There is no SUV with tinted windows. Havaianas flip-flops and Lanvin sunglasses will do for model-actress Liberty Ross as she treks up PCH near Malibu. She is taking things in stride, despite headlines announcing her recently finalized, multimillion-dollar divorce settlement from director Rupert Sanders, following his much-publicized dalliance with actress Kristen Stewart.
"I love walking," Ross announces, settling into a seat at Starbucks to discuss some other breaking news: the Genetic x Liberty Ross capsule collection she has designed with premium denim brand Genetic Los Angeles that is scheduled to hit stores on Friday.
This may be the British beauty's first foray into fashion design, but Ross, 35, is a pro at walking, having sashayed down many a catwalk — most recently at Tom Ford's fall presentation. One of her first modeling jobs when she was a child was posing for the cover of Ozzy Osbourne's "No Rest For the Wicked" album. After fashion photographer Mario Testino spotted her, she booked campaigns for Sonia Rykiel and Burberry (with Kate Moss), and her career took off.
But before all that, Ross was a California girl, and you can see that in the collection.
"Soon after I was born, my parents knew they were coming here to pursue some sort of American dream; hence my name," she says. "My father started the roller disco Flipper's at La Cienega and Santa Monica boulevards. It had a gold domed roof and the most amazing pink neon logo light with a skater doing a back flip over the top. I personally think disco is having a huge comeback, which is why I chose a Flipper's-inspired graphic print for the line. The other print is plaid and London '90s grunge-inspired."
Ross, who has worn Genetic for years, met the brand's founder and creative director Ali Fatourechi at a dinner party hosted by L.A.-based photographer and artist Lisa Eisner, and the two decided to team up about a year ago.
"For me, Liberty represents this girl who I always thought is the Genetic girl," says Fatourechi. "She has this healthy arrogance that I think is so contagious."
The connection got stronger in March, after the collaboration was underway, when Ross' boyfriend, music mogul Jimmy Iovine, took a minority stake in Genetic, as did Hard Rock Café cofounder Peter Morton.
"I have been a fan of Genetic since they first came out," says Ross. "They are the most comfortable jeans. You literally feel like you're in your sweats. Ali gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted to do. It's been fun, pulling from aspects of my life and using the design work I've seen and loved as a model."
The seven-piece collection ($176-$576) has four jeans, a skirt, jacket and romper and will be available locally at Neiman Marcus, Ron Herman, Curve and Elyse Walker.
The company has had prior collaborations with celebrity stylist Petra Flannery, Curve boutique owner Nevena Borissova, and celebrity stylist and interior designer Estee Stanley.
"Our mission statement, from a brand perspective, is that we want Genetic to represent the creative spirit of Los Angeles," says Fatourechi.
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