Shes the star of televisions New Girl series, She & Him singer and HelloGiggles.com creative director. Now, Zooey Deschanel is adding fashion designer to her considerable list of talents, with a new collection of dresses for Tommy Hilfiger that hit Hilfiger and Macys stores last week.
Deschanels distinctive quirky-preppy-feminine style on screen, on red carpets and in real life is what attracted Hilfiger.
Its unusual and spirited. She doesnt take herself too seriously, which is nice, he says. We love red, white and blue; she does too. We love the vintage look; she does too. It was a marriage made in heaven.
The 34-year-old actress-musician is a down-to-earth California girl. She grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel and actress Mary Jo Deschanel. She made her film debut in 1999 in Mumford, was featured in Cameron Crowes Almost Famous and starred alongside Will Ferrell in Elf.
In 2007, she and singer-songwriter M. Ward released their first album as indie rock duo She & Him. And since 2011, shes been the lead character on the Fox comedy New Girl.
Over the years, Deschanel has developed her unmistakable personal style signatures a warm chestnut hair color with a fringed curtain of bangs; make-you-smile nail art; red lips (Chanel Rebelle, although now that its been discontinued, shes on the hunt for a new shade); and retro-feminine frocks with a nod to 1960s and 70s stars Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Deneuve and Mary Tyler Moore.
On the red carpet, where Deschanel favors ladylike looks by Oscar de la Renta and others, its refreshing that she never seems to be trying too hard or letting it all hang out.
When you first start out, a lot of people are telling you what you should and shouldnt do, she says. It took a little bit of time for me to speak out and say, I kinda want to wear what I like. Its freeing to be able to express yourself that way.
On screen, shes been compared to a modern-day Lucille Ball, which she says is the ultimate compliment. Her timing was so perfect, Deschanel says.
Deschanels New Girl costumes have spawned style blogs devoted to cataloging her colorful Kate Spade dresses and cheerful parrot-print pajamas.
A love of vintage
But despite all of her glittering Hollywood success, Deschanel is a DIY-er at heart. Her mom taught her to sew at an early age, after catching her trying to wrap thread around a straight pin.
Her relationship with fashion started with shopping for fabrics at F&S and Michaels stores and sewing her own clothes. Then it progressed to a love of vintage.
I have a huge vintage clothing collection, says Deschanel. Last summer when I was on tour, I had to ship two giant boxes home. I went to Goodwill, Salvation Army, any thrift store in any town we were in.
Part of the appeal of collaborating with Hilfiger was getting to adapt details from her vintage favorites to today. She has her own term to describe the To Tommy, From Zooey collection: Modical, as in a marriage of 60s mod and Hilfiger heritage red, white and blue nautical.
Most 60s shift dresses are really boxy, but ours are more A-line and flattering. They are designed for women, not just coat hangers, she says. And modern fabrics are soooo much better and more comfortable.
The Tommy collection
The collection which includes 16 dresses, two purses and a handful of jewelry and is priced from $35 to $199 has a retro feel, with lots of special collar, pocket and button details. A white boucle sleeveless shift has a red sideways patch pocket and a row of red dome buttons down one side, for example, and a navy-and-white colorblock jersey dress has a hidden side pocket, with red lining peeking out.
I made a dress with box pleats that had a hidden pleat detail like this when I was a kid, Deschanel said recently at the Tommy Hilfiger store on Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, pointing to a blue-and-red box pleated dress with stripes peeking out from the folds. It was my crowning achievement.
The Season 3 finale of New Girl, to air May 6, will feature Deschanel wearing three dresses from the new Hilfiger collection.
It happens to take place on a cruise ship, so it was perfect, she said.