Louis Verdad’s collection offers ladylike pieces that span the style spectrum.
This story first appeared in the October 10, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In these uncertain times, Louis Verdad believes women want clothes that make them feel good about themselves.
“People have lost a lot of their identity,” said the Los Angeles-based designer, whose eponymous line is shown in Scott Blair’s showroom in 2G29 at the International Apparel Mart in Dallas. “I wanted to do something that would be a reminder of the nice world we can go back to. It’s a time to feel pretty.”
For Verdad, that means softer silhouettes with plenty of feminine touches: lace pants, velvet jackets, skirts and blouses with tiers and ruffles, lace and fur.
“The detailing is really original,” said Connie Sigel, owner of Elements in Dallas, which has been carrying the line for two seasons. “It’s done excellent for us.”
Verdad’s signature fabric is stretch wool pin stripe, but his fall line also included dresses, skirts and blouses made from stretch poplin, silk charmeuse, silk chiffon, wool crepe, cotton denim and leather in a rich color palette of chocolate, fuschia, charcoal, burgundy, teal and purple.
“It’s got a very vintage feel,” said Vanessa Impicciatori, a saleswoman at Madison in West Hollywood, Calif., which recently began carrying the line. “That’s what people are looking for right now.” The spring collection has a crisp nautical feel, with a lot of white denim and navy-and-white cotton stretch poplin pinstripes with lace detailing. Silhouettes include a white lambskin jacket with puffed sleeves lined in polkadot silk. One of Verdad’s favorite pieces is a white cotton denim pants suit with a bustier-cut jacket. The collection also includes gray stretch linen pants and jackets, floral silk crepe blouses with French lace and polyester mesh T-shirts. Spring deliveries start with white accented by creamy beige, egg yolk, powder blue, taupe and navy.
“For spring we’re going into a more coordinated collection,” said Erin Dolan, owner of the Maison Ray showroom in Los Angeles, which represents him.
Verdad’s sportswear is targeted at women between the ages of 25 and 45. “Women who are classy yet trendy at the same time,” Dolan said.
“It’s feminine with an edge,” said Carl Dias, women’s buyer for Traffic boutiques in Los Angeles, which recently began selling Louis Verdad. “It’s not just another skirt or pair of trousers. There’s a raw edge or an exposed seam — some little detail that sets it apart and makes a woman pick it up and buy it.”
Wholesale prices range from $45 for a T-shirt to $300 for a two-piece suede suit. Verdad’s line is in 60 specialty stores around the U.S., including Elements in Dallas and Flip Flop in Manhattan Beach, Calif. His line also has made it into stores in Mexico and South America.
The thirtysomething designer was born in Chicago and raised in Leon Guanajnato, Mexico. Growing up, he was influenced by the opulence and elegance of the society women in Mexico. He began his fashion career at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Ray Vogue College of Design. His inspirations were designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Yves
Saint Laurent and Scaasi.
Verdad started out as a cutter for Noriko, moving up to a design assistant and eventually a designer. He also worked for a number of different companies in Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, designing everything from elegant evening wear to children’s clothes to styles for Wal-Mart. He ventured out on his own four years ago, initially doing custom goods for a handful of high-end boutiques in the Los Angeles area. Eighteen months ago, using money he had saved, he decided to expand and hired the Maison Ray showroom to represent him. His line debuted at the Los Angeles Market last year.
Within the first year, his volume grew to $500,000. From January through July, his business has grown 600 percent, Verdad said. He projects annual sales could reach $1 million by next year.
“I’m just a guy that decided to do beautiful clothes,” Verdad said. “The right people started to pay attention.”
Verdad now has five employees working in-house. He does all of his own patterns, but hopes to hire a pattern maker soon so he can dedicate more time to design. Down the road, he envisions opening an exclusive Louis Verdad boutique.
“I’m learning about the way the fashion industry works,” he said.