LYNNE LARSON
For most designers, an eponymous collection is a goal from the start. Not Lynne Larson. "I didn't think I was ever going to do that," the Parsons grad says of her women's wear line that launched for spring 2005. While childhood sewing lessons set her on the design course at an early age, Larson, a 15-year veteran of New York's Garment District, was content to remain under the radar. During the late Nineties, she honed her draping and fitting skills with Daryl Kerrigan at Daryl K. She later worked with Susan Dell, and in 2001 moved on to Katayone Adeli. After watching all three labels fold, Larson exited the industry with no plans to return.

Six months later, she had a change of heart. "I wasn't thinking about going back to work, but suddenly I was missing it," says Larson, 37. "I realized that I know this market really well and it's very competitive, but I felt like I had the experience to deal with it." Armed with a renewed interest in the creative process as well as the lessons of her former employers' mistakes, the designer found a small space along 35th Street and went to work, focusing on contemporary sportswear. Within two years, she pulled together her collection — simple basics with special details such as leather appliques. There are layered cotton T-shirts, chunky cashmere sweaters and a group of Russian princess-inspired cashmere coats. Fred Segal snapped up much of her spring 2005 collection, and fall is about to hit the racks in eight boutiques, including Atrium in New York and Sage in Los Angeles. Wholesale prices start at $62 for long-sleeved tissue-weight cotton T-shirts and top out around $340 for a leather car coat.

Larson points out that her focus will always remain on the fine points — a trait she attributes to Adeli. "Working for Katayone, everything was about detail," she says. "She used a lot of vintage pieces as inspiration, and I had never done that before." Larson's tropical-weight wool pants, for example, reference the Edwardian age with a diagonal button fly and crisscrossed grosgrain ribbon waistband. "I've done a lot of pants," Larson adds. "It's the easiest, coming from Daryl and Katayone."
— Jessica Iredale

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