Cover Feature

Stacey Bendet: Creative Director and CEO of alice + olivia

Courtesy of alice + olivia

Ever since she was a very young girl, alice + olivia’s Creative Director and CEO Stacey Bendet has had an eye for fashion. As years went by, her passion for beautiful clothing only got stronger, which set her on the path to become the fashion icon she is today.

“I spent many hours of my childhood creating clothes for my dolls from fabric and lace remnants, as my father, grandfather and great grandfather were lace manufacturers,” Bendet said. “Some of my earliest memories are visiting their fancy offices and getting to play with all of the materials I would find there. Shortly after I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, I had a vision of making trousers in the shapes of the best fitting jeans, but in beautiful brocade fabrics… this was the start of alice + olivia!”

Since her early days of setting out to revolutionize the trouser, Bendet has now molded her company into an extremely successful contemporary fashion brand that includes ready-to-wear, gowns, shoes, handbags, accessories and eyewear, all while empowering women with the company run by women, for women.

Alice + olivia is worn by both everyday women and celebrities everywhere, with fans including Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gigi Hadid and Jessica Alba. The brand has independent boutiques in major cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, East Hampton, Greenwich, Houston, Malibu, Manhasset, Miami, Orange County, Palm Beach, San Francisco, Southampton, Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kuwait, Singapore, Shanghai, Doha, Taipei, Macau, Chengdu and Bangkok. The brand can also be found inside over 800 select department and specialty stores worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Net-a-Porter, Lane Crawford, Isetan, Hankyu, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.

This summer, the brand celebrated its 20th anniversary with a star-studded bash, complete with custom cocktails, elaborate photo backdrops and even an alice + olivia tattoo station. Twenty years in the fashion industry is no small accomplishment, and the alice + olivia brand’s success is a clear testament to Bendet’s dedication and creative vision.

Long before each Fashion Week begins, Bendet is hard at work planning her next collection and piecing together her latest artistic vision that she will bring to life on the runway.

“Inspiration comes from everywhere; I am inspired by art, interiors, vintage clothing and powerful women. Every collection has a different starting point. It can be a movie, a city, a painting… creativity, design and inspiration are always evolving,” Bendet said.

The brand’s new Spring/Summer 2023 collection recently showcased at New York Fashion Week was no exception to Bendet’s ever-evolving vision. Instead of a more traditional runway show, the alice + olivia Spring/Summer 2023 collection was showcased through intricate scenes with varying color stories highlighting the inspiration for the collection’s pieces.

“The recent show theme was ‘house of alice + olivia.’ It was about interiors inspiring design and how an iconic outfit is about the woman, the clothes and where she wears those clothes…” Bendet said. “An iconic moment is iconic when the look and the setting come together in a magical way. The show looks were bold, colorful, modern with a bit of a street sensibility/edge!”

Bendet is always looking out for the latest upcoming trends, with some of her favorites right now being “sequins, wide leg pants, colorful suiting and pairing everything with a trucker hat!”

Even with the Spring/Summer 2023 showcase barely behind her, Bendet is always looking forward to the future. What’s next for alice + olivia?

“Expanding into the metaverse!” Bendet said. “And the launch of a new category this spring!”

Despite devoting much of her time to fashion, Bendet has also branched out beyond the industry. Bendet is the founder of Creatively, a networking and job platform for creatives. Launched in May 2020, Creatively champions and connects the world’s creative community through best-in-class portfolios, collaborative features and opportunities in a world where remote work will be more part of our lives than ever before. It’s designed by creatives, for creatives, to be a place to showcase work and connect authentically, and for companies and brands to discover amazing talent.

Bendet also makes supporting charity endeavors a priority in her personal and professional activities. She is a member of the board of trustees of New York-based GOOD+ Foundation, a foundation that provides essentials for children of families in need. She also supports Ronald McDonald House, which offers assistance to the families of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Additionally, Bendet is a member of the board of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, her alma mater.