DALLAS — Winners of the Dallas Fashion Awards have a sense of what women want.
From Max Azria, who received the Fashion Excellence Award from the Dallas Market Center for his revival of the Hervé Léger collection, to the eight merchandise categories, these companies have a finger on the buying impulse.
The winners were selected in a poll of retailers and presented at a black-tie gala Oct. 25 at the Dallas Market Center. Here, a look at the honorees:
FASHION EXCELLENCE AWARD: Herve Leger by Max Azria
As designer, chairman and chief executive officer of BCBG Max Azria Group, Azria has developed 22 fashion brands, but the one drawing a lot of attention lately is Hervé Léger.
Azria bought the French house famed for the bandage dress from The Seagram Co. Ltd. in 1999 and dismissed Léger. He dabbled with retooling Léger as a bridge collection, but it wasn’t until Azria and his wife, Lubov, creative director of BCBG Max Azria Group, last year restored the brand to its pricier designer roots that it took off. Retailing for $800 to $5,000, Léger is sold at top international retailers including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, Harrods, Selfridges, Lane Crawford, Isetan and Harvey Nichols Dubai.
“The bandage technique is something that can be interpreted in so many different ways — every season we make a new statement while maintaining the core of the brand,” Azria said. “We are really beginning to push the envelope with our accessories” and footwear. ACCESSORIES: Sondra Roberts
Sondra Roberts won its second Dallas Fashion Award for detailed leather handbags that retail from $300 to $500 and are sold at about 5,000 specialty stores.
The company was launched in 1980 by Sondra Camche and her sons, Robert and Glenn, with a black snakeskin sling bag that was picked up by leading retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman.
“We’re not the largest company on the block, but we quietly do a nice business between branded and private label,” said Glenn Camche, president and co-owner with his brother, Robert. “We follow the trends. We go to Europe for leathers, shape and fabrication and reinterpret [what we’ve seen] in our own designs.”
AFTER 5: Marc Bouwer Glamit
Marc Bouwer created Glamit about two years ago as a spin-off of his designer collection, and the sexy silk dresses are sold in hundreds of independent stores as well as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Holt Renfrew.
“It was the right look for the right price point,” said Evelyn Anastos, executive vice president, noting cocktail dresses are $395 to $550 and gowns, $595 to $1,000. “Our dresses and gowns use a 23-mummy silk, a much higher quality than standard, and we design all the beading ourselves.”
Bouwer’s partners in Glamit are Robert and Elaine Lai Rosen and Paul Margolin.
Zelda is best known for jackets detailed with embroidery, appliqués and leather trims, but it will grow into a full bridge collection for fall 2009.
The company hired Patricia Redmond, former design director at Dana Buchman, to round out Zelda with modern sweaters, blouses and pants, said Joann Casa, senior vice president. Retail pricing will be about $500 for an outfit.
“We wanted to be more brand based, so we are selling not only jackets but all the components of a true brand collection,” Casa said. “You will see a big evolution of what we stand for next fall.”
JEWELRY: Devon Leigh
Devon Leigh Sedlacek wanted to be a producer and screenwriter and “never in a million years” thought she would be making jewelry. But when her own necklace got attention on the red carpet, she began selling them first at the farmers market in Los Angeles’ Hancock Park and then at her own store, which opened in 2002 in Los Angeles.
“My signature is hammered gold [vermeil], and I mix a lot of metals with gemstones, a lot of geode slices, so it’s bold but still feminine,” Sedlacek said.
NM Direct and 750 specialty stores sell the line, which retails from $230 to $1,200.
“We hand make everything in the back of my store, and they all look handcrafted,” she said. “If people are spending money now it is on something special.”
CASUAL CONTEMPORARY: Taka
The colorful motifs and cultural heritage of Turkey are the main inspirations for Taka, which is designed by 29-year-old Tania Eskinazi in Istanbul. In business since 2005, Taka specializes in dresses and tunics in engineered prints on silk, cotton and wool fabrics. They typically retail from $200 to $350.
“It is a very family oriented business,” said Krista Ward, who represents Taka at Moxie showroom in Dallas. “She designs her own prints with inspirations from Turkish mosaic tiles and tulips, which are the national flower of Turkey. It’s bohemian chic.”
Taka sells to 500 specialty stores in the U.S. plus 40 accounts worldwide. Taka has introduced handbags and jewelry. CONTEMPORARY: Kensie
Kensie’s spring sportswear and dresses in cotton, silk and linen typically retail at less than $100.
“It’s feminine, confident, very fashion forward and our price range is very affordable,” said Lani Karls, vice president and creative director.
Liz Claiborne Inc. bought Kensie and its sister brand, Mac & Jac, three years ago from Karls, who launched them with her husband, Eric. Kensie is sold in major stores, including a shop-in-shop at Macy’s Herald Square, and to specialty accounts. MODERNWEAR: Lynn Ritchie
Lynn Ritchie said her business is well positioned because her printed silk knit sportswear and dresses offer fashion at affordable retail prices — from $50 to $80.
“It’s full-speed ahead,” said the designer, who started her line 19 years ago. “Despite the economy, we have a strong reorder business and we are doing OK in these challenging times.”
Some of Ritchie’s bestsellers feature a sheer printed net layered over a different print on an opaque knit, all in silk. CHILDREN’S WEAR: Florence Eiseman
Florence Eiseman has produced dressy clothes for well-to-do children since 1945, but this year it stepped out with updated silhouettes and fresh hues of turquoise and green.
“I think we won for being a classic traditional product with modern features and fabrics and colors,” said Frank Botto, who bought the company 16 years ago. “We’ve tried very hard to be true to our customers and to what Mrs. Eiseman made us.”
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews