Photos by Elizabeth Bevil
Styling by Kristen Philipkoski
Model: Kristina Brockman
Luxury clothing made and designed in California that’s also environment and labor friendly? Does not exist. At least that’s what I would have thought before I met Lucia MacDonald, the force of nature behind Civerné, her brand spanking new luxury clothing line. MacDonald asked me to style some of her hot-off-the-design-floor pieces, and I was super excited about it. Initially, anyway. Then I got nervous. The clothes seemed so… proper! So beautifully tailored and a touch conservative and I wasn’t sure if I was the right woman for the job, what with my bohemian tendencies and all. But part of the beauty of the line is that it looks just as lovely with an over-the-top statement necklace as, say, Mikimoto pearls. The more I looked at Civerné the more I realized that the clothing was the perfect backdrop for Shourouk’s colorful baubles and (also recently-debuted) Freda Salvador shoes and boots. And I knew exaclty where to get all of these things under one roof: the beautiful La Boutique: L’Art et La Mode in Jackson Square. The icing on the cake was that Elizabeth Bevil, my new photo intern, signed on just in time for the shoot. I thought it all came together quite nicely, do you agree? And most importantly, it was an exceptionally fun day.
MacDonald is in the process of launching online sales for Civerné, which should be available in December. To find out lots more about how this former model, lawyer, and new mom has crystallized her life experiences and passion into this new brand (and for more pics), check out our Q&A below!
Stylenik: What was your inspiration for creating Civerné? How did you come up with the name?
Lucia MacDonald: The inspiration was to create a rare luxury fashion brand that is authentic, in that the clothing is as exceptionally well made and beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, has a transparent supply chain, supports fair labor, and is made in the United States. I was further inspired to create a luxury brand with a mission to provide lasting, timeless fashion, in a way that is sensitive to the environment and maximizes social good. Exceptional women around the world inspire the brand.
The name Civerné is derived from and inspired by the names in my family, my European heritage, and Paris, where I lived for a time.
Sn: How would you describe the line’s aesthetic?
LM: The Civerné aesthetic is confidently discrete, thoughtfully forward, and unmistakably luxurious. It is modern with a strong fashion element. Always appropriate, polished, glamorous and confident. The brand embodies beauty, elegance, and high quality craftsmanship. The collection is steeped in European tradition and defined by an extraordinary commitment to excellence.
Sn: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to this point in your career?
LM: My background is deep in fashion, business, and law. A lot of time and thought is behind the creation of Civerné, and I arrived at this point — this new launch — when the timing was right for me. It started as a dream when I was a child and everything in my life has lead me to this point of my journey. This point in my career also arises from my own self-actualization and entrenched passion for entrepreneurship and gorgeous, luxurious fashion.
Sn: I love that everything is designed in San Francisco and made in California. Can you talk a bit about why staying local was important to you, and how you managed to do it?
LM: I work in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but most of the design takes place at my studio in San Francisco. I do love New York and Paris, but San Francisco is my first love. I have a deep commitment to California – it has given so much to me. I feel privileged to give back by creating jobs and keeping the energy of high fashion here. I manage to do this by being committed to it, with some patience and hard work. Of course technology also helps keep me connected with others I work with. It is a very exciting time to design in California — Hedi Slimane of Saint Laurent Paris has his design studio based in Los Angeles, and I hear a few other established designers are leaving Paris for Los Angeles.
Sn: What type of woman do you imagine wearing Civerné?
LM: The woman who wears Civerné is modern, sophisticated, and accomplished. When she walks into the room, you notice her — not because she is trying to be noticed, and not necessarily because of what she is wearing, but because she exudes an incredible confidence and energy. She is that woman we all admire, what we want and hope to be.
Sn: What is your definition of luxury?
LM: My definition of luxury is a feeling arising from both physical and emotional touch-points: feeling incredible, confident, and beautiful. I believe fashion serves as an important framework for these feelings. Fashion is something we can feel very emotional about, particularly with respect to confidence and self-assuredness. When a woman wears Civerné, my goal is to make her feel incredible and empowered in that moment, and throughout her day. This is luxury.
Sn: Can you tell us about your commitment to philanthropy?
LM: Philanthropy is an important part of Civerné’s mission. I’ve met inspiring women who have shown exceptional leadership and courage in the face of daunting challenges. Civerné celebrates the accomplishments of such women who are positive forces of change. Each season, Civerné features and supports a particular woman and her respective charitable cause. Throughout the Spring-Summer 2013 season, Civerné features and supports supermodel Petra Nemcova’s work with the Happy Hearts Fund. For specific details on fundraising and contributions, follow Civerné on Facebook and Twitter.
Sn: When and where will the clothes be available?
LM: Civerné will have phased releases online starting in December of this year, and at select boutiques starting in January 2013. For more details, check www.civerne.com and follow Civerné on Facebook and Twitter as the collection is released in stores.
Crepe and grosgrain asymmetrical top by Civerné, bracelets and ring by Shourouk, earrings stylists own, pants by Cacharel, shoes model’s own by Stuart Weitzman. Shourouk jewelry and pants provided by La Boutique: L’Art et La Mode.