Figue founder Stephanie von Watzdorf is not a big believer in following the rules. Feel free to wear her white clothes after Labor Day, and she’d love to see you sporting sneakers with a black-tie ensemble. There’s no such thing as “age appropriate,” and you can break out a hot-pink dress mixing flowers and pom-poms at any time of the year.
This rebellious attitude is apparent in Figue’s garments, upon which vivid color, global textiles and over-the-top embellishments converge to create vivacious, artistic looks. “I didn’t even think about it. I just knew it had to be done,” von Watzdorf says of creating her label. “The idea is to make women feel beautiful and have a piece of the world with them.”
The global traveler is always searching for treasures on her trips: Indian textiles, African prints, French tapestries, vintage wallpaper. These influences funnel into pieces such as tassel-clad kimonos, beaded moccasins and military jackets emblazoned with Egyptian eyes. “There’s a story in every print,” von Watzdorf says.
Lack of inspiration has never been a problem. The designer grew up in Paris surrounded by dancers. Her grandfather was Léonide Massine, who starred in and choreographed Hollywood classic The Red Shoes. As a result, von Watzdorf says, “I was fortunate to travel and be exposed to the arts. I’m always reading and going to museum exhibits. I’m a very curious human.”
This month, Figue debuts a line of fair-trade sweaters from Peru. Von Watzdorf says these items can all be worn mixed with other collections, whether while ending summer in the Hamptons or trekking back to Manhattan for the fall.
“We created sort of a magical world of escapism,” she says. “Escapism” does seem to be the key word with Figue: escapism to far-off places—and from the parochial rules of what to wear.