By  on August 23, 2007

A former software engineer, Audrey McLoghlin does not have a typical fashion designer's background. But she's right in step with the artful spirit of many newcomers slated to exhibit at next week's Project trade show in Las Vegas.

The founder of Aude Knits, a one-year-old Los Angeles-based company, McLoghlin will show her luxury tanks, Ts and lightweight sweaters and dresses that wholesale from $24 to $62. She is expecting her Hepburn dress, a micro Modal jersey number to be among the most popular items.

Also the owner of the UNA boutiques in Los Angeles, McLoghlin said Aude grew out of a need to fill in gaps in her stores. "It is designed from a retailer perspective, offering a color or a sexy neckline not found in other lines," said the upstart designer, who has attended Project as a buyer and is making her debut as a vendor. For spring, Aude is presenting two color stories, one jewel-themed with amethyst, emerald and sapphire tones, and the other a resort palette of blues, grays and whites.

"I apply an analytical way of thinking, breaking things down into pieces, and take a logical approach to dressing and merchandising," said McLoghlin, whose tops have appeared on actress Calista Flockhart on the TV series "Brothers and Sisters."

New York designer Mimi Turner has previously participated in other shows such as Coterie, but wants to attract more retailers at Project. "Our collection is definitely on the edge — a little forward," said Turner, speaking of a lineup that includes silk taffeta day dresses. Some garments come in "slightly neon" shades with contrasting trims, such as a green top with an orange zipper.

"We are girls who wear dresses with Keds," said Turner, whose eight-year-old clothing line is typically made from silks and linens imported from Italy and France, and wholesales for $160 to $175. She is "bananas" over a new polyurethane-coated silk fabric that will be incorporated into her line. "We don't do anything that is supernormal in body structure or fabric."

Amo & Bretti, an L.A.-based knitwear line created by husband-and-wife team Amy Krofchick and Brett Perkins, is known for its cashmere pieces. But now it is venturing into new colors and fabrics, including a Japanese cotton that has a tissue-like weave and an Italian cotton with a metallic coating, that is surprisingly soft to the touch. The collection of tops and dresses for spring will center on whites, sea foam green and berry shades, with wholesale prices of $90 to $165.

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