A Conversation with

Victoria Bartlett

Fashion brand VPL, otherwise known as Visible Panty Line, has made its mark in the fashion world for its recognizably cool and comfortable aesthetic. Since launching the line in 2006, designer and founder Victoria Bartlett has created a collection of body-conscious designs heavily influenced by athletic wear and lingerie. In 2010, Bartlett opened a VPL boutique with accompanying studio in back on Mercer Street in New York City, creating a headquarters for her unique design style that抯 personified by the store抯 clever d閏or. The boutique offers both of Bartlett抯 lines (VPL Two was added in 2010), as well as an impressive array of accessories made in collaboration with several artists and designers. We visited Bartlett in her SoHo boutique/studio just days before her Spring 2013 presentation at New York Fashion Week to get a behind-the-scenes look at her newest collection and learn more about her design process.

What was the inspiration for your Spring/Summer 2013 collection?
The inspiration for Spring 13 draws from EXERTION, following in the VPL rhetoric of muscular manipulation, as well as drawing and following the lines of anatomy and movement. The tension of elastic and the flight of fabric are also strong elements of this collection. The design process starts with the inspiration. Next comes the ordering of the fabric and creating the prints, knits and shoes. My process is in the Japanese fashion, working backwards and starting with the finale pieces as the story line.

What were you most excited about when putting together this collection?
The integration of all the athletic elements and the contrast details of sequins and prints.

How involved are you with the styling of the runway presentation, from the clothes to the hair and makeup?
I抳e always been very involved. I see the whole picture before I start and love working with the team to complete the process.

How would you describe the typical VPL girl? What抯 her go-to hairstyle?
Independent, self-assured, not swayed by trends. Her hair is styled but not overdone.

What is your daily hair routine?
I start with Oribe shampoo and conditioner and a detangling spray, then let it dry naturally tousled with some pinning or tying.

You抳e had your store in SoHo on Mercer Street for almost two years now. How does the design of the store reflect your line and you as a designer?
It抯 the world of VPL you enter into, with the old school gym accoutrements. The yin and yang is represented to reflect the line卼he balance of old and new.

What are the advantages of having your studio in the same space as your store?
You feel the whole cycle of the story. It integrates of all the components of the business, which is great to be able to oversee.

We love your VPL accessories. Who would you like to collaborate with next?
I love my team of LD Tuttle shoes and OGJM jewelry, and the new collaboration with Flea Bags. I抎 love to collaborate with Hanes.

You had such a successful career as a stylist and fashion editor before becoming a designer. How did the experience of working in that side of the industry help prepare you to start your own line?
I was schooled in design and went into styling. This was a healthy transition back匢 had learned how to create the new concept and understand how to work all the elements together.

If you were to design a salon uniform, what would it look like?
It would be body conscious, almost armored, in nudes with an accent of color.

- JACKIE HYMAN

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