It’s been a decade since Jay Godfrey stepped out on his own, launching his namesake line. During that time Godfrey defined exactly who he is and cultivated a celebrity following along the way. Beautifully structured clothing, striking colors and playful details are hallmarks of his designs that work just well on the red carpet as they do at a cocktail party.
Godfrey first brought his line to Tootsies in 2010 and returned six years later to Houston for a personal appearance at the Women of Wardrobe party last week, with an evolved and sophisticated collection of dresses, separates and jumpsuits anchored in cobalt blue, cheery red and sleek black. His designs are eye-catching, and yet allow the woman wearing the piece stand out.
It’s one reason why he’s become a favorite with celebs like Eva Mendes, Ariel Winter, Vanessa Hudgens and most recently, The Bachelorette’s JoJo Fletcher, who immediately rocketed Godfrey’s sparkling blue Boswyck gown to style stardom.
The Boswyck is completely sold out, creating a fervor among glam girls who clamor for something sexy and elegant. Fletcher wore other Jay Godfrey pieces on the show. It’s clearly great for the line, but just plain fun for him to see.
“We got on the stylist’s radar at the beginning of the season, but we don’t know know if it’s going to be a full length shot or even if it’s going to be on, but we are just fortunate to be involved,” Godfrey said. “We’ve been watching the show for years and it’s great to get your brand to a whole new audience.”
He also recently expanded his brand’s reach working with model Ashley Graham. The plus-sized model made the cover of Sports Illustrated's latest swimsuit edition, starred in a Joe Jonas music video and launched her own swimsuit and lingerie collection. Creating the form-fitting Witherspoon dress for Graham smoldering curves definitely put his brand and name in front of a new set of eyes.
“Ashley Graham has a very large following. Women of different shapes, sizes and cultures saw her in the dress,” Godfrey said. “She looks great no matter what weight she is. Ashley is sexy, confident and very, very charming. I would dress her anytime she wants.”
Godfrey studied at Parsons School of Design and interned at Oscar de la Renta, and counts Halston, Tom Ford for Gucci and Madame Gres among his most valued designer influences.
Madame Gres work, however, has the most lasting impression on his design psyche. An aspiring sculptor turned designer in the 1930s, Gres worked with silk jersey, draping and pleating to stunning effect, but she also created more structured pieces, complete with cutouts, something modern-day women will certainly recognize.
“I have a coffee table book of Madame Gres from the 1930s and her designs are as modern today as they ever were. There are 60 images of dresses from the 1930s and they are an endless source of inspiration because the detail level was extraordinary,” he said.
Godfrey is minding other life details, balancing his role as husband and father to spreading his vision into other design arenas such as home decor, cosmetics and interior design.
He’s a devoted dad of two daughters who’s cute faces occupy his phone’s lock screen. He breaks into a proud daddy grin when talking about Allegra and Bardot.
“I always say to my team, family first work second and that’s what I believe. Dad is my first job and designer is my second job,” Godfrey said.
When Godfrey is in work mode, the wheels are definitely in motion. After seeing the like of Rachel Zoe on QVC and Naeem Kahn on HSN, Godfrey entered the mix with the Jay by Jay Godfrey collection, a desk-to-dinner selection at a lower price point. He will unveil his new bath and bedding collection in the first half of 2017 available at upscale department stores, describing the home items as clean, sensual and modern.
He’s also dipping his toe in the cosmetics pool and said early results are “exceptional,” with a lip color called “Bruised Plum.”
“What we’ve done in fashion, we can translate into cosmetics, primarily in lip and nail,” Godfrey said. My mother and my wife are my two toughest critics and Bruised Plum won rave reviews from both.”
The Jay Godfrey Collection is available at Tootsies in Houston and Dallas.