Holy Tee

Few full-fledged fashion labels get their start as a humble blog, yet that's precisely how Holy Tee was born. After designer Michelle Zacks began posting photos of interesting t-shirts on her site, Holy Tee, she conceived her idea for a collection of seriously luxe jersey tees. Over time, Holy Tee evolved into a beloved line made up of fluid separates with a contemporary twist. Zacks' latest collection, in particular, is a blend of sensual sensibilities combined with downtown edge, designed for the trendsetter who values comfort as much as style. We picked out several must-have pieces, featuring billowy silhouettes, ultra-flattering cuts, and intriguing embellishments, to take you through the season. Check them out, as well as our exclusive Q&A with Zacks, after the jump!Charlie Leather Collar Trim Dress ($257)
The feminine silhouette of the Charlie dress--a nipped-in waist and full, swingy skirt, paired with a leather collar--makes this little black number edgy but also daytime-appropriate. Add a dash of colour to your look with a neon clutch or a pair of bright heels.

Dagger Fringe V-Hem Tee ($235, 212.334.3646)
A fringed hem lends bohemian allure to a soft grey t-shirt. The teal tassels add movement to a simple outfit, making this top a no-brainer for teaming with your favourite pair of jeans.

Doux Ruffled Maxi Dress ($286) in Black
This black maxi is full of interesting details, including sheer panels and a ruffled hem and sleeves. Just looking at it gives us plenty of styling ideas: you can channel boho chic with ankle boots and silver jewellery, or opt for high-glamour with stilettos and swept-back hair.

James Leather Sleeve Shirt ($288)
A little bit sporty and a whole lot of chic, the James shirt is a great piece for an off-duty ensemble. Its shape is quite basic, but leather sleeves keep the top from looking like loungewear. Toss it on with skinny jeans and flats when you're running errands or on a casual outing!

Jibe Twist Hem Tee ($115) in White
The Jibe tee is an elegant take on a classic closet staple--the simple white t-shirt. Go casual by pairing it with high-waisted, printed shorts and strappy sandals, or dress it up a little with a sweet skirt and chunky jewellery.--Tiffany Tse

Q&A with Michelle Zacks
What inspired the start of your design career?
I have been involved in some area of the fashion industry since I moved to New York City 15 years ago. A couple of years back, I started a blog called Holy Tee as a creative side project. I didn't have any other intention for it at the time--I would simply post a picture of a t-shirt everyday. I love t-shirts! I wear them all the time and have a large collection of both new and vintage tees. Over time, the idea for a collection of luxury tees and other garments made from jersey fabrics started to develop, and that is how Holy Tee was born. The name itself is a play on words. It is meant to evoke the sacred, like a t-shirt being the Holy Grail of fashion. Also, it hints at the word "holey," for that item of clothing you love so much you wear it to death. I hope that both those ideas come through in each collection.

What was the inspiration behind this season's collection?
When starting a collection, I always want there to be an ideal woman that I am designing for: a fashion dream. For this fall, I imagined a woman with a very jet set lifestyle, someone like '70s icon Talitha Getty. The word "hostess" kept coming to mind. There are lots of silhouettes inspired by kimonos, robes, tunics, and caftans--items of clothing which I think are very sexy and luxurious. There are touches of silk chiffon, leather, lace, and velvet, which I also think are sensual fabrics and bring some texture when combined with the jersey. I think the key to our clothing is that it is comfortable and sexy at the same time.

How would you style specific pieces from this collection? Do you have a favourite piece in the collection?
The Jibe tee is slightly fitted and has a cool hemline detail, so I personally would wear it layered over a long, simple dress just as easily as I would wear it with a pair of jeans. My two favourite pieces in the collection are the Lola dress, with the fringe v-neck, and the Wisewoman kimono-style chiffon dress. The former I could see myself wearing to a lot of different places, whereas the latter makes for a super-special fashion moment.

What kind of girl do you envision wearing your clothing?
The Holy Tee woman is magical and mysterious, comfortable and confident in her style. As the collection evolves, I find that people really love our dresses! I think this is a reflection of the kind of clothing that our customer wants right now and that reflects our aesthetic: something easy you can put on that has a little bit of sexiness to it. There are styles from this particular collection that I could see being worn by someone like Zoe Kravitz or Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine) who would really personalise it, as well as by my best friends. (Hopefully! They are a good-looking bunch!).

How does your design process for a collection start?
I begin each collection by writing down all the words and ideas that are floating around in my head, until I come up with a theme to work around. I like to marry a few disparate elements, which I think makes for a more interesting collection. I usually sketch the basis of a collection in one sitting, then I refine and add on as I go. I am a big collector of visual images, so I then make an inspiration board for each collection. We do a lot of fabric and trim research each season, to bring in new ways to reimagine t-shirt dressing. I often reference vintage clothing, specifically vintage tees, and look closely at their silhouettes, hand-feel, and other details. Our collection if designer and produced in New York, which is also something I'm very proud of.

Headshot image, courtesy of Danielle Levitt; lookbook images, courtesy of Jody Rogac.