By  on February 18, 2009

They’re young, talented and enthusiastic but, above all, they’re not letting the dark clouds of the recession overshadow their creative whims. Milan is eager to push new names and the Camera della Moda is doing its part with Next Generation and Regeneration, two group shows dedicated to emerging talent on Feb. 25. Here, WWD looks at promising names, some of which are showing with the Camera, and others presenting on their own.

Pepoli

Designer: Claudia Liberato

Start-Up Story: In 2007, Liberato launched Pepoli, naming the line after the street she lives on in Rome. But the pretty, fresh-faced blonde is no stranger to fashion as her parents, both high-profile executives in the technology field, also own a small shirting company. Liberato claims the five years she spent in Max Mara’s design studio was an eye-opening, pragmatic experience that paved the way for her solo outing.

Why the interest: The collections are infused with a retro-cum-boho edge that makes them spunky yet contemporary. Liberato mixes contrasting influences like retro flourishes, flea market inspirations, digital technology and art.

Expect for fall: Liberato tapped German graffiti artist Hera Kat to produce a sketch of the women that best symbolize Pepoli. The resulting image was printed on a T-shirt and a dress. She also played with weights and textures, showing chunky knits and wools over breezy silk camisoles and dresses, often with inner pleatings. Special treatments include matte and shiny double-faced fabrics; polyurethane coatings with cellophane effect, and silicon-injected wools.

$$$: Average retail price is 300 euros ($377 at current exchange), with a range of 130 euros ($164) for shirts to 450 euros ($566) for coats.

Where to buy: Pepoli sells at 20 sales points, including Clan in Milan; Vivaia in Zurich, and Shinsegae in Seoul.

Showtime: At the White fair from March 1-3 at 27 Via Tortona.




BeeQueen

Designer: Chicca Lualdi

Start-Up Story: After earning a degree in economy and commerce, Lualdi familiarized herself with fashion in the sales offices of Ittierre, Aeffe and Etro. In 2007, she decided to branch out on her own, inspired by “New York ladies who display both uptown class and downtown sass.”

Why the interest: Lualdi is in line with Cristobal Balenciaga’s style mantra that elegance comes from taking off, rather than adding. “I think of women who like to be feminine and who exude confidence without being aggressive or excessive,” said Lualdi, citing Valentino and Giambattista Valli as points of reference. She recently struck licensing agreements for ready-to-wear, eyewear and furs.

Expect for fall: Shapes are spare to accent plush fabrics and contrasting materials, like organdy ruffles on fur coats. Colors are ethereal with moon white, dusty pink and baby blue.

$$$: Retail prices run from 300 euros ($377) for pants to 600 euros ($754) for dresses, between 400 euros ($503) and 800 euros ($1,006) for cashmere knitwear, with furs as high as 3,000 ($3,775).

Where to buy: The line is carried at Banner in Milan and Gente in Rome.

Showtime: Feb. 25 at 2:45 p.m., at Milano Moda Donna fairgrounds.

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