Mixing playful prints and bold color-blocking with sleek silhouettes—we are thrilled that Raoul is part of eBay’s Designer Collective. So we sat down with their creative director, Odile Benjamin, to talk ostrich skirts, must-have handbags, and the art of ‘office dressing.’
How would describe your role and your day-to-day at Raoul?
My role at Raoul is creative director. My day starts with answering emails from several time zones, then depending on where I am (Singapore, London, Milan or NY) I will meet with my design team. We are always working on two collections at the same time, the one we are about to ship to stores and the next season’s collection. There is never a dull moment!
What are your favorite trends right now and how do they show up in the fall collection?
My favorite trends for the fall… Where should I begin? I love our black and ivory diamond shaped graphics for fall worn with our pointy toe bootie or black quilted sneakers. I worked in several fabrications and I had fun mixing in leather treatments and accents.
You’re an expert! So what are the wear-to-work basics every woman should own?
What’s the secret to taking a look from polished-at-the-office to stunning-at-dinner?
As a wife and working mother of four children between the ages of 2 and 21, I often find myself racing from the office to evening events. My no-fail recipe is to start with basics and layer. One of our great pencil skirts or our famous skinny pant paired with our black hi-neck cocoon sweater with gold lurex flecks. Before leaving the office I’ll slip out of the skirt or pant and into a fun short ostrich skirt and accessorize with our gold crinkled metal cuff and our T-bar sandals with a gold heel.
What’s your take on handbags—are there certain shapes and colors every woman should own?
When it comes to handbags most women gravitate toward the color black—it’s timeless and seasonless so every woman should start there. As her collection grows she should add a luggage color and eventually some pop colors like red. I normally carry our Birdy tote during the day and switch to our Gabo clutch for the evening.
Do you (or does Raoul) have a style icon?
The women and celebrities I dress become my icons! Whether I’m at a Saks, Neiman Marcus, or Harrods event dressing real women, or seeing the Duchess of Cambridge in Raoul… They are all my icons!
What’s the best thing you’ve bought on eBay?
I collect Lalique and I recently purchased a signed Lalique Luxembourg bowl on eBay. It is simply divine.
What do you love to do when you’re not designing?
When I’m not designing or attending to my duties as a board member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, I love to bake and spend time with my family.