Baby, you can drive my CARR….
The luxury fashion label from writer and theatre producer-turned-designer George Carr (http://www.carrnyc.com/blog) not only celebrated its official one year anniversary of existence, the collection just opened at retail this past week. Bloomingdale’s launched the women’s collection for this season last Friday, and Saks Fifth Avenue opened the men’s a week ago Thursday.
FashionWhirled has a soft spot in our hearts for George. He’s a fellow writer, poet and creative soul. And we’re glad to have him in our lives and are delighted to feature him this week in our Friday:5ive.
FashionWhirled: What role does fashion or style play in your everyday life, personally and as a designer? How does your personal style inspire your designs for CARR?
George Carr: As a child, I was very aware of the power of clothes, style, and fashion—as well as the fact that I could express myself with them. My family was very style-conscious—I can still remember my father’s dark suits, white shirts, and classic ties (I also remember my father teaching me how to tie a tie).
I loved my Buster Brown brown-and-white lace shoes so much that my father let me sleep in them!
My personal style (and family) completely influence the designs of CARR. I just saw pictures of me at the Saks Launch of CARR this past Thursday night, and our new silhouette is completely a combination of my parents’ suits mixed with my James Dean/Jett Rink/Giant lean cowboy look, and my brother Zack’s influence of Yves Saint Laurent.
FW: You have a theatre background, yet were inspired by your brother who was a fashion designer to create the CARR line. What was your aha moment that led you to this decision and what was the moment you knew you could make CARR happen in a tangible manner?
GC: I was producing a new play when a friend [Ken Petti] saw all the sketchbooks and said, “George, you have a brand. Call it CARR.” It was that one simple word “CARR” that did it. I knew then that I could take Zack’s fashion and my theater and make it one. I actually approach CARR as a script that I am the director of. The sketches are characters.
FW: Who, other than Zack, is your muse for CARR? Why? How do they inspire you? Do you have a personal muse and if so, who and why and how are they different from your professional muse?
GC: My personal muses are my mother, father, aunt, and uncle. Since I was orphaned and adopted, I had two sets of parents. My mother and father were more sporty—Claire McCardell. My aunt and uncle were more dressy—very Balenciaga for Central Texas.
Professionally, I have been completely enchanted by Zack’s amazing friend, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. When I was with her, I would tell her, “Carolyn, I can’t let go of you.” She just had something so special, so unique. For men, I am completely inspired by James Dean. He was my hero when I acted. I even wrote a play about him. I have been to his hometown of Fairmount, Indiana where I met his surviving family. His cousin Marcus invited me into the family home. Upon leaving, Marcus allowed me to pay respect to the livestock—James always performed for the livestock as a child, just as I had done as a child with my pets.
FW: If you could have any notable individual — dead or alive — wear CARR, who would it be and why? How would you change their style and why?
GW: I would love to dress Eminem and Lady Gaga. Eminem’s “I’m Not Afraid” video was a big help to me in the early stages of CARR, when I was all alone. My black denim jean jacket is for him.
When Anderson Cooper interviewed Lady Gaga on 60 Minutes several months ago, she talked about this inner space that no one gets to. I have that space also. I would love to strip all the costume stuff off her and dress that inner space.
FW: You have a poetic, dramatic soul. What words of wisdom or inspiration, or daily affirmation do you live by, or at least strive to live by? And what legacy, fashion or otherwise, do you hope to leave to the future and why?
GC: My middle brother Peter (who also died prematurely of cancer) taught his children that they had a right to quit any project—just not today. I keep going onward.
[On legacy:] That it is all about belief—a belief in yourself and something out of yourself.