Bright colors and bold architectural-inspired prints meet Paul Rudolph’s sleek Sarasota houses in the new catalog for the J. McLaughlin spring collection, shot in town in collaboration with the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. In the catalog, models sporting sleek, colorful pieces socialize at the edge of an aqua swimming pool and relax in the sunlit interiors of Rudolph’s mid-century homes, including the Revere Quality House, Cocoon House and Umbrella House.

For designer Kevin McLaughlin, who founded the brand in 1977 along with his brother Jay McLaughlin, the visual draw of Rudolph’s work started when he noticed the architect’s eye-catching house in Manhattan, visible from the highway. After some research, he discovered the link between Rudolph and Sarasota: it was here where Rudolph began to garner national attention for his creative floor plans, use of concrete and other unusual building materials. Rudolph’s Florida homes are prime examples of the Sarasota School of Architecture, characterized by open floor plans and bright, airy spaces. Several of these structures, now renovated, are open to the public through tours organized by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.

And while J. McLaughlin’s classic silhouettes may have started in the Northeast, the designs transition smoothly to Sarasota’s subtropical climate with every shade of swimming-pool blue and pops of flamingo pink.

“We sell to women of a certain sensibility and lifestyle who want to be as close to fashion as they can without stepping over the edge,” explains Kevin McLaughlin.

Some of the designer’s favorite pieces from the collection include a slim-cut pair of white, green and yellow jeans printed with lily fronds and an extensive collection of wicker and leather handbags, crossbodies and clutches.

“I like to think it’s optimistic, it’s happy,” McLaughlin says of the collection’s aesthetic. “It’s rooted in tradition but it still has a modern flair to it. It’s not frumpy and it’s still in the moment.”

On March 15, join Kevin McLaughlin and swing by the J. McLaughlin store downtown (1503 Main St.) for a special event launching the new collection. Fifteen percent of proceeds from sale will go to the Sarasota Architectural Foundation to aid its mission of preserving the city’s iconic mid-century buildings. 

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