Mary Alice Haney makes the kinds of clothes that become go-tos for anyone who wears them. Her particular brand of laid-back luxe is especially appealing to the Hollywood set who want to ooze glamour without looking as though it took a lot of effort.
Haney started out as a stylist for A-listers such as Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lawrence and channeled her understanding of how clothing should fit and what women really want to wear into her eponymous line of dresses and separates—Haney.
We chatted with the style expert to find out where she finds her inspiration, what she really wears day-to-day and how every woman can achieve that sexy Cali style she's known for.
Let’s start with your personal style, what is your go-to daily uniform?
"I am very much a California girl. I am super casual during the day—Beyond Yoga pants ($77) have been a staple in my wardrobe for years. My day begins at 6AM with five kids getting ready for school! These are easy to throw on, flattering, and allow me to go from dropping the kids off at school, to yoga, and then to my office and production studio. At night, I am very much the Haney woman. I love to dress up and be both sexy and glamourous. A Haney dress with a great pair of heels (usually Louboutin or Giuseppe Zanotti) is so LA to me—an undone, casual sexiness that's never fussy."
You worked as a stylist for years on the red carpet. What was one of your favorite looks you ever styled?
"I love the Sex and the City covers I styled for Marie Claire. We styled 4 separate covers for Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis—it was right at the height of Sex and the City madness."
How did you make the transition from editor to stylist to designer? What prompted that progression?
"It has been a very natural progression. I learned to tell a great fashion story as an editor and worked with so many incredible designers and photographers. They taught me so much. I took this knowledge to every shoot or red carpet event I styled. I created a fashion moment, making each actress look her absolute best. The Haney collection is very reflective of my celebrity styling—all very sexy and glamorous. I took what I learned about dressing different body types and brought that into my designs. A women who puts on a Haney piece will have her fashion moment. When she walks into a room heads will turn."
The tagline for your collection is Casual Glamour. What does that mean to you? How do you achieve that in your life?
"Haney is glamorous and sexy, but in a very California way. It is effortless sex appeal and body-conscience without being restrictive. "
Is there a celebrity whom you think embodies Casual Glamour best at the moment?
"Kate Husdon is the ultimate Haney glamour girl. She can be boho chic and glamorous all at the same time. I also think Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has the casual sexy glamour that embodies Haney."
How can average women achieve casual glamour in their everyday lives?
"Adapt to your environment and wear what makes you feel beautiful, confident and comfortable."
You seem to have an eye for detail, what are the details you love most in your collection?
"Fabric and cut are the most important details. I think it's due to my years as a stylist, but everyone says a Haney dress makes their body look and feel incredible."
Your collection is customizable which is a newer concept for consumers. Why is that element of your collection so important?
"We use a traditional sales model and sell on our e-commerce platform, Shophaney.com as well as, work with wonderful partners including Net-a-Porter, Moda Operandi, Saks and Scoop. I wanted the Haney platform to offer something different for our customers. On Shophaney.com, you can make a Haney piece your own. Customers can create an exclusive size or length that tailors to different body shapes and personal preferences, as many women are different and want those options to be available.
Your collection is luxury, but are there any affordable lines, brands or stores that you love to shop? What affordable pieces do you stock up on?
"I love anything my best friend Marlien Rentmeester puts on lecatch.com. Her site is my go-to for finding a way to look great in a casual and affordable way."
What is your favorite piece in your current collection?
I love them all, but wear my Alice side slit pants ($1,200) almost every day. I love that I can wear them with sandals during the day, and then pair them with heels and look glamorous in an instant for a night out. The sexy side slit makes them very 'Haney.'
What is your design process like? Does it start with a feeling? An image? A muse?
"It changes every time. Sometimes it's a particular movement, or a photograph or a girl I have seen on the street. I work with my team to sketch and find beautiful fabrics while designing each collection. Every collection is inspired by Los Angeles. My recent muses were Kate Moss and Johnny Depp at the Chateau Marmont—they had a sexy ease about them that inspired the last Haney collection."