“I’m much more attracted to the idea of being sexy because you’re daring, and confident enough to wear a huge oversized muumuu.” It was this statement from House Dress designer Katie Goldman Macdonald that really resonated with me and the message behind her collection. However, I was attracted to her dresses when I discovered them on Instagram because I like them. Well before reaching out to Katie and asking her to share the ethos behind the line which is to convert the historical house dress into something more elegant and versatile for all women. I feel like my wardrobe is divided into groups: dresses I can wear inside only, outside only, outside in the evening, etc. Katie has streamlined this wardrobe conundrum by designing a series of dresses that checks all of these boxes. Not to mention her idea of sexy is mine also, and we are at a particularly interesting cultural moment to re-define sexy as know it.
Where are you & the line based?
I’m based in NYC. All of the clothes are designed and produced in the garment district in Manhattan.
How did the idea for House Dress come about?
I’ve been dreaming about having my own line since I was a kid. Since I graduated from college I’ve been designing clothes, mostly for other brands. I’d never been able to fully express my aesthetic until I started House Dress. It’s the embodiment of all my the things I’ve always wanted to design. I wanted to create a brand that was all about women dressing for themselves and other women.
What does the name represent beyond the title of the collection?
House Dress has a lot of meaning for me in a couple different ways. Firstly, I’ve always loved the old fashioned house dress as a garment in and of itself. Traditionally, it’s a loose fitting, simple cotton dress made to move easily in. Something in between a nightgown and a day dress that women traditionally wore in the house while going about their domestic tasks, the house dress was also supposed to be “feminine” and “attractive.” I Iove the idea of taking the ease of that garment and making it more elegant, versatile, something women can wear in the modern day, in all of the realms that women work in, inside and outside of the house. The pieces I make are all easy to wear, oversized and functional, but also streamlined, modern and elegant. I also like the idea of dress being a house for the body, like a protective enclosure that keeps you safe.
How important is it for you to be designing for women right now?
So important! When I get dressed in the morning, I think about how I feel in my clothes and how other women will see me in my clothes. It’s about being interesting, fashionable and different. I have never liked traditionally sexy clothing, and tend to be more attracted to modest, oversized clothing and I know a lot of other women who feel this way too. In part this is a reaction against women dressing for men in a traditionally sexy, skin showing, tight clothes-wearing way that seems focused on the male gaze. I’m much more attracted to the idea of being sexy because you’re daring and confident enough to wear a huge oversized muumuu.
What do you love specifically about this current moment in fashion?
I love the emphasis on comfort and ease and casual dressing. It feels like it’s a moment where you can design beautiful, really cool sweatpants. I love the acceptance of clothing traditionally worn only inside the house into the realm of high fashion.