Ace Harper Used Her Dance and Music Skills to Create Punk Nouveau Clothing Line

As a kid growing up in Oklahoma, Ace Harper channeled her creative energy and skills into learning to dance and creating her own performance outfits.

“It was always something in me, this expression of clothing and style. I have this understanding you can put on something and turn into the person you want to be,” she recalled in a phone call from Palm Springs, Calif., where she lives with her two-year-old daughter, Lou, and husband, Matt Sorum, a Hall of Fame drummer who has played with Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and other bands.

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Harper has seen her share of performance opportunities too. She has been a backup dancer for Duran Duran, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears and is a singer-songwriter who has released six albums.

Now she has transitioned into being a fashion designer, releasing her first collection of womenswear that carries a decidedly punk nouveau influence paired with tailored looks and seasonless trends.

A printed silk blouse and denim pants are the casual side of Ace Harper’s designs.

A printed silk blouse and denim pants are the casual side of Ace Harper’s designs.

Last year, Harper began crafting her collection with a high-powered team of people on her board of directors. One of her most influential mentors has been Michelle Stein, the former president of Aeffe USA, which owns Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Pollini. After 40 years, Stein stepped down in March to work as a consultant. “She has really inspired me and helped,” the musician turned creative director said. “She is an incredible mentor of mine and has been a guiding force.”

Also on the board is menswear designer John Varvatos; Francois Kress, previous chief executive officer of Prada and Miu Miu, and Stacie Henderson, chief marketing officer of Tods Group and a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America Black Advisory Board.

Harper wanted to create a clothing collection she and her friends would want to wear at price points considered affordable luxury. Sweaters start at $245, denim goes for $250, a silk blouse fetches $295 while a midi-length dress sells for $550 to $645.

She also wanted styles that are not too complicated but have a certain boldness about them. “I feel like I really design for the everyday, throwing on a sweater and jeans to drop off kids at school, then going to the office with a silk blouse and blazer and then out for cocktails at night, putting on one of our fabulous dresses,” she explained.

A more formal look in the collection.

A more formal look in the collection.

In her first collection, called “Little Miracles,” there are 30 stock keeping units. Those include a gray Italian wool oversize, double-breasted blazer with a ’70s-style peak lapel; a basic black jersey knit dress with angular New Wave-style shoulder pads; a cinnamon velvet floor-length dress with a burnout print; high-waist, wide-legged pants, and a few denim offerings. There are also several sweaters and a dark brown faux-mink coat with a luxurious look. Currently, the collection is selling on the company’s website.

When not in Palm Springs, Harper works out of her 2,700-square-foot showroom in Los Angeles’ Arts District where she is enjoying her new role as a fashion creator and building a brand encouraging women to embrace their creative power. “I wanted to challenge myself, have the courage to let myself out there and be an entrepreneur,” she said. “Every woman needs to do exactly what she wants to do right now and go for it.”

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