DALLAS — Not every designer knows from childhood that his or her future lies in pins and needles. Sometimes, the industry just sucks them in. That's the case with Mary Herff and Randi Christiansen, who flirted with fashion for years before taking the plunge.
"We had worked in sister industries, and we wanted to work in fashion," said Herff. "Our whole concept is to do fashion contemporary basics that offer accessible price, sustainable fabrics, versatility and functionality in a tonal palette that they can throw on instead of maybe a T-shirt. Something they can wear season after season because of the construction and colors."
The two met 10 years ago while they were earning their M.B.A.s at the University of Texas in Austin. Both women are veterans of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., where Christiansen served as global marketing director for Estée Lauder-brand color cosmetics and La Mer skin care, and Herff ran global marketing for Jo Malone. Herff also logged six years as West Coast publicity director for 20th Century Fox Studios in the Nineties.
From their home base in Austin, where they each relocated in recent years with Texan husbands, the pair launched Herff Christiansen with a handful of pieces that caught the attention of Forty Five Ten here and By George in Austin.
"We liked that it was perfect summer-into-fall transition for Dallas — crisp and clean," said Brian Bolke, co-owner of Forty Five Ten. "It is the perfect neutral collection for bold accessories — also perfect for the client that didn't embrace the color and pattern theme for spring."
Launched last year with one pima cotton rib-knit tank, the label now has 14 accounts and a transactional Web site, herffchristiansen.com.
"Essentially we have seven pieces for spring '08 and eight for fall, but some of our most forward pieces are the ones that seem to do the very best and [are] what our customers are interested in," Herff explained.
Those would be woven Peruvian cotton cowl-neck and V-neck tunics, which were introduced this spring and recolored for fall. Herff Christiansen also offers pima cotton Ts and tanks with silver stitching, a cargo pant and shirts in black, gray, white and other neutrals. Wholesale prices are $20 to $75. There are also six soft leather accessories wholesaling from $25 to $125.Herff projects retail sales this year will be $200,000 to $500,000. She is currently interviewing showrooms in New York and Los Angeles to represent the spring 2009 line.
"We are getting ready to grow our retail channel by going to market," she said. "Since we came from these other industries that prepared us from the business and marketing side, we decided we wanted to grow it organically and see what the response was."
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)