Charlotte Ronson has a lot of drawers and boxes. I don’t know how she keeps track of the contents but she seems to know exactly where every hand bag, skirt and shoe is stored. She didn’t go as far as labeling everything but I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of internal categorizing involved as well. She moved into her new apartment in Noho about a year ago and swore to keep her walk-in closet, one of the perks of the place, organized and functional. But that’s not all. I am also amazed at the amount of stuff she has, especially T-shirts. Drawers and drawers full of them, all folded the same way, with the graphics face-up, like rolled-up anchovies in a can. I lost count after a while but I must have seen at least fifteen different Foreigner designs! And she takes such good care of her bags, most of them are still in the dust bag, barely used, because she’s afraid they’ll get ruined, or simply has not found the right occasion to let them marvel in their formidable glory. As far she’s concerned no party’s fancy enough for a Chanel or Celine.
And then there’s the stuff she wears ALL the time, the Charlotte Ronson uniform, which consists of jeans, one of those beaten up T-shirts, a fun novelty sweater from CR collection, a vintage leather jacket and a scarf. “With the crazy weather right now it’s really just lots of layers,” she goes on. “In the summertime it’s so much easier: just a flirty printed dress and espadrille wedges, one of our signature pieces.” And it makes me wonder: does she design for herself or for a customer? Or do the two organically become one and the same? “Yes, in a way I do design for myself,” she admits. “It’s hard for it not to be about personal taste. I wear something from one of the lines almost every day. You have to stand behind and believe in what you are creating otherwise there is really no point.” Like many designers Charlotte often uses vintage as inspiration. “I love vintage shopping,” she confirms. “We find great pieces from flea markets, vintage shows and ebay is always fun. I look for different silhouettes, details, embellishments, unique trims and prints. You have to really keep your eyes open and see how you can re-interpret the old and make it modern and relevant again.”
I love the Ronson family. It’s this cool clan of genuine, talented, handsome kids you bump into at parties and photo shoots, in backstage areas, VIP rooms and even on the slopes in Switzerland – I ran into Mark in Gstaad last winter! And though Charlotte took violin lessons with her twin sister Samantha when she was younger and can sing a little, she leaves it up to her siblings to be the professional musicians. When I visit her she’s getting ready for a photo shoot for Crain’s New York Business Magazine. She was selected as one of the 40 under 40 most successful business people in New York. She started her line more than 1o years ago and built a mini New York empire by now. She closed the store on Mulberry Street a while ago but shows every Fashion Week. She launched a make-up line for Sephora, I Heart Ronson for JCPenney, Shoshana made with Love Bikinis, and just recently a handbag collection with Artisan House. I ask you: who has time to play the violin anymore??