Lifestyle and entertaining queen Kimberly Schlegel Whitman can add another jewel in her crown: fashion designer. The Dallas-Fort-Worth-based Whitman has partnered with Dillard's on an exclusive spring capsule collection that's as colorful and fun as her famous tablescapes.
Kimberly Whitman for Antonio Melani made its grand entrance online and in Dillard's stores around the country on Monday, May 3.
The limited-edition collection (it'll stick around only as long as supplies last) includes classic dresses in every length, as well as headbands, scarves, shoes, and — most charming of all — little girls' tops and dresses inspired by her 7-year-old daughter, Millie.
“I am so thrilled to debut Kimberly Whitman for Antonio Melani at Dillard’s, and cannot wait for people to experience the collection for themselves,” Whitman says in a release.
The author, blogger, TV guest host, and former CultureMap editor-at-large says inspiration for the collection came from one of her favorite places — her Dallas home.
"As most of the collection was created over virtual meetings, with loads of packages being sent back and forth, I sent them a digital board full of images from my home and the dresses in my closet that I found myself wearing over and over again," she explains on her website. "I wanted cheerful colors in surprising combinations inspired by some of the artwork in our house and I wanted floral prints inspired by my favorite china pattern, Tobacco Leaf."
She also wanted the dresses to be flattering to women (a godsend after quarantine year!) and capable of taking a busy woman through the day, she says.
“There is a lot that women take on each and every day; when it came to designs, I wanted each piece to be playful yet strong," she says. "The collection is designed for every occasion, whether it be for business meetings, weekend brunches, or entertaining at home."
A quick look through the catalog reveals feminine frocks with figure-flattering features like dropped waists, flowing skirts, and deep V-necks in vibrant hues of pink, yellow, and coral. Sizes run from 0-16 and XS-XL. Prices range from $149 for the adorable Aleya Tiered Swing Dress to $169 for the sweet Mari V-Neck Short Sleeve Floral Maxi Dress with a pretty hibiscus print.
Her shoe styles include dressy leather slides, trendy clogs, and elegant heels ($98-$130).
Whitman says she didn't just lend her name or her brand to the collection; she took a hands-on role in designing it to the end.
"Samples were made and shipped to my home so that we could feel the fabrics, consider the placement of zippers and ties, and really think about who and how they would be worn," she says. "I put a lot of careful consideration into what I would choose to put on if these dresses were in my closet, but it was still torture to take some of the options off of the rack."
As for the complementary girls' collection, Whitman says her daughter gets the credit.
"Millie got to work and consulted her friend, Jemma, who was over for a playdate, when her initial design options arrived," she says. "Millie is into the 'skirt and shirt' combo right now and wanted her looks to be very soft. We brainstormed on some of her favorite phrases and added them to these soft tees in colors that complement the ladies collection."
The girls' collection includes four tops and two skirts, sized Little Girls 2T-6X and Big Girls, S-XL.
The launch will be celebrated with personal appearances by Whitman at Dillard’s Dallas NorthPark store in early June.
"I hope that these fun, yet classic styles will inspire others to find joy in every aspect of their day,” she says.