Want an instant mood elevator? Hie thee to a Stephen Burrows' show. It doesn't matter how many runway shows you may have seen that week or how exhausted/overworked/abused you may feel. A Stephen Burrows show—with its colorful clothing, colorful models and cheerful, all-out exuberance—will set you right in no time.
For Burrows is the master of feel-good fashion, a talent he's been honing since the Seventies, when the young FIT grad first made a name for himself as a designer of flattering, insanely chic "lettuce edge" dresses worn by insanely chic Studio 54-going celebs (think: Cher, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Lauren Bacall, Grace Jones and Anjelica Huston) and supes-of-the-day like Jerry Hall, Alva Chinn, Patti Hansen, Iman, Naomi Sims and Pat Cleveland (whose daughter, Anna, now stalks the runway at Burrows' fashion week shows while mama watches proudly from the front row).
"I love fabric as my form of creative expression on the human body," says the CFDA Award-winning designer. And as for what he enjoys most about his job? "Making a living doing something I love to do—designing clothes!"
Last year, Burrows created a limited-edition collection for Target (timed to the store's Harlem opening), and earlier this year, his work was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the Models of Versailles Tribute, an event that honored the legendary 1973 fashion show in Versailles that pitted five French designers (including Dior, Givenchy and YSL) against five American designers (including Burrows, Halston and Oscar de la Renta).
While the designer demurred when asked about upcoming plans ("I would love to discuss them with you but can't at the moment; we're under a non-disclosure—but I will say there are some exciting things happening in 2012!"), The Fashion Informer did get him to spill his weekend plans, model muses and preferred method of communication.
What did you do last weekend and what are your plans for this weekend?
Sketching new collections.
What's on your nightstand?
I don’t have a nightstand.
What's your idea of a perfect meal?
Fish, broccoli rabe, mashed potatoes and Champagne.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
What's your favorite method of communication?
When was the last time you rode public transportation?
This morning. I took the C train to work.
What's your favorite holiday memory?
I have so many! Christmas through New Year’s in Rio, 1979-80.
What's the best gift you've ever received? Given?
Life from my mother and father and God. My talent.
What would I be surprised to learn about Pat Cleveland? Ditto Anna Cleveland?
Pat Cleveland is a wonderful chef and muse. Anna is a great knitter and muse.
What's your favorite memory of your Studio 54 days?
You have to read the book—I can’t tell those secrets!
Tell me about your pet(s).
I am allergic to cats and dogs. No pets.
What's the most you've ever spent on a purchase, other than a house or car?
$400 on a bottle of Cristal Champagne.
Reality TV: pro or con?
What are the key elements of "Stephen Burrows World"?
What freaks you out?
When are you happiest?
When I’m with friends and family.