Mary Alice Haney Knows What Women Want to Wear

Fashion

Sexy. California. Glamour. Those three words, which greet visitors to Mary Alice Haney’s e-commerce site, have become a calling card for one of Tinseltown’s most trusted names in fashion. They’re also the foundation of an aesthetic for which Haney is unapologetic. When the subject is broached of the Time’s Up–fueled black dresses at last January’s Golden Globes, Haney is quick to shutdown the notion that the evening signaled a shift to more demure red-carpet dressing: “It would be a sad state of affairs if women felt that that’s what this was about.”

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Having spent 15 years as a fashion editor and the go-to stylist for everyone from Jane Fonda to Reese Witherspoon, Haney knows better than most what women want to wear. Five years ago, she launched her eponymous collection as a response, in part, to what she saw as a gap in the market, both for her own wardrobe and that of her clients (and as a counter to the overly casual, denim-heavy Los Angeles stereotype). She was also driven by the belief that “every woman, no matter her age or size, can look glamorous and sexy but should also be comfortable.”

Haney has certainly succeeded: Her best-selling Gia dress (which features a highly flattering technical jersey that eliminates the need for corsetry) has appeared on both Taylor Swift and an eight-months-pregnant Chrissy Teigen. And her approach hasn’t changed with the current climate in Hollywood. “The #MeToo movement isn’t about covering up or not being sexy,” she says. “I’m a sexy dresser. It’s about having every woman feel powerful, strong, and safe in any environment.” All her garments are produced in L.A. in female-owned factories; Haney, a mother of five, is avid about supporting women. “I think the hardest part of creating Haney was just being a mom and juggling a business. It’s like having a sixth child, and I can’t believe this child is turning five!”

This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of ELLE.

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