Melanie Lyne - Rita Lee

Olive parka with belt detail
Taupe faux suede military inspired jacket with zipper detail
Leopard print knit cardigan
Indigo strapless dress
Black strapless dress
Charcoal sequined dress
Black gown with spaghetti straps

Rita Lee - Vice-President, Merchandising, Melanie Lyne.

SV: What is your schedule like? What is your role within the company?
RL: I have the top merchandising role in Melanie Lyne meaning I direct a very talented team of category managers and stylists who buy and develop the product for our stores.  My days and weeks are always packed with many internal meetings, market appointments, conference calls, store visits and travel.

SV: Did you always want to do this growing up?
RL: I always wanted to work in an ever changing environment and fashion retail was my answer to that – there is always something happening, each line and each season is different, the people are dynamic and passionate about what they do and now retail has evolved from just bricks & mortar to e-commerce, something new all the time.

SV: How does Melanie Lyne differ from Laura (Laura, Laura Petites, Laura Plus) ?
Can you tell us a little bit about the clothes? Who designs them, the process they have to go through to make each collection?
RL:Melanie Lyne appeals to the modern woman who wants the current trends that fit her ‘woman’s’ body.  She has a confident sense of style and can adapt the fashion to suit her lifestyle.
We carry dresses, coats, sportswear and accessories for career, special occasion and casual needs.   Our assortments are made up of ‘market buys’ or brands such as Jessica McClintock, Jones New York and Vex and we also develop product under our own Melanie Lyne private brand to offer a truly unique mix to our customer.  The market brands are carefully selected by our category managers from domestic and American suppliers.  Our stylists and category managers review past performance, research trends through various colour and trends services, fabric sources, travel to Europe and the U.S. for the latest fashions.  They pull together the colour stories, silhouettes and key looks for the season which will appeal to our target customer.  It is the partnership with our production team that brings the clothes to fruition and the same partnership with our visual and store teams to showcase them in our beautiful stores and offer exceptional advice and service to our ultimate consumer.

SV:Are there any particular trends we will see that will transition from fall to winter?
RL: Colour blocking, mixed media (mix of fabrics and textures in one garment), tunic looks, animal prints, fur trims (both real and faux), tweed looks and the existing colour stories of charcoal, camel, accents of red, cognac and burnt orange will definitely continue.  The ‘refined’ clean lines in career suiting and trousers continue right beside the ‘extravagant’ fur trims, sequins, velvets, pleated chiffons and ruffles associated with ‘special occasion’ dressing.

SV: Has Melanie Lyne changed over time? What has remained?
RL: Melanie Lyne has remained true to her target customer.   Her needs and lifestyle have changed over the years (eg. Casualization of the work place, need for more versatility in her clothing needs). Our clothing assortment reflects these changes.  Our stores continue to be renovated and updated to give her a modern and comfortable shopping environment. We continue to educate our sales associates with product information so they can be the most knowledgeable ‘stylists’ for our customer.  As a company we have always strived to be informed about all new trends, whether in fashion, stores, visual presentation, logistics, marketing, production or service and adapt them to suit us and our target customer.

SV: Any advice for someone wanting to get into this industry?
RL: For anyone who wants to be in the fashion retail industry, become a sales associate in a store where you are passionate about the clothes.  This is the best way to learn first hand about the clothes, what the customer wants and the entire shopping process and interaction.  It starts with listening to the customer.

Multi-colour coat with stand collar
Camel coat

These are some pieces from Melanie Lyne's Fall/Winter 2011 Collection for all of you to enjoy! (Click the pictures to enlarge)
How breathtaking is that Black Gown with Spaghetti Straps!? 
Items are available at select Melanie Lyne stores.