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.”
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.