Hair and makeup expert turned fashion designer Erin Barr established herself in the beauty industry after graduating from the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis. Barr garnered an address book full of celebrity clients and worked on editorial shoots in New York City as a hair and makeup artist. Although she gained much success, Barr longed to discover her true calling.
“It happened gradually in the hair and makeup industry first, here in New York. I kept itching for more, wanting to create a greater picture beyond just hair and makeup. So I decided to go back to school and make it happen, and now here I am,” Barr said.
Barr moved to London in 2006 to study at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design for a year. Subsequently she returned to the U.S. in 2007 to complete her degree at Parson’s New School of Design.
An internship at Alexander Wang and position as design assistant at Cushnie Et Ochs introduced Barr to the fashion industry work. When asked what fuels her inspiration, Barr said, “I pull a lot of inspiration from the women around me and also from the woman that I envision. I like the idea of ease, yet with a little twist. It’s accessible luxury and easily translates from day to night.”
Barr noted that “tomboy-chic sexiness” was an apparent theme in her spring 2013 collection. The widespread-collar dress shirt and terry wrap-front top and dress are perfectly boyish while still being sexy. Patti Smith and Nico, two of Barr’s style icons, inspired her designs.
“This spring, the Erin Barr woman is wearing a silk button-down layered with some structured jackets and jeans,” Barr said. “Come summer she’ll get into the lighter-weight button-down dresses with [a] possible cut-out. For fall, it’s going to be more about layering strong designer pieces combined with easy, comfortable ones.”
Comfort and ease are key factors in Barr’s aesthetic. However, she combines them with structure, class and power to create her modern-chic clothing. Her latest collection, shown earlier this month at New York Fashion Week, featured pieces with cutouts, silky fabrics and neutral tones with pops of mint and purple. Barr has transitioned from her presentations last season to a runway show this season, and her collections keep getting better and more refined.