Within U.S. fashion circles, London-based designer Kinder Aggugini is not high on the radar. “I know people don’t know me,” Aggugini said.
This story first appeared in the February 16, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But the profile could change starting now. On Tuesday night, he kicked off a new program at Macy’s intended to build up the chain’s Impulse contemporary departments, whereby a different designer creating exclusive items gets featured every few months. Karl Lagerfeld and two other designers will follow Aggugini, creating capsule collections selling for about two months at Macy’s this year. Exclusives from all four designers in the fourth quarter will create a unique holiday assortment.
Aggugini’s collection for Macy’s features silk enzyme-washed dresses for a soft hand; tobacco-stained light gray leather jackets; chiffon dresses and chiffon rompers with prints underneath; tailored leather and bouclé jackets; soft cardigans, and kimono-style dresses. There are 40 styles, or 200 pieces in total factoring in the different fabrics, prints and colors required so Macy’s can ship to stores in different climates and demographics.
Everything is lined with polka dots, Aggugini’s signature and, like snowflakes, no two dots are exactly alike, but they’re precisely placed on the garments, on a grid. The silhouettes are figure flattering and in two contemporary color stories: gray and blue with purple prints, and soft pink and black. Prices range from $40 to $140, with specialty pieces selling up to $300.
“Nothing here is anything you’ve seen before,” the designer said during a preview of the collection. “At the same time, nothing is so different that it would be difficult to understand.”
A love of tailoring, and a rock ’n’ roll sensibility, influence his designs. “I like the way things fit and to make the cloth work with the body, not against it.” He said he served as a “ghost” designer for Calvin Klein, Versace, Paul Smith and John Galliano, then three years ago broke out on his own.
A year ago, he caught the eye of Macy’s women’s fashion director Nicole Fischelis, who saw his spring 2010 collection. She became instrumental in bringing Aggugini to Macy’s. While he initially was skeptical about working with the department store group, ultimately “the fact that this was totally brand new concept, and I would get to set the mark, attracted me.” As far as the final product, it’s to his satisfaction. “Each piece is conceived, designed and manufactured exactly like it would be in a fashion collection,” he said.
Macy’s represents his first major distribution in the U.S., though he’s been selling at Jeffrey and Ikram in Chicago, as well as some stores in Europe.