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Vanessa Traina Launches Her Collab with Maje and Clears Up that Birkin Schoolbag Rumor

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Last night at Barneys New York, Vanessa Traina, fashion designer/editor/muse/model/It Girl (not mention progeny of celebrated romance novelist Danielle Steel) launched her capsule collection with French label Maje. We had a chance to chat with the stunning and soft-spoken multi-hyphenate before the blowout, which was attended by Vanessa's sisters Victoria and Samantha, plus her bevy of boldface-name friends, including a couple Olsen Twins and hot young designers Alexander Wang, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler and Joseph Altuzarra.

The Vanessa Traina x Maje collaboration line features 14 basic pieces in Parisian jet-black and a splash of crisp white and accented with bits of alluring lace trim and feminine draping. The price points are on the affordable side of contemporary designer chic—adorable silk short-shorts are $155, tapered trousers are $235 and a long cami asymmetrical dress is $265. Vanessa entered the interview wearing the tailored silk collar jacket ($490) and straight trousers, both which perfectly framed her own jungle-green and black cut-out drapey top. After admitting the top was a Balenciaga, she then clarified, "The point of the collection was to make pieces that could seamlessly slip into your wardrobe that you can mix with whatever else you have or you want and I'm trying to display that."

Racked: Tell us about the inspiration for your capsule collection with Maje.

Vanessa: The inspiration was really to create season-less separates, easy to wear pieces that still maintain really chic and timeless quality.

Racked: You've been cited as inspirational muse for hot designers, such as Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Alexander Wang—so, who or what inspires you?

Vanessa: This particular collection was really supposed to be about me, so I really put myself into the clothes and created pieces that I felt described me and my style. Close friends of mine who have seen the collection say that they really see me in it which I take as a compliment because I put a lot of myself into it. I draw inspiration from everywhere—just what's made me and my style over the last few years.

Racked: You've been immersed in fashion from a very young age—attending fashion shows as a child with your mother, etc.—, do you recall that one big moment that made you realize you wanted to work in fashion?

Vanessa: For me, I just knew all along that that's what I wanted to do. My mother really exposed us to fashion starting at a very young age and she had a genuine respect and love for fashion, which she passed onto us. So, it was something I was passionate about for a really long time and I just knew I wanted to explore that passion and I feel really lucky. It's so rare to really know where you want to go for so long. I always knew I'd do something in fashion. I think when I started doing shoots with my sister, when I was a teenager, and seeing how stylists worked and everything—that's where I want to go, that's the position I want to take.

Racked: OK, we just have to ask—growing up, did you really carry your books to school in a Birkin?

Vanessa: (Laughs) No! Someone started that rumor a long time ago. When we were growing up, my mother had some Birkins and Kellys—from her mother even. So we always used to steal—or borrow—her things. So I did wear Birkins sometimes, but it wasn't my day-to-day school bag.

Racked: Does your mom really own 6000 pairs of Louboutins, too?

Vanessa: That's a rumor too. I don't know where everyone gets this! I don't know where that rumor came from, but I have four sisters, so you have to think that of all the shoes that my mother's bought all of us, it adds up and it's under her name. That's definitely not 6000 pairs, but it's also divided by five girls, so....

Racked: Since we're still on the subject of your romance novelist mom, if you could give your capsule collection with Maje a romance novel title, what would it be?

Vanessa: Oh my gosh. I don't know. That's why she's the writer and not me. (Laughs). Um...let's see...(Thinks for a bit). Can I just pick one of her titles? (Thinks a bit more). Um...I really don't know...

Racked: It's OK. So what else will we be expecting from you on the fashion-wise beyond this collection?

Vanessa: I'm working as a freelance fashion editor for T magazine and hopefully I'll have some other fun projects in the future and I'll let you guys know when I do. I'm so excited about this collection and hopefully it'll expand in some way in the future.

· Maje [Official Site]
· Barneys New York [Official Site]