When I first saw Uluru on LeTrainBleu.com I was immediately drawn to the elegance and styling of the cashmere sweaters and dresses. Last February, while attending a trade show for Fall ’06 apparel I fell in lust with the Ellie Uluru sweater dress. I could not forget the silhouette, color (raspberry or navy) or it’s ballooned sleeves. I knew I had to have it for my fall wardrobe. I would seriously live in my Uluru dress if people wouldn’t notice me wearing it every day.
I recently had a chance to chat with Uluru’s designer and founder Caroline Priebe and asked her some questions about her stunning line of knits.
SCS: What can you tell us about your designs?
CP: Uluru is designed with the belief that when you feel comfortable you inevitably exude beauty. I design in an attempt to make it easy for women to get dressed in the morning. Much like denim, Uluru can serve as foundation pieces in one’s closet. I chose to initially focus on luxury knitwear due to its sensual hand, seasonless appeal and ease of fit.
SCS: I see your grandmother Fritzi was your inspiration, could you explain?
CP: My grandmother Fritzi was the creative force behind my family’s retail furniture and gift store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was also a skilled seamstress, paid incredible attention to detail and was a connoisseur of all things â€œfancyâ€?. She may have lived in Wisconsin but she created this worldly, cosmopolitan environment in her closet, home and store. In addition, she was a skilled business woman and an unbelievably hard worker. I witnessed what an incredible force that combination can be.
SCS: Which designers (dead or alive) have influenced you?
CP: Coco Chanel, for the simplicity, utility and freedom in her designs. Maria Cornejo of ZERO for her minimalist innovation of silhouette. Consuelo Castiglioni of Marni for her playful yet sexy clothes for modern women.
SCS: How did you get started in designing knits?
CP: I learned how to knit originally as a child from my Grandma Skelton. Then at CCAC my mentor (and first sustainable fashion designer of Esprit’s eco-collection in 1992) brought knitting machines into the studio and took us on a tour of a knitwear factory. Finally at ZERO, I saw Maria doing really amazing untraditional silhouettes with knits. She made dresses so easy to wear. All you had to do was throw on tights and boots and you looked so chic and fabulous, plus you were comfortable.
SCS: What is the one must-have article of clothing for women this fall/winter?
CP: Cashmere dress
SCS: Guess that was an open door…
SCS: What is your personal signature style?
CP: A lot of cashmere, clearly. Skinny black Loomstate jeans, and these awesome wide legged trouser Flippa K jeans. I would love more wide legged trousers I just can’t find what I see in my head, but then again I don’t shop much. I am playing with masculine dress and/or juxtaposing menswear staples like trousers and oxford shirts with feminine knits. Big 18K gold pounded hoops my brother, Austin Cash Priebe made, a variety of Frye boots some up to 7 years old, French Soles, my favorite pair of United Nude striped heals and this new black wool trapeze shaped coat with sleeves that end at the elbow to let the cashmere show.
SCS: Name three things we might be surprised to find in your closet?
CP: Black leather DKNY pants from 2000. I bought them with my garment allowance and have worn them maybe two times. They feel like butter and I am waiting for them to come back in style. Lots of white polo men’s shirts. My grandmother Fritzi’s YSL mink jacket with dolman sleeves. I don’t know when and where she got it? I am really not a fur person, but it is so beautiful, snuggly and warm.
SCS: Live in Chicago for one winter. You will learn to appreciate fur.
SCS: If you were not a designer, what would you be doing?
CP: Naturopathic doctor
SCS: Do you have any mentors and if so, who are they?
CP: Lynda Grose a sustainable fashion instructor, designer and activist.
My mom who is the smartest, most resilient, persistent, creative, honest, loving, business woman I know.
SCS: What’s next for Caroline Priebe?
CP: Organic baby alpaca, organic cotton and bamboo. Trousers. Fragrance.
Uluru is sold at Barney’s, select Nordstrom locations, Girlshop.com, Oaknyc.com, and LeTrainBleu.com.