NEW YORK — Quietly and without the buzz their previous gig afforded them, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos, formerly of Trovata, are launching their own contemporary collection, Shipley & Halmos, for spring. Less than a year after leaving that much-feted California-based company, which they cofounded with existing head John Whitledge and Josia Lamberto-Egan, the duo has packed up and moved cross-country, setting up shop in New York. (Interestingly, all the original principals remain shareholders in Trovata.)
In their own words, Shipley & Halmos is "an offering of some clothing & things crafted with hand, health and heart," an explanation printed on their silk labels. However they spin it, it's a shopper-friendly collection of about 17 pieces featuring a slew of pretty day dresses, casual tunics and plenty of men's wear-style shirts paired with preppy high-waisted shorts. Initially, Barneys New York will carry the line exclusively. Both 27, Shipley and Halmos eliminated some of the cute details their former label is known for, but left others in for interest — sexy, extra-deep arm holes on silky tanks, slouchy bows on crisp white shirts and more structured ties attached to a great teal trench. "We wanted to go for something more feminine and mature, to feel out who our girl is," says Shipley. Wholesale prices start at $45 for blouses, $70 for pants, $145 for dresses and $200 for coats.
Although New York Fashion Week is right around the corner, the two decided to bypass the runway for now. "We're in no hurry," says Halmos. "We'd like to get two seasons under our belts before we do that." Indeed, between producing the new collection, including a men's lineup, moving to New York and trying to find a home for not only the business but also themselves, there's been little time for anything else. "We've done everything ourselves," says Shipley. "From setting up phone lines to technical design." Halmos chimes in, "Maybe we'll try to get an intern next season."
But for now, this is a highly personal endeavor for the pair, who have known each other since college. Thus, the decision to use their names instead of coming up with some catchy moniker. "If your name is on the label," explains Shipley, "you have a greater responsibility to the consumer to make sure it's right."
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