Fashion designer Natt Taylor debuted her self-titled Belk collection on Thursday night at the Phipps Plaza location as a part of the company's Girl's Night Out promotion. The large crowd on hand, some wearing white Natt Taylor signature T-shirts, got a chance to see a number of pieces, including the Lola dress.
"That's my favorite and it's our bestseller," Taylor said while posing for pictures. "I think it will be one of Belk's bestsellers, too."
Models wore two of the newer items in the collection, the Tiffany dress and tandi top. Both items seemed to draw solid reviews from the public if cell phone pictures were any indication. One of five winners of the 2015 Belk Southern Design Competition, Taylor's designs will be sold in Georgia exclusively at Phipps Plaza but will be available throughout the South in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Born in Irvington, N.J., Taylor has made a name for herself by blending simple everyday colors, stripes and flowing materials that can easily matriculate between the office and after-hour drinks at one of the city's best restaurants. She describes her new collection as "sassy, chic and professional."
"My new collection at Belk will complement both sides of a girl's life: They can wear it to work and add an accessory and head to a dinner party," said the Morris Brown College graduate. "I want the collection to create balance in a woman's wardrobe. The pieces can be easily mixed and matched, four pieces can make eight to 10 looks."
The versatility of the Natt Taylor collection has a lot to do its simplicity; other than a sky-blue dress and seafoam dress ("Seafoam green is in right now," said Taylor), the new collection sticks to Taylor's signature stripes and black and whites color schemes. The Tiffany dress does come in an interesting blend of blue that looks a lot like gray.
The latest edition to Belk's new take on Southern style was meant to be. Upon learning of her selection as one of the five Belk Southern Design competition winners Taylor said, "I was ecstatic to be selected out of 300 applicants. When I first thought about applying, I felt Belk's customers were a lot like my own customers, so why not."
After graduating from Morris Brown (Class of '01) with an accounting degree, Taylor spent time in corporate America before her passion for fashion and design called for her to leave the world of credits and debits and take a job as a seamstress.
"My career, it sort of happened organically," Taylor said. "As a young girl I drew sketches and knew this was something I always wanted to do professionally."
Taylor has been in business since 2005. She started her career assisting clients with their personal wardrobes and coordinating weddings before selling her designs on natttaylor.com.
"When I first started designing I wanted to keep it low key," Taylor said by phone Tuesday night. "After seeing how my ideas and style can be brought to the masses after dealing with Belk, I'm OK with my clothes being sold in department stores," she chuckled.
"I am extremely excited about Natt Taylor being in Belk stores," said Taylor's publicist, Melva Robertson. "The Belk audience will love the quality and detailed design of the pieces."
Taylor's husband, Damarkus Taylor, echoed those comments Thursday night.
"It's been a long time coming," he said about his wife's humble start to being featured in one of America's largest department chains. "Seeing how hard she worked and being here to see the fruition is a blessing."
One of Taylor's clients, Christi Hector, the owner of the Pink Sky Boutique in Glenwood Park, was on hand as well. "It's amazing, to have her line at Belk," Hector said. "I'm very familiar with her work and have watched her line grow, so to see this is amazing."
"We want to continue to promote the website and expand to additional department stores," Taylor said.
Her designs will be sold in Georgia exclusively at Belk's Phipps Plaza location but will be available throughout the South at nine locations in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, respectively.
Taylor's motto is simple: Look good, feel good. "The message I want to send to women is that they can be comfortable, fabulous and completely covered."
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.