The Fashion Insider Behind This Collection of Pretty Dresses Hails From Proenza Schouler

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Shirley Cook, the founding CEO of Proenza Schouler, says that she is more or less doing everything differently for Dyvna, her new dress collection.

Dyvna is a new accessibly-priced dress collection from the founding CEO of Proenza Schouler, Shirley Cook.

Proenza Schouler , got plenty of fashion show experience before she left that company in 2015, but she’s deemed the runway unnecessary for Dyvna, her new dress collection. Cook is doing more or less everything differently at Dyvna. To start, she’s set up the company as an equity partnership. “Everybody owns part of the company, so everybody has a stake in the company,” she explains. “When you have a stake you have a whole new level of pride, and incentive to make the company as profitable as possible.” She’s also keeping her wholesale operation streamlined, selling only to Nordstrom and Net-a-Porter. “I wanted partnerships with people I know. This way we have just two sales appointments with two partners that are super-progressive and really supportive. And scalable.” Here’s where it gets interesting: The average price for a Dyvna dress is $500, which is a significant savings from the four-figure frocks Ford and Browne and other high-end designers like Proenza Schouler are offering, even though Dyvna dresses boast high-end designer touches, including custom prints developed in France, covered buttons, and bound seams. “They’re made really nicely and finished really nicely,” says Cook, “that’s the good thing about working with people who come from the designer world.” The collection is size inclusive, with sizing up to 18. And she’s built in women-friendly details like pockets on most of the pieces and zippers behind buttons to prevent the dreaded bra-revealing button gap. With an eight-month-old baby and a peripatetic lifestyle (her Italian partner makes wine in Argentina), Cook was looking for simplicity when she started concepting this brand. “I don’t want an overwhelming closet anymore,” she says. That’s why the shapes are classic—there’s a 1940s silhouette, a sporty jumpsuit, a tunic that can be worn with or without matching pants, etc.—and why the ones that prove successful will come back season after season in new fabrics and prints. “I know that when I have a favorite piece I buy in multiples,” she adds. “I’m very happy to not have to spend $3,000 on something I like. I’m very happy to do something accessible.” Photo: Courtesy of Dyvna Read more: Vogue Runway

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