LOS ANGELES — To succeed in the competitive contemporary market, first-time designer Rory Edelman resorted to a simple formula that has benefited icons such as Diane von Furstenberg: Take a signature style and update it each season in a variety of prints, fabrics and lengths.
While von Furstenberg enveloped women in the wrap dress, Edelman has reinterpreted a caftan with a plunging V-neck, sleeves stopping at the elbow and an in-between length allowing the item to be worn either as a tunic or a minidress. In her inaugural collection unveiled in January 2006, she gave preppy flair to an off-white silk printed with tiny flowers imposed on burnout stripes by bordering the edges with pink grosgrain ribbon. This fall, she offered a more lady-like silhouette by nipping the sleeves so that they perch like delicate caps on slight shoulders and floating rose-patterned lace over the silk slip. For next spring, she ruffled a hem that puffs up slightly in a bubble.
Within two years of launching Rory Beca, Edelman grew wholesale sales from less than $20,000 in the first season to $5 million a year through some 400 retail accounts, including Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Lisa Kline and Intermix.
"The pieces I create are simple," said Edelman, 25. "They're flattering to the body. They fit any woman."
As such, the caftan's ease makes it "the modern-day T-shirt in crepe de chine," said Natasha Silver, co-owner of Community Service, the Los Angeles showroom that represents Rory Beca. Not only does the low V-neck reveal a sliver of sexiness, but the longer sleeves also provide extra coverage for arms, she said.
Silver, who is engaged to Edelman's brother and serves as the line's merchandiser, added that, by reinterpreting the caftan each season as a top, minidress, knee-length frock and puffed-sleeve version, Rory Beca can add almost $1 million in sales.
"The formula is taking something that is feminine and special and making it for all body types so it's comfortable," Silver said.
In October, two months after launching the line in its Savvy department specializing in contemporary labels, Seattle-based Nordstrom highlighted Rory Beca and seven other emerging brands, including Karta and Chulo Pony, at a party in Hollywood during Los Angeles Fashion Week.
"At Nordstrom, our customer is always looking for newness," said Anita Ortiz, national merchandise manager for Savvy. "The appeal with a hot emerging designer like Rory Beca is that she offers silhouettes that are sexy yet sophisticated, in great fabrics with embellishments and print."
Edelman, who studied design at London's Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and Boston's Fashion Institute, is passionate about prints. Inspired by a dress dating from the 19th century, Edelman created her own print of heart-shaped satin flocked on silk chiffon because she said the proprietary print makes her outfit, not to mention the wearer, stand out.
Yet, Rory Beca also is grounded in economic realities. Silver said the line's median wholesale price is set at $105 to retail for under $250. After introducing wide-leg pants with an 11-inch rise and sweaters with exaggerated dolman sleeves in this resort season, the spring collection will include leather belts with eight styles for added value, she said. It also will increase the number of deliveries to seven next year, from five this year, she said.
Edelman also moved her base of operations from the kitchen in her mother's house to a studio in downtown Los Angeles with seven employees. She hopes to eventually open her own shop stocked with her lines of shoes, lingerie, men's wear, children's clothes, bags and jackets. Still, such growth won't distract her from her main goal, which is to make a woman feel great in her clothes. "If I stay with that, I'll always be good," Edelman said.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion