Socialites and designers Charlotte Ronson and Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss have been friends since grade school.
“I came to Nightingale in fourth grade and Shoshanna was two grades ahead of me so she was the cool older girl,” Ms. Ronson told the Daily Transom last night. The two were both milling about at the Thompson Hotel on the Lower East Side, celebrating the launch of their bathing suit line titled Shoshanna Made With Love Charlotte Ronson.
Ms. Ronson first arrived at the Nightingale-Bamford School, fresh from her clan’s relocation from London, in the ’80s, after mom Ann Dexter-Jones divorced real estate developer Laurence Ronson and married guitarist Mick Jones.
“I didn’t really get to know her until we ended up being in St. Barts at the same time one year, and I was with my boyfriend and his family, and she was there with her boyfriend and her family,” said Ms. Ronson. “So we just kind of bonded and fell in love with each other while we were away.”
Ms. Lonstein Gruss, who is now married to investment analyst Joshua Gruss (his father is the financier and philanthropist Martin Gruss), said that even in high school, she and Ms. Ronson had their own distinct looks.
“We had uniforms back then,” said Ms. Lonstein Gruss, “and I always wore mine with Doc Martens and a leather jacket. Every. Single. Day. And Charlotte had more of like this bohemian thing; she was so gorgeous in high school.”
While the two young women have been friends for years, their individual clothing lines were always very different. Ms. Ronson’s self-titled Charlotte Ronson line is made up of the sort of downtown designs full of zippers, grungy prints and vintage cuts that are best worn by a spindly model with tousled hair. Ms. Lonstein Gruss’ Shoshanna line is uptown sophisticated with classic cuts, mature silhouettes and flattering necklines.
Even on the evening of the launch, Ms. Ronson was dressed in a stretchy black dress with distressed tights and a leather jacket, while Ms. Lonstein Gruss wore a pink strapless dress with a fitted bodice and strappy black shoes.
“We shop together and we have the same tastes, but we just interpret things very differently because our bodies are so different,” explained Ms. Lonstein Gruss. She started her fashion line in 1998 out of frustration that nothing was available for well-endowed women like herself with tiny waists.
Ms. Lonstein Gruss continued: “I wish I could wear my hair like Charlotte but it just wouldn’t work. She’s got this beautiful, thick, flowing hair and if I didn’t blow mine out it would just look stringy and gross. So we both work with what we have. Certainly my body shape dictates what works better on me so I gravitate towards classic, simpler lines. She has a more versatile body, I guess.”
Their collaborative collection combines Ms. Lonstein Gruss’ classic cuts with the retro prints often found throughout Ms. Ronson’s collection.
“When we were growing up, I was West Side, she was East Side. Now I’m downtown and she’s uptown,” said Ms. Ronson. “She’s more grown-up, she’s a mom now, and I’m still, you know … But we’re still best friends and have always bought each other’s clothes so our collection is fun, flirty, feminine. The line is about two best friends—Made with Love”