On Wednesday morning, March 25, the socialite and former model Lauren Bush arrived at Barney’s on Madison Avenue to welcome shoppers—with cookies and Champagne!—to the debut of her ready-to-wear eco-friendly collection, Lauren Pierce.
Why Pierce and not Bush?
“It’s my middle name,” the sunny 24-year-old told the Daily Transom. “Yeah, I kind of debated that for a while, but in the end I decided to go with Lauren Pierce. It’s definitely still my name, but it’s a little bit more incognito. For me the line is so much more about the mission and the fabrics and I didn’t want it to be based on me. Obviously I am the designer and I designed it, but it’s not just about that.” (Perhaps the fact that Ms. Bush’s uncle, the former president, was often criticized for his lack of eco-consciousness was another reason for keeping the Bush name off the environmentally sustainable line.)
Ms. Bush’s new line of dresses, blouses and shorts in hemp silk and bamboo is, in some ways, a continuation of her bag designs for the nonprofit FEED Foundation, an organization she co-founded in 2006 to fight world hunger, but is a bit more elegant and wearable. (There are only so many functions where the burlap totes emblazoned with the word “FEED” seemed appropriate, even if Ms. Bush herself wore them to the dressiest galas and balls.)
“All the patterns that you see are hand-dyed fabrics that have been dyed in Africa by women in the [Democratic Republic of the Congo],” said Ms. Bush, pointing to the rack of colorful, nipped-waist dresses dyed in a more sophisticated version of tie dye. (Ms. Bush was also wearing one of the dresses with a belt and heels.) “The mission was to use artisanal talent—for these women this is their traditional way of dying things—but to also make it into a contemporary silhouette. And something easy to wear, but also unique because no one dress is the same, no two patterns can be replicated.”
According to the Barney’s sales team, much of the collection has already sold since it was put out on Friday. And who does Ms. Bush see wearing her designs?
“Someone like myself,” she said. “I guess most people who would respond to it would be more socially conscious, but also just fashionable. I didn’t want to overdesign it and overcomplicate it. I think people that have bought it so far haven’t even been friends and family to my knowledge, so that’s sort of exciting.”