Designer Pamella Protzel-Scott talks about what’s next for the label and what’s in for the season
“I knew there was something missing in the market,” reflected Pamella Protzel-Scott on her prosperous entry into contemporary women’s wear. Protzel is the designer and creative director of Ella Moss. She was able to strike fashion gold by capturing a void in the industry for novelty knit fabrics. Her vision was “something really soft, really cool that could be taken from day to night. There was nothing like it at the time.” Now ten years later, Ella Moss is a household name with its own flagship store, favored by celebrities and sold by the chicest of retailers.
I had a chance to snag a personal interview with Protzel at the release of her Holiday 2012 Collection. Flirty cocktails and fresh tunes flowed on Saturday at Nordstrom Fashion Island, where models showcased the latest collection, while Protzel, adorned in black skinnies, fur vest, and Ella chiffon top, gave styling tips. But how did a fledgling idea materialize into an iconic brand with fashion gravitas?
Upon graduation from FIDM, Protzel went to work at a small label under designer Moise Emquies. As one of four employees in the company, Protzel was exposed to all aspects of the business, “which is probably the best experience I could have had,” said Protzel. Feeling equipped to launch her own brand, Protzel was ready to leave, but Emquies believed in her concept and offered to create it in-house. And with that the brand and name was born as a combination of their nicknames: Ella (Pamella) + Moss (Moise).
When asked about her big break, she recalls an unexpected phone call from a Sex and the City stylist. The trend-setting television stylist requested all her striped product for fashion icon, Carrie Bradshaw—or Sarah Jessica Parker. That was the moment everything changed.
A fabulous story, yes, but here’s some more about the fashionista behind the brand. I asked her about the latest trends and what’s next in fashion. Read on fashion junkies, read on!
Q: What obstacles have you faced within the industry and your line? A: I think it is just a constant obstacle too make sure you are on trend, you have product that people want, and that you are staying fresh and staying new. Change is constant, especially in fashion. You are only as good as your last collection.
Q: Do you have any advice you can offer to aspiring fashionistas? A: Stick with it, for sure. I think going to [design] school is fantastic, but I also think that getting out there in the industry and actually working—starting at very small companies, where you get to learn a lot of different aspects of the business—can be the best kind of education you can get.
Q: I know that your designs are inspired by your travels. What places have been the most inspiring to your collections? A: I love traveling everywhere, whether it is Paris, London, the countryside, Hawaii or somewhere tropical. I also get a lot of inspiration from LA and California: the 60s vibe from Palm Springs, the 70s vibe from Topanga Canyon, the Rock n’ Roll vibe of Sunset. I take a little bit from everywhere and try to infuse it in the line.
Q: Your day can take you anywhere, what is a foolproof outfit for you? A: Skinny jeans, a pair of booties, and one of my Ella Moss Chiffon tops, layered with a motorcycle jacket or a heavier coat—something easy.
Q: What is the go-to-piece in your wardrobe right now? A: We have something in Ella Moss that I love. It’s our Roslyn legging. Leather is so in right now and we did it in a very “Ella” way. We took French terry and coated it to look like leather. They look like you are wearing skinny leather pants, but are super comfortable. They are my go-to piece for the season.
Q: Besides the Ella Moss closet, where are your favorite places to shop? A: Net-A-Porter, Des Kohen in LA, and Barneys. Oh and the Ella Moss store! I actually do shop there, because there are pieces that we do exclusively for the store that you can’t find anywhere else. Q: What trends this season do you think are spot on? A: I am loving leather and printed pants right now. I also love the sweaters with the animals on them for the winter season. I am dying over them. (We both gushed over Burberry’s owl print sweater).
Q: What do you think is the next big thing in fashion? A: I think skirts are coming back. Dresses were in for a really long time, and now I think its separates. It’s not going to be about the maxi dress anymore. It is going to be a little flip skirt above the knee, pairing it back to a little top or jacket, or a pantsuit. That will be next season.
Q: What is next for Ella Moss specifically? A: Next summer, we are launching Ella Moss intimates, UnderElla. Bras, panties, and lingerie done with the prints from our line. It is going to be amazing.
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