Creator of HOLLYWOULD brand, Holly Dunlap, is truly a Renaissance woman. Not only is she the genius behind HOLLYWOULD shoes and bags, now she is the brilliance behind HOLLYWOULD brand clothing.
The first line of HOLLYWOULD shoes appeared at Bergdorf Goodman in the spring of 2000, since then things for Dunlap have never been the same. She used the inspiration of west coast glamour, fused it with her personal experience in print and apparel design and a love for shoes. Instantly a star was born. Then, to meet the huge demand that HOLLYWOULD had sparked, Dunlap created a colorful, flirty clothing collection to compliment what she had already established. HOLLYWOULD dresses debuted in 2004.
Dunlap's story is one of hard work and high fashion dreams come true. She began as an unpaid intern at 17 (well, she was paid in Manolo’s), attended design school in Paris and worked for Christian Lacroix and Vivieene Westwood. Then, for 3 years, Holly was the head designer at Lilly Pulitzer. It's only fitting that a woman with her credentials would start her own fabulous line.
HOLLYWOULD shoes and bags are available at over 60 better boutiques and department stores worldwide. The most recent clothing collection is available at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
FACTIO MAGAZINE: Give us an inside look into your career as founder and creative director of HOLLYWOULD. HOLLY DUNLAP: I divide my time between being “CEO” and “Creative Director” and between NYC and Florence, Italy, which keeps me pretty busy! The CEO part is generally finding ways to drive the brand and revenues forward, and the Creative Director part (the fun part!) is thinking up pretty designs for shoes, bags, and clothing. I live about 5 months of the year in NYC and 7 months in Florence, going back and forth about every other month.
FM: Describe your signature style. HD: Depending on the season, my look varies from “poolside cocktails” to “après ski”. I tend to always dress like I’m on vacation and/or on my way to a cocktail party, which makes for lots of color and fun.
FM: What are your favorite shops worldwide? HD: I like little shops no one has ever heard of, like my custom bikini maker in Capri and my custom jewelry maker in Florence. I travel constantly and I usually have 2 or 3 shops I have to visit in each city because they sell something you can’t get anywhere else. Those shops are sadly becoming more & more rare.
FM: What are some of your favorite places to travel and what do you always pick up for your wardrobe? HD: In the summer I love Capri, Cap d’Antibes, and St. Tropez. Those places are great because all you need is a bikini, heels, and some sparkly dresses and you can buy the rest of your wardrobe at the local flea market. In the winter my family goes to Telluride where I bundle up in cashmere to keep warm!
FM: What are you always on the hunt for? HD: I collect just about everything, from cool sunglasses to estate jewelry, so I am on the hunt for new finds 24/7. My biggest collection is probably of vintage jersey dresses, so I can’t pass by a thrift shop without running in to see what they have.
FM: What are some of the wardrobe staples we’d find in your closet? HD: Lately I’ve been living in my HOLLYWOULD gold lurex jeans and leopard “Candy” peep-toe shoes, and I always have a stack of cashmere sweaters in a rainbow of colors.
FM: What women and men (from which city worldwide) have great style and why? HD: I love Lou Dillon’s style for France, Margherita Missoni for Italy, and Chloe Sevigny for NYC. There aren’t too many celebrity men with great style, and my younger brother has amazing over-the-top preppy style that puts everyone to shame!
FM: Do you think money and style go hand in hand or can style never be bought? Is it something you just have? HD: With a good stylist and personal shopper, style can definitely be bought. All of the well-dressed celebs in Hollywood weren’t born with great taste, but they have been smart enough to hire someone who was!
FM: What would people be most surprised to know about you? HD: I love to cook! I never cook in NYC, but in Italy I cook a big dinner every night!
FM: Did you know when you started your company that you would rise to the success that you have? HD: When I started the company I never had a plan for success, I just wanted to make pretty shoes. It took me about 6 months to realize that staying in business takes a lot more than just pretty shoes, so I had to change tactics and focus more on making the success part happen.
FM: What tips would you give women in general to be well rounded, balancing out life and business? HD: Don’t start your own company! I don’t know any successful entrepreneurs who lead truly well-rounded lives, so I would suggest that if “balance” is your goal, you work for someone else!
FM: What do you see yourself doing in five years? HD: Hopefully finding that balance mentioned above!
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