the insider: sue stemp

kate moss and kim gordon don this british, new york-based designer’s dresses.


British, New York-based designer Sue Stemp's best advertising is the throng of style icons from Kate Moss to Kim Gordon who traipse around the world's most fashion conscious cities in her slip dresses. But can you blame them? Stemp's eponymous line—which she launched following design stints at Daryl K, Tocca, and Alexander McQueen—defines urban-chic with whimsical, while streetwise clothing. Stemp took a moment from designing party dresses for rock stars and downloading pics of her friends Mick Rock, Lily Allen, and the Klaxons to talk to us about the difference between London and New York fashion.

Who is the "Sue Stemp" girl?

The girl that personifies my brand is young, vibrant, feminine, eclectic, unique, and truly international. She loves fashion and rock n' roll. I don't think one specific person embodies my line, but Kim Gordon, Chloe Sevigny, Erin O'Connor, Sophie Dahl, Jacquetta Wheeler, and Natalia Vodianova do wear my clothes, and I think all epitomize the “Sue Stemp” girl.

What initially sparked your interest in fashion?

I'd wanted to work in fashion from a really young age. Initially I think I was inspired by music. I remember watching Debbie Harry on TV and thinking how amazing she looked… she was my first real icon I think. That then progressed into discovering magazines like The Face and i-D, and wanting to make clothes for myself to dress-up and go out in (that still hasn't changed!). At that point in time, the late-eighties, British fashion and street fashion was having a really interesting and creative moment too, so when I started going to clubs in London and seeing Leigh Bowery etc. running around, that was truly inspiring to me.

What differences do you see between the New York and London fashion?

In London everyone in general is much more fashion aware, individual and eclectic in the way that they dress. People are far more willing to experiment with clothes, wear color and be original than they are in New York. Also because the high street fashion in the UK is so good there that really helps. Fashiony New Yorkers tend to be less scruffy, more sporty looking, manicured, and pulled together!

What songs appear on your iPod shuffle?

“Some Candy Talking” – The Jesus and Mary Chain

“Brainstorm” – Arctic Monkeys

“Atlantis to Interzone” – Klaxons

“Fit you Haffe Fit” – Black Uhuru

“On Call” – Kings of Leon

“Standing in the Way of Control” – The Gossip

Sue Stemp Fall 2007

Sue Stemp Fall 2007

Sue Stemp Fall 2007

Sue Stemp Fall 2007