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Ivanka Trump balances worlds of real estate, fashion while launching new line

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TORONTO - Real estate may be the family business, but from her modelling days to her ever-expanding brand, Ivanka Trump has carved out a niche all her own when it comes to style.

The daughter of American business mogul Donald Trump balances her main duties as an executive vice-president within the Trump Organization with a burgeoning roster of signature lines, including fine jewelry, footwear and handbags.

Trump was exposed to fashion early on. She recalls traipsing behind her mother, Ivana, at couture shows in Paris at a young age. She took to the runway herself for the likes of Versace, Thierry Mugler and Marc Bouwer, and was featured in magazines and ad campaigns. In addition to honing her business acumen in the family trade, Trump earned a degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance.

With her debut apparel collection, Trump is offering a glimpse into the style of items that would typically colour her own wardrobe.

"There's nothing from any of my collections that goes to market that I don't have in my closet and want for myself, and I think that's very important," the soft-spoken Trump said in an interview, wearing a sleek boucle jacket and matching skirt from her line paired with towering caramel-hued heels.

"That's very important to me that there's a cohesiveness, that there's an esthetic that remains consistent across all of the different categories that I'm in, and that I feel sort of a real sense of pride of anything that I put out there."

The New York-based entrepreneur paid a visit to Toronto to launch the collection with a personal appearance at the Bay's flagship downtown location. The retailer carries her line in Canada, with pieces ranging from $50 to $225.

Trump, 30, said she sought to fill what she saw as a void in the marketplace for "elegant, sophisticated, fun, flirty, feminine clothing" at affordable price points.

"I found that it was either dowdy and ultra-conservative or on the flipside a little too funky, a little trend-conscious, maybe a little too juvenile. So I thought there was a really nice spot for a lifestyle brand tailored to my demographic, which is young working women."

Trump said she sought to create a timeless, classic esthetic with the clothing collection, opting to focus on key pieces of hardware to add "some substance" to the line. Dual-coloured jacquard-patterned tanks and cardigans, silk scarf print dresses, band collared blouses and fitted trousers are among the items featured in the inaugural apparel collection.Trump said her signature colour, coral, is integrated throughout her brand, whether on the back of a clasp on a piece of jewelry or the hardware on a handbag."It's something I can really bring into a lot of the different styles and I try to consistently do so. But for me, it just represented what I think the brand represents which is feminine and proud of one's femininity," she said."It's strong and bold, it's fun and playful at the same time, so it really represents sort of how I think of my customer."In addition to the demands of her work life, Trump also has marriage and motherhood in the mix. She and her husband Jared Kushner have a seven-month-old daughter, Arabella.

"I don't sleep. Literally, I don't sleep. Yesterday, I slept two hours," she said with a laugh."I'm sure that will catch up to me, and I'm sure at different points in my life different things will have to be compromised," she added. "Hopefully that's never my role as a mother and my role as a wife, although I have a feeling that's something that everyone goes through who's working."

"A lot of my energy to constantly do more and grow more as a business person and in my capacity working at the Trump Organization and obviously running my own brand as well, it just boils down to loving it. You know, I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it, and I'm really having a lot of fun."


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