Kathy Ireland has proved she is more than just a pretty face. Ireland first saw the spotlight as a young model and for most, this would be considered success. She didn’t stop there. Ireland would go on to launch kathy ireland Worldwide, overseeing a $2 billion dollar business with products including jewelry, lighting, furniture, flooring and now bridal. Becoming a supermodel was just the beginning of this model mogul. We caught up with Ireland to discuss her wedding collection, anti-aging secrets and her favorite places to travel.
Factio Magazine: Tell us about your wedding line and how you came to launch it.
Kathy Ireland: At kathy ireland for Mon Cheri, we offer some of the most beautiful bridal, special occasion and red carpet runway gowns in the fashion industry. Our brides are my girls and I love each and every one of them. We thank them for bringing our gowns to life. We pursued Steve Lang and Mon Cheri for seven years, it was a long engagement. Together, we are encountering tremendous blessings and success. Launching our bridal collection, is an extension of many other ways, that we serve brides. We offer destination resorts, in California and Hawaii. kathy ireland Weddings, is responsible for crystal, fine china and of course, fine jewelry. Elizabeth Taylor was and always will be, one of my great mentors and heroes. She taught me about: life, fashion, jewelry and so much more. Elizabeth taught constantly. I will forever be grateful to Elizabeth. Bringing that education into the fashion industry, allows our company to serve brides and their entire bridal party.
kathy ireland for Mon Cheri, brings Vintage Hollywood, European Country, La Vida Buena and chic modern looks to brides. Beautiful fabrics, beading and exquisite details are all hallmarks of our collections. We offer incredible construction. We invest as much in our interior, as we do, in what is seeing. Our sizes range from 2 to 20 with gorgeous looks, in 18W to 26W. Our gowns are fantastic. Brides and every woman will look gorgeous and be confident reaching, for that bouquet, for walking down the aisle. Some members of the wedding party, can be aggressive. Before my husband, Greg, proposed, I was battling for a bridal bouquet and popped out of my dress. That would never happen to one of my girls wearing one of our gowns.
FM: Do you have a favorite product from one of your lines?
KI: I don’t lend my name to anything. I give my heart to every item in our collections. Every single one of our products are unique. Each one is designed with a meaning and a solution for living. They each serve a different purpose. At kathy ireland Worldwide, we focus on the needs and wants for our customers. Experiencing the way people live inspires us. From bridal to baby, from flooring to furniture, our mission statements are “…finding solutions for people in love”
“…finding solutions for families, especially busy moms,” and “…finding solutions for people in business”. Our company name, kathy ireland Worldwide is based upon a foundation, for global opportunities. We are still a baby brand. We design these products with great joy. So, I suppose, you can say, they are all my favorites.
FM: After all your successes, what drives you?
KI: OMGoodness! I don’t measure success in traditional ways. Success is living the life that is planned for you. Success is faith, family and being of service through our company. If I am driven at all, it is to be the woman, the mother, the wife, the daughter and the friend that I am meant to be…
FM: With an array of titles (supermodel, entrepreneur, etc.) which one means the most to you?
KI: Mother means more to me than the words people usually use to describe my life. Designer is as meaningful as entrepreneur.
FM: Let us in on your ability to anti-age. What is your secret weapon?
KI: After 40, I feel, we begin to meld our inner being with our faces. Someone I love, said, “After 40, you have the face you deserve.” I truly don’t worry about the way I look. Beautiful people, come in all ages, shapes, sizes and colors. I feel that we worry too much about aging. I try to take care of myself and stay healthy. Skincare is very important. This leads me into a new chapter of our company. We have a recent partnership with Stemage skincare. Skincare is something that I’ve personally been working on for thirty years. When you take care of your skin, then it makes it a little easier to go without makeup and still feel confident about yourself. The science behind Stemage skincare is fascinating. It activates your very own stem cells and rejuvenates your skin, so whatever skin problems you’re encountering, acne, menopause, etc., at any age, this is a great solution for you. Good nutrition and exercise, help you look and feel great.
FM: How would you describe your signature style?
KI: California, our home state, reflects and inspires my style. California, is the home of dreamers and doers. From Disney, to Hollywood icons, California is red carpet and swimwear. California, is denim and diamonds. California style has history, art, fashion and inspires the world. 75% of global geography is found in California. I love the ability to celebrate casual, elegance and to dress beautifully. The freedom, that is found in California soul, is my signature style.
FM: What are your top must-haves for your wardrobe?
KI: Jeans with a touch of lycra… a blazer, a simple white dress, a vintage sweater coat and colorful blouses that will take me anywhere at any time. Feminine skirts. Dresses that have interesting necklines. I love to layer. Sometimes I’ll wear a blouse over a dress to give it a jacket feel. Jewelry, handbags and shoes change everything. I have some cherished clothing and accessories that are vintage and precious. A boa, a 1920’s dress that makes me feel as though I just walked out of a George Hurrell portrait and again, our collection of jewelry. I always have pairs and pairs of socks. In boots, socks are so comfortable!
FM: What are your top travel destinations and why?
KI: My top travel destinations include: Europe —my dad is from England. Hawaii, where we have two design studios. Honduras, Haiti and Israel. These three countries are very dear to my heart. They each have a special gift and a very encouraging spirit. These three countries teach us many things about life everyday. Each one fights everyday for the same thing, peace, equality and happiness. Our travels around the globe have also inspired our company, kathy ireland Worldwide, to design destination Style Guides. These Style Guides help our customer to design the home of their dreams, by designing their home with a destination Style Guide theme, it be Architectural, Aloha, Americana, European Country, Far East Dreams, Ivory Coast, In Russian Style or La Vida Buena.
FM: What are people surprised to know about you?
KI: That I am a control freak. I love to be hands-on every aspect of our business, business relationships and I do not like to be placed in a box. I am very opinionated. I must know the aesthetics and the ethics of everything, in our brand.
FM: What do you love about Chicago? Any favorite shopping neighborhoods?
KI: The Field Museum. The food, memories of visiting Oprah at Harpo Studios, great theater—my dear friend, Marilyn McCoo, starred in Showboat for a year in Chicago. It is simply, one of most beautiful cities in the world. I love the diversity in Chicago. It is a city where anything can happen. The Magnificent Mile has everything you could ever want… Chicago is such an exciting city for shopping. It wouldn’t be fair to name one particular store… but all of my favorite designers can be found in Chicago.