What a Girl Wants

Designer Kay Unger on Dallas women, Hollywood legends and breaking the rules of color

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Lisa Petty

Celebrated fashion designer Kay Unger creates for women of all ages, shapes and sizes.  Between her Kay Unger New York and Phoebe Couture lines, she’s amassed a loyal following among celebs, moms, teens and everyone in between.
Yesterday she graced Neiman’s NorthPark with her sunny smile, showing off her collection while visiting with devoted fans.  In the midst of a busy day, she took a moment to dish with us on Dallas women, Hollywood legends and why color rules were made to be broken.

Q:  How are you able to relate to so many different women?
A:  “I understand their bodies.  I was once young.  I have been heavier; I’ve been slim.  …I understand the body, the mind and the ages, and the fact that I want women to look feminine.  …There’s really a common thread and it’s femininity and fit.”

Q:  You are not afraid of color!  Do you have any tips for the 'color shy'?
A:  “I don’t believe in the reports that tell you that you can’t wear certain colors.  I think that it’s not true.  I think changing your lipstick can totally make any color available to you.  …Don’t be afraid of color, because it often makes you look better.  Granted, I have a sea of black in my closet, but even when I wear black, I’ll put on colored shoes, colored tights, colored jewelry – things like that.”

Q:  Who are your style icons?
A:  “Well, always Audrey Hepburn.  …When I first saw Sabrina I totally went and cut my hair like she did when she went to Paris.  I took flowered towels and sewed the gown out of terrycloth!  She’s always been my icon.  [Also] Sophia Loren, because I love that she’s shapely.”

Q:  Speaking of the 50’s and 60’s, are gloves making a comeback?
A:  “I love them.  They are definitely coming back.  …Gloves are a fun way to add color.”

Q:  When you think of a Dallas woman, what comes to mind?
A:  “One thing that’s nice about Dallas women is they like to dress up.  …What a woman in Dallas might wear during the day to a luncheon or even grocery shopping could practically be black tie for somewhere else!  They really love to dress up…and it’s a lot of fun for me.”

Q:  Finally, tell us about your work with Stand Up to Cancer.
A:  “There are so many different websites, so many different hospitals and so many different organizations…there’s so much [information], and yet you want to find the latest.  Often in the past, if you went online or you went to a chat room or something like that, you might be getting older information.  So Stand Up to Cancer continually tries…one, to have what they consider the ultimate, up-to-the-last-minute Web site for information.  …They also use the money they’ve raised to give out to…research hospitals that are developing the drugs for the cure.  …Cancer touches so many people from youth to all ages and all kinds.  Stand Up to Cancer is great because it’s referring to all kinds of cancer.”

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