LOS ANGELES — Raif Adelberg, whose high-end Vancouver boutique Richard Kidd closed during the 2008 recession, is getting back into the luxury business via wholesale with a cashmere collection.
The men’s collection of sweaters and tops launched exclusively in Bergdorf Goodman last year, while the women’s collection rolls out exclusively at Barneys New York this month.
Wholesaling from $78 to $1,580, the 14-piece women’s line comprises cardigans, crewnecks, sweater coats, ponchos and dresses plus cashmere-cotton blend T-shirts and tanks. The Loro Piana cashmere is hand-spun and hand-dyed in Adelberg’s native Canada.
“Men's wear comes more naturally to me, but I wanted to expand into women’s because I can take the design a little further with more shapes,” said Adelberg, who is based in Bowen Island, British Columbia, a sparsely populated area whose sea and sky hues, as well as motifs from indigenous tribes, inform each piece. Some are dip-dyed or tie-dyed while others feature woven prints and patterns. Knits range from heavy to featherweight.
Adelberg grew up watching his father operate apparel showrooms west of the Mississippi, and while pursuing careers in art and publishing, he opened the directional luxury boutique Richard Kidd in 2004. He also designed a clothing and accessories line by the same name that sold to Barneys, Maxfield and Isetan.
“A lot has changed in retail since then. The industry standards are old. Now stores want more frequent deliveries and smaller collections that they can customize, so I’m tailoring my line to what they want.”
Adelberg doesn’t have plans to price down, however. He’s looking at adding vicuña fiber knits, which cost more than cashmere, and has designed a cashmere and mink blanket for Just One Eye that retails for $65,000. Next year he plans to add women’s handbags to the line.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia