Monday, July 26, 2010

Craig Channels His Inner Olympic Gymnast

Last Saturday in Greeley Square Park, Intern Craig visited Nastia Liukin during the launch of her new JCPenney collection Supergirl by Nastia.

I'm leaving my fashion journalist aspirations behind to join the U.S. Gymnastics Team. I don't think it'll matter that I haven't been able to touch my toes since I was born. My charm should win the judges over.

These Olympic aspirations stem from seeing Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin at Greeley Square on Saturday. Nastia was in town to launch her new clothing line for JCPenney, Supergirl by Nastia. The line, which is a joint venture through Warner Brothers and JCPenney, consists of active-wear for young dancers and gymnasts, and everyday outfits for all kinds of young girls. Most of the pieces are branded with the S-shield to give Nastia's fans a little Supergirl power boost.

In the morning, Nastia presented the collection using girls from the audience as models. I thought the black dress with the gold accents on the left was so cute. It's also Nastia's favorite piece from the line.

Then, Nastia led a gymnastics class in Greeley Square. Unfortunately, I was too old to participate but it looked like great fun. Later, though, I was able to sit down with her inside the store to ask a couple of questions about the line.

Craig: So, about the line: Who came to you first? Warner Brothers or JCPenney?

Nastia: Warner Brothers because it is called Supergirl. They've done so much with Superman and it's such an empowering message and I think little boys have always had their superheroes like Superman. Supergirl hasn't really evolved so when they came to me after the Olympics, I was just like "wow, me? There's millions of extremely talented girls out there in the world" and for me to be able to do this is just really incredible. And JCPenney is based in Plano, Texas which is where I live. It's so funny because I just hop in my car, go to the meeting, and I can drive right home. I feel like it was just destined to be.

Craig: So tell me a little bit about the design process.

Nastia: Well, I got to work really closely with the design team. They're out in L.A. so I traveled back and forth a lot this year and last year. I got to bring some of my personal wardrobe so they could see what my style was. So, we definitely incorporated a lot of the fleece sweatsuits because I'm in sweats all the time. I train 7 hours a day so it's sweats and leotards. So, we wanted to incorporate that into the line because that's something that's close to me. Growing up, I was very into fashion. I was always the one with the new leotards and matching sweats. Everything had to match: my clips, my socks, my cute sweatsuits. We wanted for that to be included. The colors of this collection are pinks and purples and then blacks, golds and silvers. The gold is obviously to represent my accomplishments at the Olympic games and pink is my signature color. We're definitely changing up the color palate for the next collection during holiday.

Craig: Oh, so there is going to be another collection?

Nastia: Yeah, we're done with holiday and we're almost done with the spring collection.

Craig: So, what are some of your favorite pieces from the line?

Nastia: This (pictured right) is one of my favorites. It's kinda casual but you can dress it up. I think a lot of younger girls are looking up to a lot of celebrities, musicians, pop-stars, and actresses so you see a lot of accessories. They aren't quite into wearing an extra necklace so this is actually attached to the dress. I thought it was such a cool touch especially with the S-shield. We didn't want everything to have the S-shield on it. Obviously, you're going to have some iconic shirts but with this it just adds a little bling. Comfort was another important component. Comfort and affordability.

Craig: I think it's so refreshing to actually have a celebrity designing their own line.

Nastia: That's the way I was. I didn't really want to do a line with just my name on it. I wanted it to come from my heart and I wanted it to be me. It's not just fashion, it has great meaning behind it to empower little kids to wear an S-shield on their necklace or on their shirts. I was one of them at some point. I had these dreams and I went after these dreams and I was able to achieve them. I'm hoping that I'll be able to spread that a little bit and to dream big.

While I was interviewing Nastia in the Supergirl section of JCPenney Manhattan Mall, the clothes were flying off the shelves. She'll also be visiting JCPenney stores in Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Orlando to promote the launch of the line. And, when the Supergirl tour is over, she'll be doing a joint gymnastics/figure skating show with fellow gold-medalist Evan Lysacek in her hometown. Then, as soon as that is over, she begins training to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. I am exhausted from just typing her schedule, I can only imagine how she feels. Perhaps I'll stick to fashion journalism after all and leave the Olympic toe-touching to Nastia?

Nastia Liukin's Supergirl
Now available at JCPenney Manhattan Mall, 33rd & 6th Avenue