Model Elyse Taylor has walked for Marc Jacobs, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Alberta Ferretti, and Victoria’s Secret. It’s her role as the international face of O’Neill, however, that may best suit this Aussie native. The brand just extended Elyse’s contract through 2012 and even enlisted her to co-design a line of swimwear featuring nine styles for Spring 2012 called O'Neill by Elyse Taylor. While in Ibiza, Spain to judge O’Neill’s “One Way Runway” model search which involved brave contestants plunging off a cliff situated at the end of the runway to show off the brand’s Superkini, this super-busy model/designer recently took some time to share her inspiration for the new collection and details on her multi-role O’Neill partnership.
The Fashion Spot: You grew up in Australia, so the water and the beach were always part of your life. Is that why you feel you fit so well with the O’Neill brand?
Elyse Taylor: Absolutely, it’s a natural fit. I grew up with the brand and the beach.
tFS: Where did you find your inspiration for O’Neill by Elyse Taylor? Is there an underlying theme to the collection?
ET: I took a lot of my inspiration from traveling around the world as a model, and was able to draw from my experiences in fashion for my personal collection. It’s all about high-end fabrics and clean, sophisticated styling.
tFS: As a co-designer, who else did you work with to create this collection?
ET: I worked with the very talented design team at O’Neill: Kari Johnson, Whitney Morris, and Anya Violet!
tFS: Are certain colors more prominent in the collection?
ET: Peach and taupe are soft and feminine and I wanted to create something unique and unexpected for bikinis.
tFS: Do you have a favorite piece from your new collection?
ET: The black bra top and the skimpy tie-side bottom. These were the first pieces I designed…the suit I always wished I could find!
tFS: What sets this swimwear apart?
ET: The combination of unique colors, beautiful fabrics, and the fact that I’m bringing my fashion perspective and beach background to O’Neill, which is known for their bikinis.
tFS: Why was it important to provide pieces that mix and match?
ET: Every girl is different and it helps give her the opportunity to personalize my collection. I love to mix and match so I wanted my collection to reflect my personal style.
tFS: How would you describe the O’Neill by Elyse Taylor girl?
ET: She loves the water and beach lifestyle, and fashion equally. It’s for someone like me that would wear an O’Neill bikini surfing, but then change into something slightly more sophisticated for the rest of my day at the beach with friends.
tFS: Is designing something you would like to continue doing? What’s been the hardest part of co-creating the new line?
ET: Yes, it’s been a really great experience. The hardest part was the initial stages since I’m always traveling on the road. Most importantly, I wanted the collection to reflect my personal style and lifestyle, so at first, there were a lot of phone calls and emails! I would email the O’Neill team my favorite prints, bras and bikini inspirations found throughout my travels, then the design and edit process began. There’s so much that goes into designing the perfect bikini.
tFS: Any plans to produce a sequel at some point or expand to include other clothing?
ET: Actually, I have some plans in the works but can’t reveal details yet. You’ll just have to wait and see!
tFS: Will you be featured in the ads for the new line? When will the promos be out?
ET: Yes, I will be featured in some of O'Neill's advertising and promotional materials through next year. The collection will be in stores next Spring.
tFS: Can you talk a bit about your involvement with the “One Way Runway” event and how it went?
ET: I’m here as a mentor and judge to the 12 finalists. I taught them how to walk the runway and told them a bit about my experiences as a runway model. Ultimately, I was here to help make them feel comfortable and confident. They are all such beautiful girls who are so adventurous to be jumping off that cliff into the ocean! This is a great event and I hope to be involved next year, too. And the ultimate winner was Dutch contestant Tatjana Maul.