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Escada’s Modern Take

Fashion director Daniel Wingate is rejuvenating the collection with a modern chic aesthetic.

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NEW YORK — In time for its 35th anniversary, Escada has launched an e-commerce site for three German-speaking countries, and fashion director Daniel Wingate is rejuvenating the collection with a modern chic aesthetic.

This story first appeared in the March 26, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

As design director of the label’s main collection and Escada Sport, Wingate has moved quickly to capture the heritage and spirit of Escada while establishing a greater sense of relevance to today. During a preview of the collection at Escada’s East 55th Street store here, he said several times, “The clothes need to be ageless, timeless and versatile.”

With some unexpected time off after celebrity fittings in Los Angeles last year, Wingate checked out The Kaufmann House and other modernist architecture in Palm Springs, Calif., leaving inspired. Richard Serra sculptures, Frank Gehry steel buildings and the Getty Center’s “Herb Ritts: L.A. Style” show also fueled his creativity, with the latter’s supermodels of the Eighties and Nineties reflecting the beautiful yet powerful woman that Escada wants to dress today. He kept things young with a clean and chic black jumpsuit, a return to knitwear in an animal motif fringed cape, a lambskin coat that plays with shades of gray and texture, a printed jersey pantsuit and a signature dress with grommet details. For evening, Wingate offered a range including a gold and silver hand-beaded cocktail dress and a gray dégradé pin-dot print gown with leather trim that he likened to “Mrs. Tin Man from ‘The Wizard of Oz.’”

Daytime dresses have been top sellers on Escada’s new e-commerce site in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Surprised that shoppers will buy $8,000 items online, Wingate is eager to see how a U.S. e-commerce site will fare, though the brand has not decided on a launch date. In the meantime, sales are healthy in 30 Neiman Marcus stores and nearly 20 Saks Fifth Avenue ones, as well as freestanding Escada stores, Wingate said. “The question of what is appropriate today is something people are defining for themselves, based on what their own lifestyle is,” he said.

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