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“What can I do in my job that makes life easier for modern women? That’s the design problem I want to solve.” Lucy fans are in for a treat with the upcoming Fall collection — it’s the first full collection to have Creative Director Keryn Francisco’s design influence. When you notice a more fashion-forward selection, with the same attention to performance and an emphasis on style and versatility, that’s Keryn unleashing the talents of the design team. Read on to learn where her inspirations started and what her reflections are now.
Heidi Sandoval Photography 2015
What was your inspiration creating the Fall collection?
All women inspire me. Especially the busy ones, and working mothers in particular. Regardless of whether you have children, women work hard. Designing women’s activewear is a celebration of how real women live their lives. These clothes help women transition from one activity to the next, throughout her day. I often think: how do we get her from AM to PM in the least amount of outfit changes?
It sounds like this comes from a personal inspiration point.
I was in my forties working full-time. Then I became a mom. And then a single parent. It’s a self-centered point of inspiration, but I came to realize there are few resources and products and little compassion for how complicated life is for women. Knowing this, everything we make has to be effortless. It has to perform easily and be stylish.
What were your creative influences growing up?
My mom was a tailor and my dad a graphic art director. And they had the most interesting bohemian friends who told stories about their world travels. My mom handmade clothes for my brother and I, adding thrift shop finds to the mix, which is why I appreciate vintage clothing and furniture. I would describe myself as an “old-fashioned modernist” — I respect the crafts of yesteryear, but I’m fascinated by the future.
When did you first learn how to sew?
When I was ten. My mother used to make costumes for the city ballet where I grew up. My fondest memory is waking up to 100 lilac tutus hanging in my bedroom on the walls up to the ceiling. My mom had the arduous task of tailoring each bodice for every dancer, and hand sewing quarter-sized paillettes on them. I learned that finely tailored clothes required a lot of skill and work — they are the epitome of glamour.
Activewear and ballerina costumes seem like opposites, but they both need to perform. Is the construction very different?
They are actually related from a technical perspective. You could have an elaborate or theatrical design, but it has to fit and be functional. You shouldn’t be distracted by your clothes, especially if it’s causing you pain! We want to flatter your assets, not squeeze them to death. Who wants to suffocate when they’re working out? We want women to feel supported and covered. With all the layering choices and relaxed silhouettes, we have a democratic fit that never compromises style.
We want to flatter your assets, not squeeze them to death.
Were you always an active person?
In the 90s, I was a gym rat who rollerbladed all over New York City. I used to think being active meant you had to take a boot camp class and sweat a ton, or you weren’t “working out.” Now I believe it means taking the time to be holistically healthy. It may involve sweat, and it may be meditation or a massage to regain balance in your body.
And what’s your active life like now?
This year I’m focused on self-care. I’ve figured out the only way I can be a great mother is to take care of myself first. Mothers juggle so much responsibility, and we can lose ourselves. I’ve learned to enjoy running and sneak in cardio and Pilates at least 3-4 times a week. My son needs to know what a strong woman looks like, but also the importance of being a happy and healthy person.
So would you say you embody the woman you design for?
I used to believe in the mythical muse or the iconic archetype of the perfect consumer. She doesn’t exist. Why would I design for someone who isn’t real? I’m real. My coworker is real. The woman next to me on a reformer who is working hard on her form, she’s real. We all have fundamentals in common: the themes of an imperfect life. The solutions lucy can provide is what I’m interested in. We all have personal stories that define us, but also that drive us to be better, or more efficient, every day. That inspires me.