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Ones to Watch

Some notable names showing at Coterie.

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Special Issue
WWD Coterie issue 09/15/2010

NUE BY SHANI

This story first appeared in the September 15, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Designer Shani Grosz said much of the inspiration for her new line, called Nue by Shani, comes from “the important women” in her life and the kinds of things on which they base their fashion decisions.

“I knew that women want to ‘hide their flaws,’ but without [it] being obvious,” said Grosz, who is introducing the Nue line of dresses for spring and will be showing them at Coterie for the first time.

When the designer found a special compression fabric woven with spun Lycra spandex that has shaping qualities, she knew she had found the perfect material for her line. Grosz designed a collection of dresses based on the compressing fabric, and each look features a form-fitting inner construction that, quite literally, gives the wearer the appearance of being a whole size smaller. Grosz underscored the illusion with precise darting and ruching.

“Nue designs are about feeling free and comfortable in your skin, with a little secret that no one needs to know,” Grosz said. “A Nue design is like the perfect little black dress. It is something every woman needs in her wardrobe and what makes her feel her best.

” Grosz is no stranger to fashion. Over a decade ago, the designer launched a contemporary line called Shani, targeting “the modern woman, celebrating her multifaceted lifestyle that allows her to be both feminine and strong,” she said.

Her new line has similar goals. Among the highlights in the Nue collection is a cold-shoulder sheath dress for $99 wholesale, a ruched bodice and off-the-shoulder dress for $110, a color-blocked dress for $130 and a cocktail dress with a large rosette sleeve at $150.

The designer doesn’t just have dresses on her mind. Next up, she said she is planning to add separates, like pants and tops, to her line. — Marc Karimzadeh

DECADES DENIM

Cameron Silver, who is behind the new Decades Denim line, knows a thing or two about vintage clothes and the celebrities who worship them.

Over the past decade, Silver has become something of a fashion force with Decades, his vintage boutique on Los Angeles’ famed Melrose Avenue that is a go-to destination for celebs and fashion junkies wanting iconic pieces from such houses as Christian Dior and Gucci.

Thirteen years after opening Decades and consulting for such brands as Loris Azzaro and Samsonite’s Fashionaire collection, and serving as an ambassador for Boucheron and Pringle, he is now adding “designer” to his repertoire. He launched Decades Denim, a contemporary line rooted in jeans, in time for the holiday season, and will be bringing the spring selection to Coterie for the first time.

“I was interested in the idea of making a premium denim product at a more affordable price point, but still using the aesthetic that I love, which is glamorous, chic and very day-to-evening,” Silver said.

The spring collection has suggested retail prices of $109 to $159.

Decades Denim has a minimal feel with looks that easily fit into a jeans-based wardrobe, from stretch velvet tuxedo pants to silk or Tencel tuxedo dresses. There is also plenty of denim in the lineup, including jeans without back pockets for a better fit.

“Denim is the first fabric, the foundation of how a man or a woman dresses, and everything gets built around denim,” said Silver, who had sworn off jeans for 10 years but rediscovered them last year — and has since worn them almost every day.

“This collection is really about supporting your wardrobe as opposed to distracting from it,” he said.

For holiday, Silver has already assembled an impressive retail lineup of some 125 stores, including Opening Ceremony in New York, 4510 in Dallas and Planet Blue in Los Angeles. Spring, meanwhile, is inspired by a Safari theme, and looks include lace-up jeans and a silk wrap pant he coined the “Menage” — because it can be worn in three different ways.

“Everything that I am making has to be good enough for women who buy Chanel couture, and cool enough for their daughters who buy T by Alexander Wang and H&M,” Silver said. “It’s very democratic.” — M.K.

 

STRONG & DICKERSON

Strong & Dickerson is the first solo effort from designer Heidi Kim, who has previously designed for brands including Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY Jeans, Armani Exchange and Rock & Republic.

The concept for Strong & Dickerson is based on modern wardrobe essentials with a focus on bottoms and jackets, said Kim. She has emphasized stretch twill that has been garment washed and dyed for varied surface color. Fabrics for bottoms also include a distressed cotton herringbone; a soft, stretchy, lightweight denim; a soft, fluid sand-washed silk and cotton blend; leather, and suede. Structured jackets form a natural extension of the constructed bottoms and are detailed with heavy trapunto stitching and leather trim. There is a belted cape silhouette, as well.

“The Strong & Dickerson aesthetic is a bit androgynous, feminized with soft and supple MicroModal jersey and toughened up with lambskin and suede,” said Kim. Based in Venice, Calif., the brand name comes from the pair of developers who built the only canals in Venice that escaped being filled in as a cost-cutting measure during the Great Depression. It alludes to history, lasting appeal and the dichotomy between art and commerce, Kim said.

The spring-summer 2011 collection was inspired by early 20th-century explorers and travelers, and the British cavalry, with classic equestrian and workwear detailing. These references come through in distressed cotton herringbone, leather trim, utility pockets and the liberal use of khaki. Tribal print, tie-dye and jackets with heavy trapunto stitching give the collection a global traveler feel.

A key item from the collection is a trench dress with an open back. This dress comes in leather or a lightweight woven silk and cotton fabric. Another signature look is a high-waisted, pleated crop pant with self belt, styled with a MicroModal asymmetric tank top. Like the trench dress, the trouser comes in leather and a silk and cotton blend. Rounding out the line is a sleeveless denim blazer jumpsuit.

Wholesale prices range from $40 for a Modal tank to $450 for a lambskin trench dress. The company aims to reach $3 million in first-year sales. — Jean Scheidnes

 

MYRINE & ME

After five years of selling in Europe, the Belgian label Myrine & Me has set its sites on the U.S. for further growth.

Company founder Ingrid Fouyn has teamed up with the Miami-based American Traders to sell the collection Stateside. Overseas, there has been a good deal of interest in France, the U.K., Ireland, Switzerland, Norway and Germany, she said. The collection’s U.S. debut is priced competitively to try to encourage multiple purchases. Wholesale prices start at $35 and top off at $186, with the average order being $85, according to Fouyn.

“Pricing is a top priority,” she said. “We try to offer a high quality-to-price ratio. We like our retail customers to be able to buy several pieces within their budget, so they can put different outfits together for different occasions. The pricing enables them to personalize their looks, which is part of the Myrine story.”

Earlier this year, Fouyn changed the label’s name to Myrine & Me from Lino Factory.

“The old brand name simply no longer fit the current look and feel of the fairy-tale clothes collection,” she said. “Myrine is the queen of the Amazons in the ancient Greek mythology and completely stands for the woman we have in mind while designing our line. She knows what she wants and stands for, but in the meantime can be feminine and even sexy. The logo can be [seen as] a sketch or a signature. In our business, it all starts with a pencil drawing and ends with a signature The label now completely corresponds to our product line, and business is growing.”

With such playful details as polka dot prints and inverted exterior seams, the collection is meant to have a few unexpected touches “flirting with the fun side in each of us,” Fouyn said.

Myrine & Me offers dresses for city life, as well as linen midcalf trousers, cropped pants, lithe blouses with slim waists and soft-shouldered blazers “for a simple, pure and even professional look,” she said. The line tries to set itself apart by serving up an extended color range, with an assortment of pieces that are designed to be interchanged. For example, shades such as apricot, pale pink and lilac form a synergetic union with shades of khaki green. In addition, the gray tones with shades of blue are well-suited to match the taupe, off-white or white hues, Fouyn said. — Rosemary Feitelberg

 

HUNTER DIXON

 

Blouses and dresses are the key categories at Hunter Dixon, a New York-based brand that was launched in 2007 by Hunter Bell and Jennifer Dixon, originally from North Carolina and South Carolina, respectively. The duo ended up as roommates in New York and decided to start up the line together three years ago.

“For spring we’ve really expanded our knits program to round out our blouse and dress offerings,” said Bell of the upcoming Coterie show. “Our customers wanted some more layering pieces, so we have striped sweaters with a little bit of stretch.”

The overall vibe of the collection is flirty and feminine, with ruffle details on silk blouses and vibrant color options, but the line is also geared toward travel and day-tonight transitions.

Blouses range from $175 to $250, while skirts, jackets and dresses are $200 to $450. The brand is currently sold at a few Saks doors and about 100 specialty store accounts such as Gallery in Aspen, Colo. The line is manufactured in New York.

“Everything is pretty loose and easy to wear, but we have cutouts in the backs of dresses and lower armholes on tops for a bit of sex appeal,” said Bell. “We want the pieces to have some Southern charm, but also a bit of Lower East Side.”

Bell, 30, studied fashion design at the University of Alabama and then worked for brands like Rebecca Taylor, Nanette Lepore and Vineyard Vines after moving to New York. Dixon, 33, is a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate and originally intended to go to business school but put that off to launch Hunter Dixon. Bell oversees the design aspects of the brand, while Dixon focuses on business.

This past spring, the duo sold a minority stake in the company to Bostonbased investment group Integrity Brands. The firm specializes in fashion and retail and its past and current investments include Gymboree, Red Envelope and Caché.

“We’ve been able to use those funds to launch e-commerce and double our deliveries from five this year to nine or 10 in 2011,” added Dixon. — David Lipke

 

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