By  on February 8, 2011

New York Fashion Week is fast approaching and it’s all about the new and the next. Here are four seasoned designers launching new ventures for fall.

Tribune Standard
By definition, tribune means “a platform which speaks to many,” which is just what designer Tawfik Mounayer aims to do with his new company. Not one to be put off by merchant-speak, he said he hopes to do that by “leveraging his commercial background and taste level.” During an interview Monday, Mounayer said, “An [initial markup] does not scare me, but I know a lot about couture, too.”

In 2008, he resigned as vice president of design at Liz Claiborne, where he helped relaunch the Isaac Mizrahi label. After traveling to Australia and Europe, he returned to Manhattan and consulted on the redesign of Loft. Now he is out on his own designing a better contemporary label from 551 West 21st Street. The collection features fluid Seventies styles, all-around sportswear and tailored pieces for fall. Geared for specialty stores, the line’s wholesale prices start at $80 for a cut-and-sewn scoopneck jersey ballet top and go up to $600 for a wool coat.

“I like to say if Claire McCardell and Yves Saint Laurent had had a son, it would be me. More concrete references soon will be found on the brand’s Web site, tribunestandard.com, where shoppers will be able to learn where specific pieces are made and why they are priced what they are.

Byron Lars Beauty Mark
Byron Lars, one of the designer wunderkinder of the early Nineties, will be back on the show scene at Lincoln Center for the first time in more than a decade. He no doubt will see many familiar faces at the Byron Lars Beauty Mark presentation Feb. 11 at the Stanley H. Kaplan penthouse on West 65th Street.

“Kim [Hastreiter of Paper magazine] was looking at the collection and she said, ‘You have to do something. No one knows you’re here,’” Lars said.

For next week’s return, 20 models have been lined up for the three-hour forest-inspired, multimedia event.

What many might not know is Lars has been quietly building the Byron Lars Beauty Mark sportswear label for 10 years and it is now sold in 200 specialty stores. Building on that distribution base, he is launching a secondary, cotton-based label, called BLEACH (Byron Lars Evolution and Cotton Harvest). At this point, prices aren’t that different from the Byron Lars Beauty Mark collection, but the designer hopes that will not always be the case. “Of course, as soon as I decided to launch an all-cotton collection, cotton prices went through the roof and labor prices in China shot up,” Lars said. “But I hope to get the prices down [later].” Byron Lars Beauty Mark is now priced at $88 to $250, while BLEACH remains at $78 to $198.

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