Lyn Devon is a New York based womenswear designer. The Brown University and Parson’s alum designed for Ralph Lauren before launching her eponymous line in 2005, and later went on to become the recipient of an Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award in womenswear. Her luxury pieces are characterized by clean lines, impeccable construction and timeless all-American elegance.
Where are you from? Did you study design?
I am from New York City, born and raised. I studied Art and Architecture at Brown University as well as costume design, and I worked in the Brown theater department making costumes. After college, I studied at Parsons while interning at Zac Posen for 2 years.
How did you find yourself studying at Brown?
I wanted to go to Brown because they have wonderful Classics and Art History programs. There is a wonderful free spirit at Brown and a beautiful classic Ivy League campus that is romantic and inspiring even, in the grayest and coldest of Providence weather.
What made you decide to launch your namesake line?
While designing for Ralph Lauren in 2005, I was working on my own clothing at home after work and it began to sell well with friends and family and beyond. Then one day while helping my friend clean out her Broome Street studio, she took me to the basement floor which she used as storage—a sprawling unused space–and I felt it was the right space for my first studio, and the right moment to build on the work I had recently begun in my living room. I showed my first collection there in that basement to the likes of Meredith Melling, Marina Rust and Arthur Elgort and I stayed for the next 7 years.
What did you initially think you would do professionally?
I always knew I would design—women of great style and grace have always been the most intriguing creatures to me, starting with my grandmother Lyn and my mother, and I have always been obsessed with textiles and have collected them since I was a little girl.
How did you meet Zac Posen? Was that before or after you enrolled at Parsons?
My good friend Jane Comfort, who is an incredible dance and choreographer, had a daughter at St. Ann’s. She knew what I wanted to do and mentioned to me that a fellow St. Ann’s alum had begun his own collection. So I went to his parents home a few days after graduation and knocked on the door and spent the day sewing labels on his clothing. It was a wonderful day and I didn’t leave the Posen family after that for a few years.
It seems designers are moving uptown: You recently opened a showroom on the Upper East Side, McQueen is heading to Madison…what is the sudden appeal to the neighborhood?
For my brand and me, the neighborhood is a perfect fit because I have a large private clientele and my NYC clients live uptown. I wanted to be around the corner from them so that they could pop in anytime and at a moment’s notice. After looking for over a year for the perfect cozy atelier, I found the most beautiful parlor floor in a 18th century townhouse on 66th between Park and Madison, with a huge cherry tree outside our ceiling-high windows, and I knew this was it!
Tell me about the inspiration for your Fall 2013 collection.
Fall 2013 was inspired by my love of the country and my personal search for a home upstate. Off beat and off the beaten path, she is wearing a cozy mix of her clothing and his—his pants with her corset, corduroy and lace, fatigues and wildflowers, and a closet worth of chunky cashmere knits, all in a woodsy palette of neutrals and softly aged brights.
What is the ‘Lyn Devon’ look?
The Lyn Devon look is polished and playful, sporty all-American elegance. I design the go-to pieces in a woman’s daily wardrobe–timeless items she can live in and keep for a lifetime.
Would you consider embellishments part of your signature?
I am attracted to interesting surface texture and fine fabrics that feel supple and rich. I like to leave it to the wearer to embellish in her own individual way with jewels, belts, and broaches.
Who is your customer? What does she do? What’s her favorite movie?
My customer is the discerning woman who needs polished, perfectly tailored and beautifully fabricated clothing to wear every day of her life. She wants to look polished and feel comfortable every day and has a sense of humor and whimsy about her style. She is often on the go, managing to do it all. Her favorite movie is anything by Nora Ephron or Woody Allen.
Where is your collection sold?
My collection is sold in specialty stores across the country, from Stanley Korshak in Dallas to Louis in Boston to Saks Jandel in DC to Fivestory in NYC.