did you transition to adding more variety into the Spring collection?
The plan was always to do a complete RTW collection, but we wanted to launch smart and small –- so we decided to launch the first collection with a very focused capsule of dresses (since dresses was what I was known for at the start). We then added separates for the second collection for Spring 2013 and the response was great, so we took it even a step further for Fall 13 and added knits into the collection –- which I not only loved designing, but have also gotten a great response. They will probably be our best sellers this season! The addition of the separates to the collection allows for a broader price range in the assortment and makes the collection more assessable to an aspirational customer that can't spend the money on a dress, but can afford to buy a top or sweater!
What else can you tell us about Fall 2013?
The Fall 2013 collection was inspired by the classic and whimsical photographs taken by Richard Avedon in the 1950s and 1960s in Paris. The foundation of the color palette is fairly neutral with pops of ruby and sapphire, a little leopard print (which is neutral in my mind), and a playful cityscape print. My favorite pieces in the Fall collection are the Lou Lou Cobblestone Mohair Coat with Leather Trim, the Jacqui Ruby Bubble Sweater and the Priscilla Sapphire Velvet Jumpsuit!
Where is your collection produced?
The entire NOVIS collection is designed and produced in New York City.
What is the average price of a NOVIS dress?
Which lines is it sitting next to?
Veronica Beard, Stella McCartney, Thakoon, Isabel Marant.
To what do you attribute your strong following after just three seasons?
I think people are impressed with the quality and construction details coming out of a new designer, as well as beautiful fabrics, and classic, wearable silhouettes. I think the collection keeps getting better and better each season, so people are excited to see what's next! I am so grateful for my amazing team, and I really couldn't have done anything of this without them!!! Let's hope the following continues to get stronger!