Winter in Bloom: DS x Mestiza
Why should a stunning print be limited to special occasions? That was the question that helped launch our collaboration with Mestiza, maker of heirloom-quality occasionwear. The brand’s original Chinoiserie print has graced its dresses and gowns—at least one customer even wore it on her wedding day. What if it was on something you could wear to make a “regular” day feel special, like a Dudley Stephens top?
Now you can, on our limited edition DS x Mestiza Park Slope Turtleneck and Sheffield Island Pullover, both in Classic Chinoiserie on our recycled fleece. To celebrate our brand partnership, we sat down with Mestiza Co-Founders Alessandra Perez-Rubio and Louisa Rechter Takacs to talk female founders, festive florals—and putting their bestselling print on our fan-favorite fleece.
What’s the launch story behind your brand?
Louisa: Alessandra and I met in college—we bonded instantly over our shared family roots in the Philippines and the beautiful, heirloom quality vintage clothing we’d inherited from our mothers and grandmothers. Fast forward some years when we both lived in New York City, when lots of our friends were getting married and we struggled to find that same quality our mothers and grandmothers enjoyed in special occasionwear.
Alessandra: So we kind of set out to create our own collection with a nod to that vintage heritage. We use slow batch manufacturing, to create something that's really special that can be shared with future generations. There's a kind of sustainable element to the idea of getting a lot of wear out of one piece.
The past few years have had a lot of ups and downs as far as planning in-person occasions. How has Mestiza evolved during this time?
Alessandra: At first the pandemic forced Louisa and I to sit down and consider our voice and offering at this unprecedented time when no one knew what was going to happen. One thing that was really important to us was to elevate other female founders. That’s what our Tastemakers series is all about—a community where we can share what we’re learning together. We focus on women making an impact in big and small ways—creating more beauty by being bold and putting something out into the world. And that just made us stronger once everything came back to life post-pandemic.
Louisa: That time also showed us an opportunity to diversify our product a bit—to consider putting our prints on things our customer could wear to the gym or out and about with white jeans. We began to collaborate with other female founders who were already so strong in those other product categories.
Why Dudley Stephens?
Louisa: For all of the above-mentioned reasons! I’ve loved my Park Slopes for forever—it’s always reminded me of something Audrey Hepburn would wear. Like our brand identity, Dudley Stephens is about timeless pieces that stay in your closet forever, with an eco-friendly element and strong female founders behind the brand.
Alessandra: We said, our customers come to us for different—yet similar—reasons. They want to feel their best for a variety of different occasions. Imagine if you could put our print on a fleece you’d wear to ski or to play tennis? Instead of a run-of-the-mill sporty fleece, you’d have this Dudley Stephens chic turtleneck or pullover with a super feminine print aesthetic.
Let’s talk about that print. What was your inspiration for it, and how do you imagine women embracing it on a fleece top?
Louisa: That print has been in our collection since we began. We both love blue and white in a decor sense—it’s kind of ingrained in our souls. I remember my mom was all about decorating the house in that color palette, and we’ve talked to women who are like, if I could be an inanimate object I would literally be a blue and white ginger jar.
Alessandra: So we wanted to transfer that palette everyone loves to clothing, because it really transcends seasons and styles and trends. It’s always relevant, it always makes you feel beautiful. Especially at this time of year, when we all tend to veer toward black and other dark neutrals, it just feels so optimistic and fresh to have a print like this that you can wear in the winter months.