Susan Korn And Doria Santlofer Elevate Girlhood Nostalgia With Rosette
The designer and stylist met through mutuals. Now they're actualizing the outfit dreams of their youth with a line of their own.
Last year, the girl dinner, the comeback of bows, Barbie, two sellout tours from leading female vocalists (where up to 80,000 people sang lyrics of their childhood in unison per night), and endless girl-coded TikTok trends are just a few cultural moments that added up to one clear phenomenon: a return to girlhood. The reason? It's unclear. It could be a nostalgic craving for innocence, a long-overdue need to celebrate women and what they go through, a rightsizing or space making for the divine feminine, or all of the above. However, before this trend kicked in, designer Susan Korn and stylist Doria Stantlofer already felt a pull to celebrate the sweetness of their childhood. With a shared appreciation for tiny florals, 90s fashion (specifically, the 1996 Prada collection), and the clothing they wore as girls, Susan and Doria came together to launch their own line, Rosette. Nearly two years into running their business, the two maintain a clear vision for what comes next.
Let's start at the beginning. How did you two meet?
Susan Korn: Doria had pulled some pieces from me and I hand delivered them to her. I immediately felt a connection and that rare feeling where you meet someone and think to yourself, I’d like to be friends with this person. Time passed and we became neighbors and enjoyed slow, easy walks around Tompkins where naturally convo turned to (what else) clothes. We were both seeking what were essentially French toddlers clothing, but in our size. We couldn’t find what we wanted to wear so we decided to make them ourselves.
Doria Santlofer: I’d always loved Susan’s brand and we had a few mutual friends, but I’ll never forget when we first met and it really was friendship at first sight. Shortly after, I went to her NYFW Bat Mitzvah and was so taken with her talent and ability to fill a room full of people with joy.
Who do you look to for style inspiration?
DS: 90s Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Caron in Gigi, little kids I see at the park, Marie Antoinette, us as 5 year olds.
SK: Always, the 5 year old versions of ourselves, Leslie Caron in Gigi and Marie Antoinette. I have a thing for 1920’s Hollywood glamour girls, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Josephine Baker too. Oh and Barbra Streisand.
DS: And Marilyn! Naturally.
Are there any runway shows, magazines, or muses you're looking toward?
DS: Photos of Susan and I as kids has definitely been a main source of inspiration, since one of the main goals of Rosette is to recreate pieces we loved as children. Movies, yes, although not new ones. Gigi, Stealing Beauty, To Catch a Thief. Looking at antique and vintage pieces, especially undergarments. We both really love older women and seeing how they dress and I think we’re both much more inspired by things from different times, whether it’s a French corset cover from the early 1900s or a Moschino dress from the 80s.
SK: Spending too much time in Victorian lingerie instagram accounts certainly has shaped my brain. Movies are my favorite time travel. Have you seen the costumes in Funny Girl? Swoon.
DS: if it’s not obvious, Susan is currently 40 hours into the Babs memoir.
What is your all-time favorite designer collection or runway show?
DS: Galliano is definitely my all-time. Shipwrecked maidens, Russian princesses…the ultimate in fantasy.
SK: When I was 7 my mom gave me a subscription to Vogue and W. Fashion was a world of fantasy and I knew way too much about Bungalow 8, pashminas and Manolo Blahnik. I used to fantasize about Galliano, Issac mizrahi, Todd Oldham, Tocca, Moschino and Tuleh. Later, I was simply obsessed with quirky brands Meadham Kirchoff, Miu Miu and Voyage London. Now, I scour the internet for the pieces I drooled over when I was a teenager.
DS: Tocca, yes! And definitely various seasons of Prada are up there. There’s a Prada collection from 1996 with the hand-drawn gingham and amazing color combos that I keep looking back at.
SK: We both think about the Prada 1996 collection a lot, which is a fun coincidence. It’s really amazing to have the same references!
DS: Omg also Mayle! So cool. She lived in the same building as my high school boyfriend and I used to ride up and down in the elevator hoping she’d get on.
SK: Yes, Mayle! She was impossibly cool. Remember Daryl K?
DS: YES! We could go on…
What is your favorite flower - or top 3 favorite flowers?
DS: Lilacs in the spring, sunflowers in late summer, marigolds in the fall, amaryllis in the winter, and always roses…
SK: This is the best question. Agreed with Doria, they must be seasonal! Lilacs, forsythia and Lily of the Valley in spring, summer is a mess of wildflowers in all different colors.
Rosette is romantic and, obviously, incorporates the rose. What is the meaning behind the rose in Rosette?
SK: The rose is the queen of the flowers and represents sensuality, luxury, beauty and decadence. When she’s a bud, she’s on the precipice of stepping into herself and her power. Our brand is a tie between girlhood and womanhood, celebrating that we contain many forms and shapes in our growth. And also, we love satin rosettes.
What has been the best part of Rosette so far? (seeing how people style it? coming up with new ideas?)
SK: Being able to have a closet full of the clothes that I’ve always dreamed of is pretty spectacular. Seeing people wearing Rosette and styling it in ways I would have never dreamed is also a big joy.
DS: Yes! There are so many pieces of ours that I wear daily. There are a lot of best parts for me - when we first come with an idea that excites us, when we see the first sample, when we do our first shoot for a collection and then definitely when we see customers wear it and style it and get to hear their excitement. We launched only about a year and a half ago and I’m consistently amazed when we get an order from Korea or, like, Kansas.
How do you think of Rosette in relation to Susan Alexandra. Is there any overlap?
SK: There is a lot of overlap! We love funny, sweet and intentional details at both SA and rosette. I think the SA person is a person who would wear Rosette and appreciate this attention to detail. Also we both love color and color is the main principle at SA!
Dora, you have a background as a stylist and costume designer. How did that lead to Rosette?
DS: One very tangible way is that two years ago I was working on a short film in LA starring Kaia Gerber and I used our very first Rosette samples as one of the costumes for her character. Kaia was incredibly kind and allowed me to use the photographs of her for our launch. But ahead of that, styling allowed me to see so much of what’s out there in the market and I felt there really was a hole for what we wanted to do. Since we’ve launched, it’s been really fun to include Rosette on shoots when it works and to see how excited some clients are to learn that it’s my brand.
What is one word you would use to describe your style?
DS: Teenage? No, I don’t know. Susan, what’s the word to describe my style?
SK: I would describe Doria’s style as CHIC, quietly sexy and rich with personal little details (her many gold sparkly rings, oversized men’s shirt worn with a frilly ruffled scrunchie, wearing orthopedic sneakers with leather pants for a night on the town). She has the best style and vision of anyone I’ve ever met.
DS: God, I love you so much.
SK: My style…funny. I have funny style. Would love to change that to elevated funny style one day, but we’re all works in progress, aren’t we?
DS: You are absolutely elevated! your style is fanciful and imaginative and feminine. What I love about your style most though is that it’s absolutely YOU. There are so few people I could say that about.
What do you want people to feel when they wear Rosette?
DS: Comfortable, sexy, effortless.
SK: Comfortable, sexy, effortless.