Los Angeles-based designer Tallulah Willis is serving fashion with authority. After launching her label, Wyllis, with a series of vintage inspired sweatshirts in January, the 26-year-old daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis has, this month, launched her first full summer collection.
The label is a platform to combine her three passions – fashion, art and mental health. The result? An array of laid back yet confident pieces inspired by 1940s silhouettes and feminine details. ‘The Wyllis wearer is someone who seeks to be seen,’ shares Tallulah ‘They don’t want to hide in the shadows and wouldn’t mind a conversation sparked by the unique print of a garment, or the architecture of an exaggerated shoulder pad.’
Growing up with parents in the spotlight, Tallulah tells Tatler how she was exposed to the glitz and the glamour of red carpet dressing from a young age. ‘I think being a fly on the wall at various fittings and photo shoots throughout my early adolescense really cemented my love for clothing, and the whimsical fantasy it can create,’ she shares. It’s no wonder then, that ‘my style icons are my mom and my sisters.’
Who else does Tallulah look up to in the fashion world? ‘I will always hold a special place in my heart for Prada. There’s something fundamentally chic about the way that Miuccia has created over the years,’ she adds ‘I also feel like the innovation that Alber Elbaz brought to Lanvin during his time there was pretty magnificent.’
After Wyllis’s success of motif tank tops and sweatshirts, the new collection sees the brand’s first venture into childrenswear and footwear – the latter being Tallulah’s most prized design. ‘The final versions of the shoes were just so exactly what I had had in mind,’ she says, ‘I was in disbelief!’
But there’s more to what meets the eye with the summer collection. Behind the shell patterned trousers, tea dresses and Hawaiian shirts (that call to Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 adaptation of Romeo & Juliet) is a journey of self discovery and healing, nodding to Tallulah’s own experiences with sobriety.
Having sought solace in art throughout her recovery, Tallulah is using her doodles as a tool for change today. Her California-cool sweatshirts are emblazoned with phrases such as ‘nothing like feeling super vulnerable’ and ‘I’m incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin.’
Speaking about the importance of vocalising struggle, Tallulah says ‘To utilize Wyllis as a platform for the conversation around mental health was very important to me. It was a dialogue that I had been having very closely with my nearest circle of friends and family at the time,’ she says of her own experience of being admitted to rehab in 2014. “And as I began to understand the weight and impact these topics had on my personal life, I felt certain that others would feel the same way.’
It’s clear that fashion with a conscience is paramount for the designer. Promoting a positive self-image, all garments are available in XS-3XL. ‘It was one of my absolute non-negotiables before I even designed my pieces or knew what extended sizing would entail,’ Tallulah says, ‘I always felt that I would rather sacrifice the number of pieces we had per collection for quality fabrics and broader size range.’
Partnering with The Loveland Foundation, 10% of each Wyllis purchase will be donated to the charity supporting people of colour. And online, Wyllis shoppers can clearly see phone numbers for sucicide prevention and mental health helplines on each page. Even with her sights on being the next big designer, ‘To de-stigmatize mental health and make helplines more accessible is a huge mission in my life.’