Re-Tales: confessions of a shopaholic

Designer Spotlight: LilyEve

During these crazy times I’m all about supporting small burgeoing businesses with one-of-a-kind finds. So when I stumbled upon LilyEve – a head-turning line of vintage toweling bucket hats, custom-print toweling beach jackets (tie dye!) and matching face masks that Manhattanites are going bonkers over, I had to find out more. 

While summer may be winding down, it’s never too late to be sun smart. With this in mind, given that my only bucket hat is a multi-striped number from Kangol circa 1990, I thought now would be an opportune time to splurge on an updated chapeau. Take for instance, this stunning LilyEve topper made from reconstructed pieces of vintage Chanel towels, which sold out in seconds on Bandier, my favorite activewear e-tailer. This wearable work of art is the perfect palette of white with pastel pink and blue hues accented with a subtle Chanel print logo, making it easy to mix and match with everything in your WFH wardrobe.

These chic collectibles are designed by Lily Clempson, the founder and creative genius behind her namesake brand, LilyEve. Hard to believe that Clempson, a recent Parsons School of Design Grad, launched her collection during lockdown just 4 months ago. Her insanely coveted collection of whimsical vintage toweling bucket hats ($150-$250), custom toweling beach jackets ($150-$550), fashionable face masks ($60) and one-shoulder Terry dresses ($175) are all handmade in New York by reconstructing pieces of designer vintage towels (think Hermès, Missoni and Pucci) along with luxury terry-cloth to create a new and unique upcycled garment.

Don’t fret if you missed out on Clempson’s first drop like I did. Rumor has it an exclusive tie-dye bucket hat collection (the official color of quarantine) will soon be available at and will likely include her colorful designer face masks and other surprises.

You can also shop online at and be sure to check out her Instagram for regular product updates and collabs. Better act fast though. Her pieces sell out super fast! 

Read on for Lily Clempson’s secrets for launching a business during a Pandemic along with the creative impetus behind her insanely eye-catching collection. 

Why did you decide to launch LilyEve? 

LilyEve first began at the start of lockdown this year. When the pandemic hit, I wanted to try and help in some way. I had moved back in with my parents out in Long Island and they had a collection of vintage Hermès towels never used, I decided to cut them up and make them into face masks as a bid to raise money for FoodbankNY. Having graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2019 I used my background in graphic design to promote the masks on Instagram. The demand for the masks slowly increased and I reached a goal of raising $10,000 for FoodbankNY.

Where do you get your inspiration for your designs? 

I’ve always been attracted to bold colors and prints and anything vintage. Sourcing the vintage towels became a great way of me being able to source my materials in a sustainable fashion. 

When LilyEve started to grow I needed some help. I asked around at some of the local shops I go to and they introduced me to Michele. Michele is an 86 year old retired couture seamster, we instantly connected and have been working together ever since. 

Aside from masks, bucket hats and beach jackets, will you be adding new products to your lineup?

In the future I’d love to design more winter coats. 

Where can customers purchase your items aside from Bandier and your site? 

As of right now I only sell my products through my website and Bandier. I had previously interned at Bandier just last year as their graphic design intern, so I had come to know some of the people working there! They reached out to me when I started to design my toweling bucket hats which was very exciting!

Where do you see your brand in 5 years from now?

My business is only 4 months old and I started it during the pandemic. I hope to continue to grow it throughout this year. In 5 years from now I would love for LilyEve to be continuing to make a range of different pieces, made from vintage sourced materials.

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Isolation Inspiration – Designer Batsheva Hay

So much has changed in light of Covid-19 – lost my job, temporarily relocated from Brooklyn to The Berkshires and impulsively bought multiple Aviator Nation loungewear sets (tie-dye is clearly the official color of quarantine) instead of saving for a “rainy day.” As if anyone really cares what I’m wearing during early morning jaunts to the local grocer?

Like many of us, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect about what truly matters in life. Clearly family comes first – my kids, husband and parents. That said, as shallow as it sounds, there are a few other things deemed essential for my daily existence: online shopping (no shocker there!), virtual fitness, Marou Tien Giang 80% dark chocolate and of course, Netflix.

As a Mother of 10 year-old boy/girl twins, most of my so called “free” time is spent cooking and cleaning up after these pint-sized humans. When I have a few moments alone (typically on the toilet), I get sucked into the black hole of Instagram. After that, I scan the latest New York Times headlines (all Covid all the time) which completely depresses me (doomscrolling yet again) and drives me right back to my favorite pastime: stress shopping my favorite sites – typically, Bandier, Farfetch, MatchesFashion, and Garmentory, fantasizing about what to wear despite this “new normal.”

What can I say… once a FashionJunkie, always a FashionJunkie. And yes, despite the global health crisis and my dwindling savings account, I still have a laundry list of at-home sartorial obsessions that somehow find their way into my crammed Brooklyn closet. Case in point: this puff-sleeved micro floral Batsheva prairie dress. I first discovered this masterpiece at for 50% off (insanity!) back in May and foolishly left it abandoned in my cart. When I visited the site again the next day, sadly the size 0 was no longer in stock. Fortunately I found a similar floral print at MatchesFashion though I’m still obsessing over the one that got away. Moral of the story: everything designed by Batsheva is best-in-class and sells out super fast regardless of price or Pandemic.

Hard to believe Hay had no formal design training and left her cushy full-time job as a lawyer shortly before launching her namesake line back in 2016. Her success pretty much happened overnight and couldn’t have happened to a better person. I had the pleasure of meeting Hay at her Manhattan showroom on several occasions (pre-Covid days) and can’t say enough good things about her and her undeniable talent. She’s the epitome of cool, treats her customers like royalty and is always beaming just like her signature, mood-enhancing masterpieces.

In my humble opinion, none of the Batsheva copycats (you know who you are!) even compare to the quality, meticulous fit and whimsy of Hay’s Victorian-inspired works of art. I’m obsessed with every flawless detail that goes into the designs of her timeless, unorthodox garments. Channel your inner Shira Haas (a.k.a. “Esty”) via ankle-length dresses with nipped-in waists, ruffle sleeves, high necks and vintage floral prints. Other must-haves include corset-style tops, holographic metallic dresses, modern Moire and 80’s-inspired zebra print blouses, dresses with over-sized bows and tiered crushed velvet, sparkly rhinestone buttons, classic leopard and my absolute fave, dramatic puffed sleeves in quirky prints like this green apple Lucy minidress that’s calling my name!

Dara's '80's inspired Zebra Print Batsheva Dress

Did I mention her adorable kids’ collection? What could be more fun or fashionable than matching Fashion Junkie and Fashion Junkie Junior silver lame dresses?

As a vertically challenged and petite powerhouse, I have a tough time buying anything off the rack (a huge shout out to Pablo at The Stanton Tailor). But with Batsheva dresses that’s simply not the case. Everything I’ve purchased from Hay in a size 0 (at least 20 items at last count) fits like a glove. The only exception being this gorgeous paisley print navy silk pant suit which I happily snagged in a size 2. Best to go up a size and get it altered by my trusty tailor rather than risk missing out entirely. Batsheva just posted this gem on her Instagram feed and the complete size run nearly sold out within a few hours. You snooze, you lose!

I’m equally as obsessed with Hay’s latest brand extensions including quilted duffle bags, floral face masks (I bought one for every day of the week so I can color coordinate them with my outfits), frilly aprons, stunning silk taffeta rosette hair clips and edgy housedresses made from recycled fabrics that are strikingly similar to what my late Bubby Eva wore circa 1970 but with a modern twist. Cool, comfortable, lightweight and perfect for lounging at home or in my case, strolling to the local grocery store. Much more functional and fashionable than all that sweat-inducing loungewear I splurged on. Ooops….. might be time to nix the sweatpants after all.

Dear reader: you’ll be hearing a lot more about my daily fashion musings in the weeks and months to come so be sure to visit often. As always, I love hearing from you so please post any questions and feedback in the comments below. Be safe and be well. xx

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Aritzia Obsession

The last thing I need in my wardrobe is another coat. Peer inside my crammed closets and you’ll find dozens of candy-colored leather moto jackets like this cropped Ruby metallic masterpiece (Veda is killing it!), sleek Mackage puffers and nubby Iro knits. Sadly, many of these have never been worn and still have tags attached. You can read more about my struggles with shopping addiction here, but I digress…

After stumbling upon this Joan Shearling jacket from Aritzia, I just might need to rethink my fall ’18 shopping strategy. Can you blame me?

Wilfred Free Joan Shearling Jacket  

Part of Aritzia’s private label, Wilfred Free, this stunning black shearling topper is everything I want and more – sleek, cozy, slightly oversized (perfect for layering my favorite fall sweaters) and extremely lightweight. But with a hefty price of $998, I might have to hold off ’til Aritzia’s highly-anticipated seasonal clientelling event (a.k.a. Friends & Family) starts. Who knows… maybe someone from Aritzia’s Vancouver-based HQ somehow gets this message? ‘Til then, guess it’s back to selling all my unworn stuff on TheRealReal.



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Fall Fashion Round-Up: What’s Trending

Valentino Rockstud Snake Ballerina Flat

Valentino Rockstud Snake Ballerina Flat

With a plethora of pre-fall items trickling into stores, now’s the time to nail down those investment pieces. Wait ‘til after Labor Day and the wardrobe staples you really want (Valentino Rockstud stilettos, anyone?) will be long gone. Without further adieu, my must-have list of early autumn statement pieces worth $plurging for.

Navy is The New Black

While burgundy, teal and dove grey are must-have hues for fall, the biggest shade du jour is without a doubt, midnight blue. So kick last year’s cobalt aside and make way for the new… navy. (more…)

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Mackage Arm Candy

Mackage Arm CandyI’ve been counting down the days ‘til Mackage’s highly anticipated handbag line hit the market. Alas, my friends – the moment has finally arrived! (more…)

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