I’ve always been incredibly inspired by women who have put their own twist on building their life–who have found their own way to do what so many others have done. In the case of designer Ryan Roche, whose clothes I’ve long coveted for their lush fabrics and sophisticated silhouettes, she’s built one of the most beautiful fashion brands from her home upstate. Her friend and Atelier Doré favorite, Laura Ferrara, has always been such a champion of not only her work but of the life she’s built upstate as part of the creative community in the Hudson Valley, so we were thrilled when she invited Pia and Tori to visit her at her home, which she shares with her husband, three kids and four dogs. It’s romantic and dreamy and, of course, inspiring.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Pared back, Feminine, Romantic.
What’s most important when it comes to style: comfort, beauty, or innovation?
Comfort and beauty go hand in hand to me.
Most valued thing in your closet?
Cashmere anything and everything.
Do you have a fashion muse?
I have many, one important one is Georgia O’Keeffe who I was first told all about by a wonderful, beautiful stylish woman Elfriede Gamow when I was in my late teens. I used to work in Elfriedes incredible fabric store in Colorado just after I finished high school. I often dream of the life Georgia had in New Mexico, so magical.. I also look at property in New Mexico on a regular basis!! I think it’s the color of the earth there and the adobe houses, it really suits my spirit.
Are there things you don’t wear?
I don’t really wear prints and I don’t really wear any colors other than shades of white, black, pink and beige.
How do you maintain such a high standard when it comes to your designs? What values are a must for each piece? And what are absolute don’ts?
Ah that is so lovely of you to say, thank you! My first question is always how does it feel against bare skin… it makes my job very easy when working with one of the softest fibers in the world, cashmere. A majority of our collection is made of cashmere which even with your eyes closed you immediately fall in love regardless of the design. I strive to create a collection that is sensual and luxurious and in design is restrained, minimal and feminine. It is very difficult to make something pared back and not boring. I love the challenge of making something feel feminine and yet not overly adorned. It’s truly in the details and I greatly value attention to construction and quality. I have also always been so grateful to have the opportunity to work with manufacturers who value their employees and offer fair living wages and healthy working environments, I am very concerned with the quality of the lives of the wonderful people who pour their hearts and endless hours into making my dreams into a reality. A don’t for Ryan Roche is production in a country that values money over lives.
Upstate has become a bit of a New York City transplant, but you’ve been living in Hurley, NY for quite some time now, way before it was “the cool thing to do.” What influenced you to move there from Brooklyn?
Close to twelve years ago my husband Garrett and I were living in Brooklyn with our two young children and one more on the way, we found ourselves longing for a more peaceful life. We started to explore and without knowing anyone in Hurley found the stone house that two years later we would buy. After nearly ten year’s worth of renovation and re-renovations we still find ourselves happily here. We always said and we would stay as long as we continued to love it and it continued to work for us and so far, so good! We do really love our quality of life, the beauty of being surrounded by nature and the peace and quiet. Being so close the NYC we also never have felt that we had to give up our city life, nothing really beats the feeling after a long city day breaking out of the traffic and cruising home upstate.
Does the environment effect or influence your design process and what have been your favorite parts about living there? Has it changed your personal style at all?
I love the quiet of living here. I love the solitude and clarity it brings me. I am so calm and relaxed up here and I am certain that this ease is reflected in my collection.