If there's anything that Patricia Altschul loves more in this world than her "medicine," it's her caftans and her pets. So the Southern Charm matriarch is combining both of these loves into one fashionable business venture of customized caftans featuring your very own pet.
Patricia recently gave a preview of her designs on Instagram wearing a caftan with her dog Monty the truffle hound on it.
Patricia also dished on the new line with Town & Country, saying that she was inspired to create it after a conversation with friends Georgette, who is pictured with Patricia above, and wedding dress designer Sherina. "We were all sitting around having cocktails and I had on a caftan that is decorated with Staffordshire dogs," Patricia remembered. "It was just a plain caftan, no embellishments, one size fits all, and a little tie string at the neck. Sherina asked how much I paid for it because she is in the business and I said, '$3,000.' Georgette said, 'Oh my God, but it doesn't have a jeweled neck or anything,' and I said, 'I know, but it's the only thing I've seen with dogs.' Georgette said, 'Wouldn't it be fun to have your own dog on a caftan?' and I said, 'Well, that would be fantastic, but how do you do that?'"
Sherina instructed Patricia and Georgette that if they had customers send in front-facing photos of their pets — and any kind of pet — they could crop it, silkscreen it on fabric, and turn it into a gorgeous-looking caftan with embellishments around the neck and sleeves. After about four months of experimenting with different pets, sizes, and fabrics, Patricia, Georgette, and Sherina are getting ready to launch this line of caftans. They already have a website set up where you can sign up to be the first to receive updates on the new line. "I'm supposed to be retired but frankly I've never worked so hard," Patricia said.
Patricia added that it should take about five weeks for you to receive your custom caftan priced at $299 as of now. "We are starting out with caftans, but once we have a customer's photograph on file we can make any number of caftans you want—some crazy people have five, like I do," she told Town & Country (or more like "three fairly big closets worth of caftans," as she put it later in the interview). "We can't do more than one pet at a time on a single caftan, but with the photograph we can make pillows, ties for men, blankets for the pet, tote bags. You could really go in all kinds of directions, but we first wanted to see if people like this idea."
Lucky for Patricia, she already has some fashionable fans who could give her a warm welcome into the industry. "I love Pat. And she wears a lot of Libertine. Our caftans and coats, especially," Johnson Hartig, the founder and creative director of Libertine, told The Daily Dish during New York Fashion Week in February. "There's no one on Bravo like Pat Altschul. She's got it. She's more than a goddess because she commits, and she lives it, and she really walks the talk. And she has an opinion about things, which I like, because I do, too."
Patricia's caftan line isn't the only new project that she has on the way. She'll also be releasing her first book, The Art of Southern Charm, on April 18. "It's a blueprint to have a lovely life, Southern style. I go into everything—I wrote lists of what to do, what not to do, what to buy. I list my favorite things, I talk about the home, personal achievements, and I have a list of authorities who chime in on the various things we are talking about," Patricia shared.
That includes the likes of Carson Kressley, Cathy Horyn, and Katie Lee. But Patricia's own voice will also come through loud and clear. I have lists of things that I like, things that I dislike—I have one list the 'End of Western Civilization' that includes things like the man-bun," she teased.
We can't wait.
— Additional reporting by Jocelyn Vena
Get ready to see more of Patricia and all of your favorite Charleston socialites when Southern Charm returns on Monday, April 3 at 9/8c. Check out a sneak peek of the new season, below.