Timeless fashion is the core philosophy behind Senza Tempo and translates to “without time” from Italian. Founder and designer Kristen Fanarakis wanted to create an accessible luxury line of womenswear that could live in your closet forever. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel or follow trends she put into production classic silhouettes that women of many body types and ages could appreciate.
Timeless icons such as Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn are the inspiration behind the line of dresses, tops, and skirts at Senza Tempo. Instead of fast fashion, Kristen wanted to put bespoke quality and details such as silk linings and lace finished hems into her garments. The Made in America mantra is why Senza Tempo prides themselves with high quality fashion. Kristen can monitor quality control in her L.A. factory where the workers are being paid fare wages in a healthy work environment.
The Brigitte style that I’m wearing here is a tunic style dress that has one of my favorite details – pockets! Constructed of luxurious stretch Italian virgin wool and lined with a stretch silk charmeuse you can instantly feel the quality when you put it on. Perfect for both work meetings to a fancy brunch on the weekend, it’s versatile style also transcends seasons.
View more to read my Q & A with founder and designer of Senza Tempo, Kristen Fanarakis. Her story behind her philosophy on timeless fashion and journey to creating her line is inspiring.
Brigitte Tunic Dress $925 by Senza Tempo // Rose gold hoops $230, 14k rose gold ring with opal and diamonds $2,000, 14k rose gold ring with morganite and diamonds $1,700 from Gold Creations // Pout Bucket Bag in Marble $638 by Ellia Wang //Luxury Wig Flatscreen sunglasses by Raen $150 // Similar shoes here
What inspired you to create Senza Tempo?
The idea first came to when I was looking for a simple, well-made, black A-line skirt. It’s a style that’s never really out of style, yet all I could find were very high-end designer versions. They were too expensive and made of fabrics that were too delicate to wear on a Wall Street trading desk.
I realized there was an opportunity in the market for timeless elevated, wardrobe essentials that were high quality, but not outrageously priced. I also knew there were other women like me who bought specific silhouettes because they suited their shape or style which is why we always offer three core silhouettes. The core tenets of Senza Tempo were born out of this confluence: offer a luxury quality product without the excessive markup in timeless styles. It shouldn’t be that hard to find simple classic basics, but it is — or was rather.
What was your tipping point?
I felt confident in my idea for Senza Tempo from a business and market opportunity perspective, but I worried about my design skills. Loving fashion and designing it are two different things. I have an MBA not an MFA in fashion design. The atelier that produces Senza Tempo in Los Angeles also works with the costume designer, Debra McGuire. She selected my very first sample (the Lawson cocktail) for Zooey Deschanel to wear on New Girl. I thought — if one of the best costume designers in the industry thought my dresses were good enough to use on national TV, then I must know more than I realize.
When did you launch your line?
I started the product development in 2015 after I found my manufacturer, which took over a year. Finding an American company that could create a garment whose quality was on par with European brands was a huge challenge. There’s only a handful of clothing manufacturers left in America, and they tend to make casual wear or denim. I soft launched in 2016.
How has working in finance prepared you for running a fashion company?
In finance you have to be able to look at a set of data objectively, figure out the noise from the trends and make a forecast about what will happen. In fashion, there’s no mathematical formula for what makes the right dress. It’s easy to get caught up in the artistry of design and forget how a woman will wear an item. I design as if I were still a Wall Street executive and always try to objectively balance beautiful design with function, which is one reason I try to incorporate pockets wherever possible.
What fashion icons influenced your line?
Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn are key influences. No one looks at photos of them and ever thinks — what were they thinking wearing that outfit? If you look at their styles you see three common themes: the lines are always simple on the garments, they didn’t wear prints that often or items with much embellishment, and both had a signature style.
What brought you to Charleston?
I grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but Charleston is where my grandmother lived during and after WWII. I was very close to my grandmother and Charleston was the city she loved more than anywhere else, so it’s always had an allure for me. After spending more than a decade living in Boston and New York City, I was ready to move back to the south, but I also wanted to live somewhere that was dynamic and had character. Charleston is really the only option that checks all of those boxes.
What is your style philosophy?
I approach my wardrobe as a long-term investment. I want fewer high quality items that will give me a better return and ultimately a lower cost per wear per item — even if it’s expensive on an absolute basis. It’s a very European approach — curating your closet like you would a collection of art, but it’s also a retro approach. My grandmother taught me from a young age: to buy the best I can possibly afford, take care of it so you can keep it for many years. For her generation, it was out of necessity. For me, it’s about being busy and simplifying my wardrobe saves time.