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Ones to Watch

Fashion week always brims with the possibility of discovering new names. Here are some fresh faces with varied histories that will present their fall wares...

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Fashion week always brims with the possibility of discovering new names. Here are some fresh faces with varied histories that will present their fall wares next week.

This story first appeared in the February 14, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Normaluisa

Where and when: Based in Milan, the brand was launched in 2005 and will show Sunday at 5 p.m., at 58 Corso Italia.

Who: Since its inception, the person behind Normaluisa has remained a tightly guarded secret, which has added to the brand’s appeal. What’s known is that the person graduated with a degree in business from a university, took a styling class, holds a master’s degree in marketing and now coordinates a design team. Apparently, though, fashion runs in this person’s veins, as his family owned a textile company in the 18th century.

Why: Normaluisa’s mission is to shun excess in favor of good taste with an edge, via sophisticated color combinations and details. Anything that is too experimental, ostentatious or impractical doesn’t belong here. Sharon Stone and Charlotte Casiraghi have been spotted wearing Normaluisa clothes.

What: For fall, the collection focuses on colors, textures, geometries and trompe l’oeil effects that suggest rhythm. Aside from traditional fabrics, Normaluisa employs plastic and upholstery materials for simple and geometric styles in powder beige, pansy blue, river green and skyscraper gray.

How much: Wholesale prices range from $58 for a top to $161 for a dress to $584 for coats.

Where to buy: The line is carried by Giò Moretti in Milan, S. Carlo in Turin, Montaigne Market in Paris and Mercury in Mosca.

Les Hommes-Femmes

Where and when: A small women’s collection bowed in 2006 but fall marks the line’s first real presentation during Milan Fashion Week in their designers’ new showroom at 6 Via Bergamo.

Who: Belgian designers Tom Notte and Bart Vandebosch launched the successful men’s wear label Les Hommes in 2002, now available in 87 points of sales worldwide. Both designers graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and have worked together ever since. Vandebosch has always nurtured a passion for art, while Notte originally signed up to study economic sciences. He later defected to graphic and fashion design classes. Their work is the result of the union of their sensibilities and different visions.

Why: With the women’s line, the duo wants to offer a contemporary creativity by combining contrasting elements that work once they’re unified. Silhouettes are sculptured and sharp, but at the same time poetic and elegant and punctuated with sartorial details.

What: For fall, they draw from couture’s heyday with a nod to Christian Dior and Cristóbal Balenciaga. The lineup includes balloon coats with double collars, asymmetrical necklines that transform into draped lapels, sumptuous skirts and dresses and men’s wear fabrics. The palette includes all shades of gray, plunging into black, with accents of red and gold for printed silks.

How much: Jackets and coats wholesale for an average of $584; skirts range from $256 to $731.

Where to buy: The line is carried by Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong, Saks Fifth Avenue in Dubai, Tsum in Moscow, Verso in Antwerp and Tokyo’s Restir.

I’m Isola Marras

When and where: Antonio Marras’ secondary line will make its debut Feb. 18 during an art exhibition called Circolo Marras hosted by the designer at his showroom, 8 Via Cola di Rienzo.

Who: It’s the young and contemporary vision of Antonio Marras, who also designs a namesake line and is Kenzo’s creative director. Marras is known for his skill in melding contrasting fabrics, cutting soft shapes and liberally applying drapes, undertucks and ruffles.

Why: The name comes from Marras’ native island, Sardinia, where he still has a design studio. Casual and affordable, the new line is licensed to Italian manufacturer Interfashion, owned by Stefanel Group. With the 190-piece lineup, Marras wants to reach a wider and younger crowd. “I’m Isola represents my ‘B’ side, the most joyous and playful part of myself,” said Marras.

Interfashion is one of the top producers and distributors of high-end jeans and casualwear.

“We have experimented a lot with fabrics and furnishing. The result is a very strong collection based on Marras’ design codes,” said Interfashion chief executive Gino Trentin. Interfashion hopes to secure more than 800 points of sales worldwide in two years, with wholesale volume of 25 million euros, or $36 million, over the same period.

What: For fall, Marras worked his signature mix-and-match vision by liberally melding denim, tartan, stripes, prints and red and white polkadots. Colors are a fresh mix of red, turquoise, orange and yellow combined with grey, black and white.

How much: Retail prices range from $218 for slim-fit jeans to $640 for a blouson jacket and $1,000 for a quilted coat.

Steinunn

Where and when: Steinunn Sigurd went solo in 2000, when the designer, who hails from Iceland, returned to her homeland to find her roots. Her collection will launch Feb. 23 at 2 Via Valenza as one of the designers promoted by White Club, a nonprofit organization that supports emerging talents.

Who: Sigurd has years of experience at Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Gucci and La Perla and is now backed by investors at Baugur Group. The 46-year-old Sigurd works with prints from artists, and her textures are inspired by nature. She uses fabrics from Scotland, Italy and England and mixes materials and textures, like fur strips and wool, mohair with glitter, or rayon knitted with ruffles. Sigurd continues to work out of Reykjavik and counts a store in the city. “This land is enormously beautiful, the textures in the country are mind-blowing,” she said. The collection is made in Copenhagen, the Baltic countries, Italy and Hong Kong and is available at 16 stores around the world, including Takashimaya in New York.

How much: Wholesale prices range from $223 for a knitted dress to $590 for a woven one. Pants wholesale at about $247 and skirts at $386. The designer also is an art buff, teaches at art schools and collects Icelandic modern art works.

What: For fall, Sigurd draws inspiration from Iceland’s volcanic land and contrasts and an old crochet technique. “The designs blend soft and feminine touches with more primitive aesthetics,” she said. Accordingly, chiffon blouses are mixed with lavalike textures, and a mostly black and blue palette is enriched with orange. Shapes are long and lean.

Kristian Aadvenik

 

Where and when: After showing off-calendar in London, Aadvenik is promoted by White Club and will present on Feb. 22 at 4:30 at 2 Via Valenza.

Who: Born in Norway, Aadvenik, 30, graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2002 and launched his own line in 2004 after working for Harrods International, Charles Jourdan and Alexander McQueen.

Why: He’s on people’s radar because his Gothic and rock ‘n’ roll style caught Donatella Versace’s eye, who picked him as her protégé for an Australian Merino project last month.

What: Inspired by his travels, for fall Aadvenik mixes feminine and romantic looks contrasting with hard rock and Gothic designs. He explores the East and Transylvania (Gothic), the underground London club scene (rock) and Paris (romantic). The materials and colors reflect the contrasts, with jersey and floaty chiffon juxtaposed with leather and more tailored pieces. Dark metallics are lightened up by streaks of gold, silver or fuchsia. “I don’t want a look or a silhouette to be too feminine or girly,” said the designer.

How much: The collection wholesales from $487 to $584.

Where to buy: Available at boutiques such as The Shop at Bluebird, London; Plumage, Moscow; Bugatti, Dubai, and La Vetrina di Beryl, Milan.

— Alessandra Ilari, Chiara Hughes and Luisa Zargani

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