‘West Side Story’ Assistant Costume Designer Helps Launch Ladyfinch Company

·3 min read

Working in costume design in film and television, Isabelle Simone has had a hand in a multitude of on-camera looks — but now she is serving up gloves with the help of two other creatives.

Simone has worked in costume design for Stephen Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” and Julian Fellowes” “Gilded Age,” as well as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Irishman,” among other productions. Her cofounders of their new company Ladyfinch are Jill Meschino, an executive producer in advertising who helped cook up Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, and Stephanie Finch, an executive in the cosmetics industry. Simone and Finch have volleyed potential business ideas back and forth through the years. Finch and Meschino knew each other through the ballet world, in which their respective daughters are involved. During the pandemic, the pair discussed launching a line of washable glamorous gloves, and Simone was enlisted. “That was totally in my wheelhouse and we found that we were a great trio,” Simone said.

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Knowing that, in the age of COVID-19, gloves are no longer a thing of the past, Ladyfinch is trying to help fill that void. Launched primarily as a direct-to-consumer business, the brand offers machine washable ladylike gloves that retail between $140 and $225.

The three-style line and the company name were inspired by the glamorous women in their lives. Finch’s mother-in-law, for example, taught herself how to fly so that she could fly herself from her rural Illinois home to Chicago to shop the new collections in department stores. Meanwhile, Simone’s actress grandmother Sunnie O’Dea starred in the 1936 film “Show Boat.”

The Ladyfinch gloves are being made in New York and California. This fall, the brand aims to sell to more retail outposts beyond Vivaldi Boutique on the Upper East Side.

Offered in wrist length or to the elbow, the gloves are available in such colors as Parisian blue, beige, pink, yellow, white, black and light blue. To appeal to smartphone-wielding customers, there is a tech-friendly version with a signature ladyfinch bird on the index finger.

Ladyfinch’s founders initially imagined the stylish gloves being worn for safety purposes, but that has evolved into more of a fashion statement versus a precautionary measure. “Granted, I’m happy to be wearing them on the subway, touching the pole with my elegantly gloved hands and then I can just throw them in the washing machine, when I get home. There is an element of safety but it’s about more than that.”

Looking ahead, her expectation is there will be a return to glamour with people being more willing to break the rules. “After [all of] this, everybody just wants to look good and feel good. If that means you’re wearing a sequin gown to get your COVID-19 vaccine, then you’re wearing a sequin gown to get your COVID-19 vaccine. It’s all about doing what you want to do. We’ve been in the house so why not dress up and really go all out just to go out to dinner with your friends?”

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