Shani Grosz: Absolutely Fabulous

The dress designer Shani Grosz is giving big designer energy. And we love it. Watching Shani at work is like witnessing the word fabulous personified. She’s standing on a pedestal in the center of her showroom, trying on dresses from her newest SHANI Collection. She’s petite, but in her Ruthie Davis stilettos she’s giving big designer energy. At 8:30 Monday morning she already has her glam on — hair bouncy, lashes fluffy, makeup glowy. Beyoncé’s Renaissance plays loudly while her assistant stands nearby, handing her trims and accessories to go with each look. Nearby, her team prepares for a fitting for one of Shani’s long-time clients: an on-air personality who would be attending an event later that evening. “Make sure she wears the lashes I bought for her!” Shani calls out from the pedestal. “They will be absolutely fabulous!” And speaking of fabulous, in late July Shani caught the spotlight at Polo Hamptons with her bold red dress and enormous straw hat, and she was photographed by the New York Times. Now, her phone is blowing up with messages from loyal clients and friends who saw the photos.

Shani is the face and creative director behind the dress label SHANI Collection. Blending the entrepreneurial spirit of a Girl Boss with the creativity of an artist and warmth of a best friend, Shani is known for designing cocktail and daytime dresses that strike that perfect balance between killer looks and classic style. Her warm, welcoming personality is always accented by a bit of glamour: a glint of Swarovski, a whisper of feathers, and lashes that won’t quit.

In a sea of choices in the dress department, a SHANI design stands out as a beacon of classic style. “I want you to slip into one of my dresses and instantly feel like a star, ready to conquer the world,” she tells me. “Clothes are a magic wand for transformation.” Shani herself embodies this transformative magic, attracting a squad of successful women and celebrity clients who gravitate toward her inner circle. An hour with Shani is like seeing your therapist, stylist, glam team, and business manager all at once. She’s always planning, moving, creating.

Her confidence and desire to connect with her customers comes through in her designs and on her social media, which features pictures of real women as well as styling tips and inspirational quotes. “I like to present positive, joyful messages through my clothes and my content,” she says. Her commitment to all women and their diverse shapes has earned her a loyal following and critical acclaim in the fashion industry. SHANI dresses are thoughtfully designed to enhance every body type, providing versatility from desk to dinner while complementing and concealing. They are alluring without being too revealing. She understands that clothes can influence how a woman sees herself. Shani takes on the task of making women feel exceptional and confident. “Everyone has a part of their body that they may be a bit insecure about showing to the world. We design for those insecurities, offering longer lengths and sleeves, while focusing on timeless silhouettes,” she says.

I first met Shani 25 years ago, when we worked together in the design studio of a popular fashion brand. Back then she would style me in diamonds and feathers so we could hit Patricia Field’s annual holiday party at the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink in style. I never felt more glamorous! Shani had just graduated from Parsons, but she had her sights set on her own label. She honed her craft and developed her unique perspective on fashion in the ateliers of several Seventh Avenue legends before going out on her own.

A native New Yorker, Shani designs her collection in NYC’s garment district, and her showroom is a true reflection of her aesthetic — modern, urban, baroque, and chic. A custom-designed chandelier commands attention in the center of the room. It’s a space where high-profile clients often pop in for a visit.

The Monday I was there, two women, whom I recognized as local TV reporters, were hanging out on Shani’s cozy couch, in between broadcasts, laughing and sipping iced coffee as if they were in a friend’s living room. Behind the couch hangs a beautiful oil painting of the Amalfi Coast, painted and encrusted in Swarovski by Shani, who is also an accomplished artist. “I love that they feel comfortable dropping by — they’re not just clients, they’re part of the family,” says Shani. “They simply want to unwind, kick back, and take a moment from their bustling day. And they even bring me coffee,” she laughs.

Dozens of TV personalities — anchorwomen, reporters, and meteorologists, real women who always have a spotlight on their appearance — love Shani’s bold colors and sleek, flattering silhouettes. “I call Shani my fairy dressmaker,” one of the women tells me. “Her dresses are magical — I zip, and I go. I can wear them with sneakers or with heels. Whether it’s on TV or at an event, I always look great and feel amazing in her dresses!” And as many of us are putting more time in the office and our evenings are filling up with cocktails, dinners, and other engagements, we want to look put together. Shani’s dresses deliver elegance without effort.

Designers often focus on one aspect of a woman’s shape or a specific occasion when they design, but Shani takes the full lifestyle of a woman into consideration when she sketches her collections. By designing for women of all ages and sizes, Shani has charted a course for more inclusive fashion practices. Her ability to empower women to look and feel their best has landed her recurring appearances on NBC’s Ambush Makeover, and she has been featured on Good Morning America. Celebrity stylists also work with Shani and her dresses have been seen on a wide range of TV shows and movies, including Kathy Lee & Hoda, The Wendy Williams Show, Mob Wives, General Hospital, and even Sex and the City.

What sets Shani apart as a designer is that she follows her own instincts. She created her label not just to design beautiful clothing, but also to dress a community of powerful women. She takes full control — creatively and strategically — of her ventures. I’ve watched Shani fiercely grow her business over the years, defying personal and professional challenges and thriving as an independent designer for over two decades. Most fashion start-ups in New York don’t stay in business for more than five years. I asked her what fuels her determination to win in a tough business climate. “The fashion industry is filled with ups and downs, and one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to never give up,” she says. “Every no can eventually become a yes. My mindset has always been centered on believing in what I do. No often just means not now, and it’s crucial to hold onto that positive vision.”

With an optimistic outlook and an eye on balancing commercial success with style, Shani’s approach is to make sure her clients feel confident and look impeccable, while working with retailers to make sure her designs are commercially viable. Featuring materials like laser-cut ponte and appliqued embroideries, her dresses are wearable art. “Fashion isn’t just about crafting beautiful pieces; it’s about turning them into reality and ensuring they find their audience,” she says. “My work has two facets: the creative and the commercial. They’re like parallel paths that need to be aligned. And when I feel strongly about a business decision, I go for it.”

This year, “going for it” involves launching several luxury extensions to her brand. “I believe that everything I do must be super relevant,” she says. “I don’t launch products just to chase a trend. I have to truly believe that what I am doing will enhance the lives of my customers.” A fine jewelry collection and a skin-care line are in development. In September, she will launch her first luxury eveningwear collection at a time when women are rethinking how they shop and what they buy. “Women today are investing in statement pieces, unafraid to wear an amazing dress on multiple occasions. The perfect dress holds memories and sentimental value. It’s something you’ll want to wear more than once, not just a one-hit wonder like in the past. My dresses offer timeless elegance that defy seasonal trends.”

As she continued to put the finishing details on her upcoming collection, I noticed that each look was emitting Shani vibes. Her designs reflect her artistry, warmth, and joyful spirit, with the requisite dash of glam. Each dress is like a friend, entrusted to address the hopes and aspirations, and even insecurities, of the wearer and provide a comfortable, easy revelation of one’s inner sparkle. Shani says,“The idea behind SHANI is empowering women. And to express that, everyone can look and feel fabulous.”


Photography by Tyler Kenny @tylerpatrickkenny
Hair by Lorenzo Diaz @lorenzodiazhair
Make-up by Esteban Martinez
Wardrobe by Shani Collection
Shoes by Ruthie Davis @ruthie_davis
Jewelry by Shani Jewelry @shanijewelry.official
Hat by Kokin New York @kokinnewyork
Location Yacht Hamptons @yachthampton.ny
and The Baker House 1650 @bakerhouse1650
Location Scout Eli Gooden @mrgfella

Written by Edina Sultanik. Source: Social Life Magazine

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