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Fashion’s newest names are working myriad moods, from the girlish and bohemian to the androgynously cool.
This story first appeared in the December 18, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Backstory: Natascha Stolle hails from Charlottesville, Va., and graduated from the University of Virginia, but she calls London home. She’s lived there almost a decade and, in February, received her M.A. from Central Saint Martins. Prior to that, she cut her teeth working for British designers Russell Sage and Peter Jensen. Jensen encouraged Stolle to apply for Fashion East, London’s emerging designer platform, in which she participated in September.
Collection: Stolle dubs her look “that American dorky girl, but kind of effortlessly stylish.” There’s a sense of wit to her sportif attitude, too. For instance, the tight, 13-look lineup includes what Stolle calls “a tongue-in-cheek wedding dress.” The bottom features a tiered ruffled hem, while the top half has a trompe l’oeil drawing of said ruffles.
Stats: Wholesale prices run from $150 to $345. Available for spring at Jumelle in Brooklyn and Maria Luisa in Paris.
– Venessa Lau
Who: Ken Li, Chris Viggiano, Jonathan Delagarde and Jiminie Ha.
Backstory: Li’s background is in production. Delagarde and Viggiano have the design CVs – Viggiano formerly worked at Anne Taylor and Calvin Klein, and Delagarde, at Fila, Gap Inc. and Nike International. Then there’s artist and graphic designer Ha, Gar-de’s brand director who has an MFA from Yale.
Collection: Gar-de launched with an all-leather collection, followed by spring’s introduction of innerwear-inspired knits. The common theme? “Protection for an urban environment,” says Li. There’s also edgy street attitude throughout the collection – pleated bombers, slouchy cardigans and jackets with zip-up sleeves.
Stats: Wholesale prices from $360 to $550. Available at New York’s Oak and Tahir boutiques, as well as Ami Ami in Chicago.
Backstory: Kimberly Ovitz is the daughter of Hollywood’s Michael Ovitz. But she’s also got a varied resume in the fashion industry. She interned at the Chanel Paris ateliers and J. Crew – “It was important to see those two ends of the spectrum, the high-end couture and the mass business,” she says – and afterward worked at Imitation of Christ, YaYa and Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. Her new collection, which makes its debut for spring, takes design cues from her childhood spent riding horses.
Collection: Equestrian riffs – harnesslike corset belts, jodhpur pants – are subtle and served up in an edgy, casual vibe. In fact, it’s this street-chic sporty ease that’s the main selling point: simple slouchy tunics, oversize hoodie dresses and jumpsuits, all in a black-and-white palette. One element comes courtesy of Ovitz’s father: the clean, no-frills feel. “My dad collects a lot of minimal art – Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman,” she says.
Stats: Wholesale prices range from $68 to $1,476. Available at Louis Boston, Satine in Los Angeles and Curve in New York.
Backstory: Jeffrey Monteiro grew up in India and Australia, and in 1996 launched an eponymous collection in Melbourne. A vacation to New York in 2000, however, changed his plans. He moved to Manhattan, shut down his line and found work with Jane Mayle and then Derek Lam. This fall, he started up his line again, which he juggles with Mirror/Dash, rocker Kim Gordon’s new label (Monteiro codesigns it with Melinda Wansbrough).
Collection: Monteiro acknowledges that his style skews more Jane Mayle than Derek Lam. Thus, there’s an easy romance to his clothes, underscored this spring by a craftsy feel inspired by Finnish summer homes: draped gowns with a homespun bent or summer dresses in Marimekko-esque prints. Fabrics are hand-washed for a softer, lived-in vibe.
Stats: Wholesale prices run from $120 to $400. Available at Satine in Los Angeles; Odessa in Portland, Ore.; Louis Boston, and Barneys New York.
Backstory: New York-based Fabrizio Fiumicelli has always been in the business of making women look beautiful. Before the Italian-born designer – he grew up in Tuscany – got into making dresses for spring 2009, he was a hairdresser; in fact, he still is. Owner of the Laicale salons in New York City, Osaka, Japan and, until recently, Italy, Fiumicelli had no formal design training but is familiar with the fashion world. “I would go on photo shoots and was always passionate about making clothes,” he says. Ten years after opening Laicale in the U.S., he launched Fiumicelli.
Collection: The idea was simple – good dresses, good prices. With his design partner (and girlfriend) Anna McDonald, who handles the technical aspects of design, Fiumicelli whipped up an offering of silk blouses and dresses, some short and sexy, some sweeping and slightly bohemian, all made in New York.
Stats: Wholesale prices from $120 to $150 for dresses and silk tops. Available at Nordstrom and Shopbop.com.
– Jessica Iredale
Backstory: She’s done both fashion p.r. (Rebecca Taylor) and writing (Nylon; Teen Vogue), but Rachel Antonoff is probably best known as one-half of the hit indie label Mooka Kinney, which she launched in 2006 with former roommate Alison Lewis. The two split this year and have since started their own lines.
Collection: Antonoff’s line hews closely to Mooka Kinney’s girlish vintage roots, only this new girl’s a bit more grown up. “Obviously, I haven’t had a lobotomy,” says Antonoff. “If this collection was insanely different, that would be weird. I’m older; the things I’ve wanted to wear have changed, and this reflects that.” But it’s still whimsical and fun. For instance: the summer frock covered in cartoon auto prints.
Stats: Wholesale prices from $115 to $300. Available at Barneys New York and I Heart in Manhattan; Satine in L.A.; Eskell in Chicago, and Frances May in Portland, Ore.
– Venessa Lau
Backstory: Rosetta Getty, a former model and children’s dress designer, has been creating gowns for famous friends like Patricia Arquette and Eva Mendes since launching Riser Goodwyn two years ago. Though with Riser, a lower-priced line of more casual pieces, she hopes to target a wider – albeit still chic – clientele.
Collection: “I don’t have the inspiration from the streets like I would if I lived in New York or Paris, but I have so much nature,” explains Los Angeles-based Getty. Thus, Riser features verdant prints in washable silk and sand-colored cashmere. The collection is classic but, says Getty, “very sexy,” including wrap dresses, maxi vests and cropped trousers.
Stats: Wholesales from $40 to $250. Available at Arcade in West Hollywood and stores to be announced in January.
– Sarah Haight
Who: Veronica Vera
Backstory: Syracuse University and Fashion Institute of Technology graduate Veronica Vera got her hands-on work experience at Edite Showroom and its sister pattern-making workshop, L’Atelier National.
Collection: “I see my collection as being very surreal,” says Vera of Ixchel, named after a Mayan goddess. It skews elegant and romantic – draped jersey goddess gowns and tulip-hem tops. The surrealist touches, meanwhile, come in the details. Case in point: the inverted pockets she uses as embellishment. “I turn them inside out so the bags are on the outside,” Vera explains.
Stats: Wholesale prices from $150 to $500. Available at Bijou in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Nikki Laura in New York.
Who: Karen and Annie Lin
Backstory: Houston-born, New York-based sisters Karen and Annie Lin always have wanted to go into business together. “We used to draw up our own tags,” remarks Annie, who still has a semester left at Parsons The New School for Design. Karen graduated from Parsons in 2006 and then freelanced for Tommy Hilfiger and the in-house label for New York’s Estella boutique.
Collection: Aira takes its name from the words air and era, which befits the collection’s gentle, ethereal vibe. A key inspiration this season? The love story of Aphrodite and Adonis. (Annie is also designing matching silk-screened note cards of the theme.) “We both really like Rodarte,” she adds of another influence, apparent in their romantic rosette-embellished wares.
Stats: Wholesale prices from $150 to $500 (the cards are $10 to $15 for a pack of six). Available at Manhattan’s Coclico and Albertine boutiques.