Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss changed the look of dress departments nationwide when she launched her eponymous clothing line, SHOSHANNA, in November 1998. Her debut collection was a feminine and sexy combination of sundress, bag and thong. Her dresses remain feminine and whimsical with an attention to detail rarely seen in contemporary collections. SHOSHANNA has expanded far beyond the original three piece set that catapulted the line to fashion notoriety. In addition to the signature dresses, SHOSHANNA now designs clothing for every season from string bikinis to cashmere sweater sets. “I found there weren’t wearable, beautiful clothes out there for someone with my body type. I could never find a halter dress or strapless top that offered support for women who usually need to wear a bra. That need inspired me to create the pieces that make up the core of my collection,” states Shoshanna.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Shoshanna received her primary and secondary educations at the exclusive Nightingale-Bamford School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. After graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with degrees in History and Art History, Shoshanna began working in a lingerie factory to prepare for her career. There she learned about construction, design and fabric sourcing.
In February 2001 Shoshanna launched her swimwear line, SHOSHANNA SWIMWEAR. True to the signature SHOSHANNA style the line is feminine, fun and sexy. The line quickly became a success, out performing its well established competitors, due to the revolutionary sizing system; the suits are sold as separates, not sets. The swim collection is comprised of bikinis, tankinis, maillots and wraps.
Inspired by the gowns she created for her bridesmaids at her 2003 wedding, Shoshanna launched her evening and bridesmaid lines in the spring of 2004. Shoshanna has also been designing collections for A Pea in the Pod, a high-end maternity store, since 2002.
The record-breaking reaction in department and specialty stores alike proves that women of all ages identify with Shoshanna’s sensibility and designs. In addition, Shoshanna works to maintain a price point that is as inclusive as the collection itself. “I feel strongly that my customer should be able to buy a dress or as many dresses as she loves without letting the price inhibit the purchase,” states Shoshanna.
A favorite in Hollywood, SHOSHANNA fans include Uma Thurman, Debra Messing, Kristen Davis, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson, Paris Hilton, Nikki Hilton, Heather Graham, Mariah Carey and Venus Williams.
Shoshanna has served as a contributing editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, as a lifestyle reporter for Today in New York and as a fashion correspondent for E! Entertainment Television. In 1999 Shoshanna was one of Cosmopolitan’s Fun, Fearless Female of the year recipients. Shoshanna is currently on the advisory board for Life & Style Weekly. In 2003 she was honored as Westhampton Beach Hadassah’s Woman of the Year. Shoshanna is on the board of Love Heals and regularly supports OCRF and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
In May 2003 Shoshanna married Joshua Gruss. The couple, who live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, are expecting their first child in the spring of 2005.