the insider: rachel antonoff

"some things are so beautiful that they shouldn't be real, but they're all around us."

Rachel Antonoff knows how to draw a crowd. At the designer's FW12 presentation last night, actress Alia Shawkat was singing live jazz songs, models were passing around a pet cat, and then, of course, there were the clothes. The designer kept her signature girly vibe this season with pink and white floral dresses, Peter Pan-collared sheer blouses, and pleated swinging skirts, but with a more sophisticated edge. Chalk it up to the moonlit "lake" setting, the background jazz, or the wannabe rebellious smoky eye look, but these adorable pieces are exactly what we'd wear while sneaking out of a lame school dance.

Or who knows, maybe it's all the Pretty Little Liars Rachel's been watching....

What's the story behind this season's collection?

It goes back to when I was really little. I used to lie in bed and pretend like I was on a raft; I would kick against the walls and it would be like I was drifting off into the ocean. So recently, I was lying in bed with my boyfriend one night and I was like, "Let's try it!" So we kicked the walls again but obviously nothing really happened. So I started thinking about life, and the fact that magic can exist in nature. It's like, some things are so beautiful that they shouldn't be real, but they're actually all around us.

Your last couple of presentations have taken place in a haunted house and a school dance, but this is in a more traditional space.
What I wanted to do was make it a little more grown-up, slightly more sophisticated, and I think the change in location kind of shows that.

But you still have the cat...
Yes, the cat! And the crowns. Everyone's like, "Really, Rachel? You want to make it more grown-up and you have crowns?" But I only did one crown this time!

When you're in the studio, what songs do you listen to?
I listen to my boyfriend's band, Fun; I think you guys know them. I also listen to Tegan and Sara a lot, Steel Train, sometimes I listen to musical scores like The Secret Garden. Also, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this... but I sometimes put Pretty Little Liars on.

Totally not embarrassing to admit.
Okay, good, because I'm really into it. I'm also really into Vampire Diaries, and I just finished the series of Friday Night Lights.

You should watch Revenge!
I want to, but I can't. I mean, between all my shows, I've kind of got a lot on my plate right now [laughing]. Let me finish my others first.

Sounds good. Also, Alia Shawkat is singing right now during the presentation. She's great.
Isn't she?! She's one of my best friends and she's been singing for awhile. She's so incredibly talented and wanted to do it, so I loved the idea.

Which celebrity are you dying to dress who you haven't yet?
Let me think....there's Chloe Moretz and Elle Fanning- everyone's dying to dress them, though.  I'd love to dress Nina Dobrev from Vampire Diaries. And Zooey Deschanel is wearing one of my dresses on SNL tonight!

That's amazing!
Yeah, it was super exciting. We specially-made a dress just for her, so we can't wait to see it. Tonight we're all going to dinner, then we're going to watch SNL, and then I'm going to sleep!