Jody Molloy from Bel Vestito. Image supplied.
Jody Molloy is the founder and designer of Christchurch-based womenswear label Bel Vestito. The brand’s Italian name translates to ‘pretty dress’ in English and was chosen because Jody wanted to make Italian fashion affordable, accessible and commercial for the New Zealand market. As you would expect Bel Vestito’s ranges are full of beautiful dresses but there’s also tops, jumpsuits, skirts and trousers available too. The brand uses gorgeous statement fabrics that are designed and printed in Italy with each collection featuring limited edition pieces that are feminine and timeless. Jody has spent 15 years in the fashion industry (7 of which were overseas) working in buying, design, sales and manufacturing and set up Bel Vestito when she returned home from London to share her love of beautiful design and Italian fashion with Kiwi women.
We caught up with Jody to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection?
My newest collections Ruby and Willow are perhaps my favourites yet. They’re personally a little more special as I selected these fabrics on our son’s first trip to Italy (he was only 1 at the time and travelled like a seasoned pro, thankfully just pre-Covid).
Styling wise, due to very popular demand I’ve added in some mid-length options and brought back our best-selling Pleat Shift. I’ve also included pieces that can be dressed up for weddings and occasions, but equally dressed down and loved for years to come. I want my customers to love how they feel when they’re wearing my pieces and therefore offer a range of silhouettes to help you accentuate your ‘best bits’.
What made you become a designer?
One of my earliest memories is the smell of leather. My mum used to sew from home in the evenings while we slept and in the morning there’d be beautiful pieces sitting on her machine, so I guess it’s that early memory of seeing her creations that fuelled my ambition. There’s nothing better than seeing your ideas come to life – especially when you can share that with complete strangers.
Looks from Bel Vestito’s latest range.
What inspires you?
Colour. I’m a little bit obsessed with colour. I tend to avoid colour ‘trends’ but instead opt for timelessly gorgeous colour combinations and lovely prints which are the foundation of each collection.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I’d describe my personal style as effortless, that’s why I love statement dresses so much. You throw one on – dress it up or down with the right shoes + accessories and you’re ready to go.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
My colleagues in London bought me the most divine Kate Spade tote bag as a leaving gift (it actually features in our recent photoshoot!). I adore the bag and it carries some really beautiful memories.
What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
A gorgeous watch. A great watch can effortlessly lift the simplest of outfits without over-accessorising.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Comfort. When you feel your best you look your best.
Looks from Bel Vestito’s latest range.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The most defining moment in my career was when the London company I’d worked for on my OE approached me to return working alongside the Directors on a sponsored visa. I was surrounded by inspiring people and exposed to the most incredible experiences and opportunities. – The confidence and skills I gained during those years was invaluable.
The launch of Bel Vestito and watching it evolve is an ongoing highlight. I’m so truly grateful for the customers and stockists who have joined the journey.
What can’t you live without?
Good food, travel, summer and my family.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
High (high) heels. I have a habit of buying beautiful high heels and never wearing them!