Marissa Webb spent more than 10 years in the J. Crew boot camp, working as head of women’s design with Jenna Lyons and Mickey Drexler, when she left to pursue her own line in 2011.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Will your collection look like J. Crew?’ ” she says while prepping the collection over the summer. “The honest answer is: In my mind, no. But after being at J. Crew for 11 years, a lot of my own personal aesthetic is in J. Crew, because that was my job. The same things that influenced me then influence me now.”
Her first presentation, held at Lincoln Center in September, drew on the masculine-feminine point-counterpoint that is key to J. Crew, but Webb’s version was a little tougher, a little more sophisticated and urban, with an emphasis on leathers—tunics, biker shorts and motorcycle pants—along with graphic black and white. The line is priced at upper contemporary, starting around $125 for a T-shirt up to $1,500 for dresses.
Bedrock Manufacturing Co., the Dallas-based firm that also holds Steven Alan in its stable of fashion ventures, has a minority stake in Webb’s business. Steven Alan, in turn, is handling her sales, thus is also one of Webb’s eight retailers.
CV: Studied at Fashion Institute of Technology; worked at Club Monaco, Polo and J. Crew before launching her line for spring 2013.
Retailers: Eight, including six Barneys New York doors and Barneys Japan, Steven Alan and Deborah James.
Design Philosophy: Tough versus feminine, sophisticated while urban.
Julien David is a prime example of just how global the fashion trajectory can be. A native of Paris, he honed his craft in New York. After eight years, he participated in a year-long French cultural exchange program with Japan, which inspired him to move to Tokyo and launch his own label. It started with scarves, gradually evolving into outerwear and ultimately a full women’s and men’s collection.
Today, David, 33, brings a distinctive point of view to the industry by melding Japanese culture with French expertise. Known for his accessible streetwear accents, his quirky touch sets him apart from other emerging designers. For spring—David’s third runway show—he riffed on schoolgirls gone bad with blazers and pleated skirts rendered with a Japanese wit, particularly evident in his mix of striking prints.
“There is a different approach here,” David says of his adopted hometown. “They don’t have the weight of the history of Western clothes. They perceive and mix pieces very differently. It’s much more playful.”
David, who is self-financed, won France’s prestigious Andam Fashion Award in July, giving him a 230,000 euro (about $300,000) boost along with a two-season mentorship from Pierre-Yves Roussel, chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s fashion division. While the recognition has made him think about spending more time in Paris, David is not quite ready to leave Japan. “Everything seems so organized, but at same time it’s so busy and so lively,” he says. “I think that’s what seduced me.”
CV: Studied at Parsons The New School for Design; worked for Narciso Rodriguez and Ralph Lauren before launching his line three years ago.
Retailers: 60 stores, including Colette, Browns and Opening Ceremony.
Design Philosophy: Cool riffs on streetwear with plays on proportion and volume, all worked in upscale fabrics. NEXT: Brood >>
For its next men’s wear collection, @roberto_cavalli will show as a special guest at #PittiUomo, running from June 12-15. The brand, which has Florence in its roots, will relaunch its men’s wear collection, which will be presented separately from women’s wear for the first time since Paul Surridge was appointed creative director in May. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.