NEW DESIGNERS

NATURAL FACTS
What started out simply as a hobby has become a booming business. At 14, jewelry designer Clark Johnson began to dabble in the art of silversmithing. Now, at 33, Johnson and his father, Stan, have a full jewelry collection called C&S Designs, featuring eight groups. Six years ago, when they first started taking jewelry design seriously, they sold custom pieces to local tourists at their family's gallery, Tommy Knocker's, located on historic Main Street in Utah's Park City.
Environmental designs and motifs have continued to inform most of the groups. Bestsellers include sand-textured, desert-inspired pieces and a slightly worn, silver and gold overlay group, while the simplest silver pieces feature sun motifs or Indian geometric designs. Wholesale prices range from $30 for rings to $200 for a big, stone-studded cuff to special-order, 14-karat gold pieces that can cost $2,000.
C&S Designs currently wholesales to small specialty stores and boutiques, jewelers and resort hotels around the nation. Nordstrom recently picked up the account, and the Johnsons hope eventually to develop exclusive relationships with other stores in resort areas.

BAGS OF CANDY
Pastel patents are the freshest choice for spring accessories, and what better shape is there to protect your personal effects than a messenger bag or backpack? Combining elements of both femme and function, Marsha Brady, 29, of Brady-Archment, has taken these street-wise shapes and given them a flirtatious finish. Available in candy colors such as baby blue, pistachio, powder pink and apple green, the functional aspect of Marsha's designs--scuff-resistant vinyl and exposed motorcycle jacket zippers--give these shiny bags an overall look of playful indestructibility. The bags are fully lined, armed with adjustable straps and retail from $48 to $100. They're available at Barneys New York, TG170, Liquid Sky and Big Drop in New York, Barneys and Fred Segal in Beverly Hills, and Sugar Magnolia in Chicago.

FRANCO-FILLE
Impressed with her family's past, Angèle Parlange has designed a line of accessories and objects to celebrate their ties to French royalty. Back in the 1800s, Angèle's great-great-grandmother, Virginie, married a marquis and immediately immersed herself in Parisian salon society. Her vast collection of calling cards from these halcyon days inspired Angèle to design a line of handprinted silk taffeta and metallic organza scarves, vests and handbags, all bearing the signatures of Madame Virginie's 19th century networkers. Angèle also creates pillows, tables and chairs which pay homage to typically royalist designs such as the fleur-de-lis and Louis XVI furniture. Her pieces range in price from $130 to $350 and are available at Peipers + Kogen in New York, Halls in Kansas City and at her own store, Angèle Parlange in New Orleans.LONDON CALLING
It's been a long while since the Brits have produced a designer who's ruffled our hemlines with artistic temperament and a ribald sense of humor. In fact, if it weren't for Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano blowing conformity and convention right back in our faces, we Yanks might never remember there was a thing called British fashion. But thanks to Alexander McQueen, we'll be keeping an eye on our cousins' distant shores for a long time to come.
McQueen, 25, caught the eyes and hearts of the fashion industry when he showed his first collection four seasons ago in London. His plaster-of- paris busts, polyurethaned lattice-work cloth vests and diaphanous resin splashed gowns, reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting, so wowed Manolo Blahnik that he called McQueen's work modern-day couture. Schooled at the prestigious Central St. Martins, McQueen mastered structure, form and patternmaking techniques while working on Savile Row, where he mischievously sewed "McQueen was here" confetto into the seams of Prince Charles's and Calvin Klein's suits. He then apprenticed for futurist designer Koji Tatsuno, cut patterns for "Les Misérables" with Bermans & Nathans, a theatrical costumier, and tailored trousers at Gieves & Hawkes.
His tailoring skills so impressed Romeo Gigli that when McQueen went knocking on Gigli's door, he hired him on the spot and charged him with devising a pattern for his extraordinary cocoon coat. While developing the coat, McQueen mastered the art of 16th-century patternmaking techniques which informs most of his signature collection today. Available at Flights of Fancy and Pelicano in London and If Boutique in New York.

To Read the Full Article
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Tap into our Global Network

Of Industry Leaders and Designers

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus