By Leah Chernikoff
When I stopped by the Coterie yesterday to interview Lauren Conrad and check our her debut contemporary line, Paper Crown, I expected a crush of cameras, reporters and publicists. I expected that an overly protective publicist would monitor my interview to make sure I didn’t ask certain questions and that I wrapped it up after 10 minutes. So it was a pleasant surprise when I located Paper Crown’s modest booth at Pier 94 to find Conrad and her two business partners (also her two best friends–not Hills alums), just hanging out, listening to Billy Joel on an iPad, and not a paparazzo or crazed publicist in sight.
Of course, if MTV hadn’t dropped the reality show they were filming about Conrad’s new line, there would have been a 15-person camera crew crowding the space. “I was a little disappointed at first but I’m very much OK with it now,” said Conrad of her show being canceled. “I really loved that I had the opportunity to show people what I love to do but it also becomes more difficult when you bring a crew into the process because it’s very fast moving. [The show] was very different from The Hills–it was filmed like a documentary–it was a very different experience.” Now, she even seemed relieved there wasn’t a camera crew around to make everything crowded and chaotic. “Can you imagine if there were cameras here?” she said, looking around at Paper Crown’s small booth.
Sadly, the absence of camera crews means that there’s little hope Conrad’s show will make it to air on any network–because MTV stopped filming halfway through the design process. “It’s an incomplete story now” Conrad said.
But back to the clothes. “We wanted to the collection to look very clean and fresh–those are the pieces I gravitate towards,” Conrad told me as she walked me through Paper Crown, looking lovely in her leather shorts, a blazer and blush blouse from the line. “When I was designing [the collection] I wanted to do pieces that could be worn lots of different ways–I think it’s nice to invest in pieces you can wear throughout a few seasons. It’s modern but not overly trendy. I wanted an overall romance feel to the line, balanced out with a couple tailored pieces for a slight menswear feel and the leather pieces to balance out the chiffons.”
With Paper Crown, Conrad has achieved what she set out to do: the compact collection (you can view the complete look book here ) is full of on-trend basics like soft knits, silk button down blouses, tailored cropped pants and blazers, and faux-leather shorts and skirts balanced with loose airy chiffon dresses in blacks, blushes, creams, gray-blues and a few muted floral prints. It all looks like stuff Conrad would actually wear (or has already worn). “You’re keeping a customer in mind but you want to love each piece,” says Conrad. Her favorite is the tiered chiffon maxi-dress, which will retail at $400.
No word yet on where Paper Crown will be sold but Conrad and her team hope to be installed in small boutiques across the country as well as one big department store. Pricepoints range from $69 for jersey tops to $400 for dresses (like the tiered chiffon number).
Of course, we couldn’t leave without addressing one more rumor recently floating around the internet–a report from Us Magazine that Whitney Port was peeved at her former Hills co-star because “she thinks that The City was canceled to make room for Lauren’s new reality show…Whitney feels like she got the shaft.” “I don’t really know where that rumor came from,” Conrad said. “It didn’t even make sense though–why would she be jealous of that show that’s no longer happening?” It makes even less sense considering Whitney Port is the only member of the original Hills cast Conrad keeps in touch with. “I have so much respect from her–she’s amazing,” said Conrad, who had texted with Port about the rumor hours earlier.