Four months after launching her signature collection of resortwear, Ala Isham will host her first New York trunk show Tuesday night.
With the help of her friend Debbie Bancroft, the designer will welcome friends and fellow New Yorkers Nina Griscom, Cathy Graham, Susan Gutfreund and Bettina Zilkha to Calypso’s Madison Avenue store. The event will benefit The National Center for Victims of Crime, one of two nonprofits that Isham started in honor of her mother Sunny von Bülow, the American heiress who died in 2008 after being in a coma for nearly 28 years.
Shoppers will find printed silk caftans and other resortwear, some of which was inspired by Isham’s artwork. A classically trained artist who has studied under the New York Studio School’s Ophrah Shemesh for the past eight years, Isham first asked the designer Antonio Gual to design a dress for her nearly 40 years ago. She launched her own collection in January.
Now that her business is up and running, Isham is starting to make the rounds for trunk shows. Antigua, Newport, the Hamptons and Manhattan — locations where she has homes of her own — are some of the stops. After a successful shopping event in Antigua, Isham recently hosted others in Miami as well as in Palm Beach at Amanda Lindroth’s boutique. She plans others in Greenwich, Conn., in June, and Southampton and possibly Newport later in the summer.
Such settings are fitting since Isham’s collection was inspired partially by memories of her mother wearing caftans on the beach in Newport and on family vacations in Marrakech. Isham first designed similar items for her own use and only developed a full collection after friends inquired about what she was wearing. Her label also consists of shift dresses and separates, which are meant to be what the designer describes as “relevant luxury” that can transition from beach to evening.