Sylvie Millstein, founder of Hellessy

Sylvie Millstein, designer of Hellessy

Sylvie Millstein, designer of Hellessy

I met Sylvie right after I had my son. I hosted a random play date for new moms in the Soho area. The invitees were babies ranging from five to eleven weeks and their mothers. It was the first time I had hosted anything like this – my son was six weeks old – and I had no idea how to dress. I wore a silk, printed blouse with jeans and after a few earthy-crunchy moms arrived, I was starting to feel overdressed. Then entered Sylvie. Long, blond-haired, half-French, half-Japanese Sylvie, tall in her black Yves Saint Laurent wedge boots (I remember because I had the same boots in brown), skinny pale grey jeans and a black cashmere sweater that fell carelessly off her shoulder. I felt an instant affinity for her. She was unabashed about looking pulled together even after her son had probably spit up on her several times that morning.

Not surprisingly, Sylvie’s background was, like mine, in fashion. Between that, our newly minted sons and our proximity as neighbors, we became friends.

Since then, we’ve both had another child, but unlike me, Sylvie had jumped full-force back into the business, this time in a new capacity: as a designer. Her new collection is called Hellessy, a combination of her sons’ names and her own: HEndrix, LEnnox and SYlvie.

Here are the reasons why I love her inaugural collection:

1. It embodies who Sylvie is and how she dresses: minimalist Japanese in combination with French, couture-like details. The looks are not fussy. The silhouettes are clean and slightly edgy, but decidedly elegant.

2. Sylvie’s background was primarily as a buyer, so she understands what women appreciate and that is reflected in Hellessy. The finished product is beautiful. Seams are flawless, tucks are flattering, the fabric is luxurious and her price point is realistic.

3. Her clothes are not trendy: they are timeless.

4. Hellessy is easy to wear. Her first collection is predominantly black, grey and a well-appointed shade of rich off-white – a very New York palette. One doesn’t need to think about what to wear with those colors – everything goes.

5. Although the overall aesthetic of her collection is polished, Sylvie is almost always dressed in an easy-going, relaxed way. I appreciate that her clothes are able to somehow bridge this: not too cool and not too prim. They are just right…

Hellessy will be available in stores this coming spring/summer. For more information, visit www.hellessy.com.

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