Get To Know Khaite, the On the Verge Brand Behind Many of Lily Aldridge’s Best Style Moments

Designer Cate Holstein talks design inspiration, celebrity dressing, and more.


For Cate Holstein, designing is as much about functionality as it is about aesthetic. That is her mantra, at least, when it comes to creating pieces for her buzzy line, Khaite. The brand launched for fall 2016 with a ready-to-wear collection consisting of feminine, strong elements such as knitwear and denim, has since become a favorite of street-style mainstays such as Caroline de Maigret and Lily Aldridge. As a response to their celebrity-approved popularity, the brand is launching e-commerce, beginning today, making it all the more easy to look and shop like a supermodel. Here, Holstein talks her design philosophy, style icons, and more.

Why did you decide to start your own line?

I felt there was a hole in the market, in the current climate, for strong American sportswear that is feminine without being precious.

How would you describe the Khaite woman?

Strong, feminine, and discerning.

What has been the most exciting thing that has happened since the brand’s launch?

We have sold 4,000 pairs of Khaite jeans. Someone told me that between their mother, sister and themselves, they owned nine pairs. To have created a jean that feels polished and ageless is by far my biggest accomplishment.

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration is always quite simple: What do I gravitate towards in the morning? What do the women I know gravitate towards specifically, when they are getting dressed in the morning? If it is an admirable garment, but doesn’t serve a functional purpose while giving the consumer confidence, than it is edited out. ‘Would you cherish this, not just admire it?’. As far as overall aesthetics, I am inspired by everything and everyone I have ever seen or met in my entire life. Inspiration can come in the most unexpected ways and situations.

Many It-girls from Lily Aldridge to Caroline de Maigret are known supporters of Khaite. Do you feel the impact of their influence, whether in your design or brand recognition?

Of course! They are amazing, strong women. I am lucky to have anyone interested in what I have created. I am ever so grateful for their acknowledgement and support.

Who you would love to see wearing Khaite?

I love seeing anyone in Khaite, I was especially excited to see Brit Marling in it. I am a huge fan of her work, and she’s so creative and complex; a true innovator. If anyone though, Danielle Steele; she’s incredible. Strong, compassionate, loving, wise, and incredibly chic! I’m told she already has a couple pairs of Khaite jeans.

Congratulations on the launch of Khaite’s e-commerce site. What made you launch now?

We found that we get so many inquiries from customers wanting to buy directly from us. We wanted to make it as seamless for them as possible. It also opens up our channels to launch projects such as a Khaite shop-in-shop at The Apartment by The Line with exclusive styles later this summer.

What are three words to describe your own style?

Lately, polished, sensual, and refined.

Who are your style icons?

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Carolyn Bisette Kennedy, Coco Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and Vanessa Traina.

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