Eileen Fisher is one of those designers who really “gets” her customers. The New York City-based designer’s clothing is simple, functional, comfortable and easy to wear. It is enormously popular with Hawaii women. And, it would seem, enormously popular with my friends. I felt as though I knew half the women in the audience at the Neiman Marcus Eileen Fisher fashion show last Saturday.
This year marks the 30th anniversary for Eileen Fisher. She started out as an interior designer in Chicago. In the mid-’80s, she grew to hate all the power suits with padded shoulders and thought “I can do better than that.” With a budget of $350, she designed four pieces and had them made into samples by a seamstress friend. She received $3,000 in orders at her first show. In the next year, her orders rose rapidly to $40,000. A fashion business was born.
While many designers are presenting black with white this spring and summer, Eileen Fisher is all about black with cream. Silks and linens are her fabric mainstays.
I have been to many fashion shows at Neiman Marcus but I must say I have never seen so many garments fly out the door so fast. There was a lovely long pleated skirt that three of my friends bought. Several of the layered tops with sheer details were gone within half an hour….all sold out! NM Ala Moana was the first store to receive this collection, so at least local women could order pieces to be delivered from other stores.
It was an added bonus that a portion of the proceeds went to the Women’s Fund of Hawaii.
– Paula Rath