THE BRAND STORY, BY FOUNDER & DESIGNER RACHEL MYLES LEFORT
Midnight Oil is a culmination of more than 20 years in the fashion industry, from design, to personal styling and back to design. It is a dream come true and an honor to create a brand of beautiful clothing for busy, brilliant women.
Early on in my life I spent many enriching hours flipping through fashion magazines, sewing after school and learning the stories behind the creation of iconic garments for renowned fashion brands. These seemingly small moments led me to a life-long love of fashion.
I followed this early passion toward a degree in Fashion Design as well as ongoing studies around the world, including the London College of Fashion and la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne— the school of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, in Paris. A full time job at Ann Taylor in New York (ironically in the design department of suits and blouses) right after earning my degree, was later followed by extraordinarily inspiring internships at the couture houses of Balmain and Dior, in Paris. Walking into work at the House of Dior every day felt like walking into history. I can still feel the sense of awe, of savoring every minute, of my white lab coat, of seeing the grand staircase, and envisioning Monsieur Dior with his bolts of fabric, models and intimate salon runway shows of the 1950s. My time at Balmain was similar, and outside I imagined the two gentlemen, good friends, whose design studios were, and still are, just a block away from each other.
Upon returning to New York I spent many years working at the American Couture house of Maggie Norris Couture, assisting Maggie with everything from designing, running the sample room, planning fashion shows and meeting with the discerning social and celebrity clientele to assist with their custom couture ensembles.
After a family move brought me to Colorado, my next chapter began: Personal Styling. It was an enlightening honor to personally help women discover their own sense of style and boost their confidence through the right selection of clothes. One client went to her boss and successfully requested a raise the day after our wardrobe edit, sporting the look we had pulled together with the blazer of an old suit. This realization of the power of clothes further propelled this desire to help women with their personal style, confidence and even a little moxie.
A new career was sparked, which led to 12 years of wardrobe edits, shopping lists, personal shopping, lookbooks and speaking about “How to Build a Professional Wardrobe with Style.” Included in that chapter was 9 years representing J.Hilburn custom menswear, helping to style gentlemen. What a privilege it was to carry a book of the finest fabrics in the world, direct from the mills in Italy, which I would present to my male clients while helping them select every detail of their garments down to the threads, and help them project the right mix of business and personality. At these appointments the question arose frequently: is there a resource for the ladies? You could say a seed was planted.
In 2018 Dior came to Denver through an exhibit entitled /Dior: From Paris to the World/, curated by renowned international fashion historian Florence Müller, at the Denver Art Museum. Upon an eager pursuit, I was hired. I was right back in my state of awe, so many years later and over 4,000 miles from Paris, walking into the museum every day, donning my lab coat again and assisting the team to install Dior Haute Couture, right in Denver, CO. The flood of emotion from witnessing up close, the genius of every Dior designer, coupled with the timeless, classic design of Christian Dior that had been reinterpreted by each successor, filled me up with a renewed drive to return to high fashion. It was this spark, unyielding even through a global pandemic, that has led me to this point.
It is my intention with this venture to take my experiences, knowledge of fashion, design, fabric, construction and personal styling, and marry all of that with the functional needs of modern working women to provide a resource for quality neutral basics that make dressing with style appear effortless. American women can have that je ne sais quoi, too! It’s the personalization details which are the icing on top, to take the refined craftsmanship, understated sense of confidence, and add a punch of color and personal style.
Thank you for joining me on this journey! I will do my best to deliver excellent quality clothing, tips for everyday styling and a helpful customer experience. It is truly such a privilege to be your stylist and designer!