HOLIDAY DRESSING WITH THE WOMEN OF GALVAN
’Tis the season in New York City. Holiday parties, get-togethers and late-night dinners fill a tightly packed itinerary. It’s a marathon of dressing up. Even the savviest carry-on travelers and walk-in closet locals can be easily exhausted by finding the perfect outfit for every event. Luckily, there’s a remedy for what-to-wear fatigue that can be found in a white-walled store and studio space in SoHo. Galvan, which opened over the summer, offers timeless, elegant and versatile eveningwear in rich colors, luxurious fabrics and flattering fits. The line launched in 2014 with a set of modern slip dresses. Today, it has evolved into a full collection of suits, mini dresses, jumpsuits, gowns, and bridal. With the new store you can try on all their silhouettes, have a personal fitting (on occasion with one of the founders themselves), and even book an appointment to be fit in your hotel room.
Behind the brand are four effervescent women—Sola Harrison (Creative Director), Anna Christin-Haas (Design Director), Katherine Holmgren (Commercial Director), and Carolyn Hodler (Partnerships Director). They all experienced first-hand the same struggle with event dressing. They could find something special to wear once or they could find something inconspicuous and average that could be worn again and again. In most cases, they couldn’t have both. Together they came up with an infallible formula for dressing up. We had the pleasure of speaking with all four women about what to wear this season, how to wear it, and where to wear it.
What is one piece of advice you would give to those shopping for a new holiday outfit?
Galvan: Have fun! This is the season where ‘more is more,’ so go for glitter or bright color or anything that makes you feel special. The rest of the year you can be as understated as you want.
Any rules for accessorizing with Galvan?
G: Our slip dresses are clean and classic, which makes them ideal for accessorizing in different ways. We love modern accessories that have minimalist lines and bold colors… And we’d never say no to a strong lip!
What is the biggest holiday party faux pas?
G: Wearing something that makes you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. It will ruin your night.
What does “black-tie” mean today, or to you personally?
G: In Europe, “black-tie” means long. There’s a lot of freedom within that—you could wear a sleek jumpsuit, a simple slip dress or a formal embellished gown—but it needs to be floor-length.
If you threw a dinner party in New York for the holidays, where would you host it?
G: During Christmas time, the Waverly Inn is the best for a glamorous yet cozy dinner party.
What famous New Yorker would you be most thrilled to dress in Galvan? What style would they wear?
G: Edie Sedgwick. Our Adela backless dress in Bronze.
If you could live in just one of your designs, which one would it be and why?
G: Our signature corset jumpsuit. It is the most versatile and flattering piece. Perfect for a dinner party, a black-tie affair (with the right accessories), a day of interviews; with flats or with heels.
You recently opened a new store in SoHo. Tell us about the inspiration for its design? Any special elements?
The SoHo store has the same pared-down, clean design and ’90s sense of urban cool that you see in our collections. White painted brick walls, poured concrete floors, linen drapes. The space feels light and effortless, a perfect backdrop for our colorful clothes.
Our favorite pieces are the Mario Milana chairs that add pops of color around a vintage Brutalist concrete and glass coffee table and the long steel and marble table, custom-made by artist Facundo Quinto Huidobro, which doubles as a work table and also a dining table for intimate dinners.
We were lucky to work with Another Slang, part of the brilliant German creative agency Parasol Island, on the design brief and also sourcing key pieces for the store.
In what ways has opening the store changed the business?
G: Personal shopping has become even more of a focus since we opened the SoHo store. Our e-commerce store is great for people who want to shop as quickly as possible, but for those who want personalized service, the SoHo team are incredible. Among other things, they offer complimentary fittings at home or in your hotel room.
Do your New York customers differ from those in London or online?
G: Bridal is a huge business for us in New York. Not only do brides need multiple outfits for all the events in a wedding weekend, but bridesmaid dresses are also a big business here.
Apart from that, we find that the New York customer is actually quite similar to the London customer. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that our customer base is so international. Our dresses are perfect for women that travel a lot and need evening staples that always come out of your suitcase looking perfect.
When you’re in the store, what are your favorite spots to…
Sit for coffee?
G: Two Hands on Church Street.
Buy a pair of shoes to wear with your new dress
G: The Webster.
Have a pre-event drink
G: The Bar at the Soho Grand.
G: Great Jones Spa.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in the studio so far?
G: During New York Fashion Week in September, Ruth Chapman (co-founder of Matchesfashion.com) hosted a gorgeous candlelit dinner in the store for 35 fashion editors, industry leaders, and influencers. It was such a special night for us, celebrating our new store in such a cozy atmosphere and surrounded by inspiring women.
WORDS Jenny Hartman