“Busy” is an understatement for Roksanda Ilincic. The London-based Serbian designer introduced swimwear last summer, just wrapped up a hot collaboration with high-street store Whistles and, later this year, will unveil two collections for U.K. retailer Debenhams: special-occasion dresses (RI-Roksanda Ilincic for Debenhams) and a daywear lineup for the store’s new Edition label, which features a rotating roster of guest designers. On top of that, she just added pre-fall to her mix.
For those not familiar with Ilincic’s particular take on glam romance, pre-fall offers an ideal introduction. The clothes are a compilation of her greatest hits since she launched her line in fall 2005 at London Fashion Week.
“I picked pieces that the buyers really loved,” says the statuesque Ilincic, dressed in a vintage Givenchy gown, at a preview yesterday in New York. “It’s important to be connected to customers and buyers, and they were asking for certain designs to be brought back.”
Of course, Ilincic updated the patterns and revamped the fabrications, as well as several design details. A magenta silk slipdress, for example, features black lace shoulder straps and box-pleating at the waist. The original iteration, from her inaugural collection, came in blush silk georgette and had a longer hemline. Another frock sports chain-link straps rather than the original grosgrain ones.
“I wanted the contrast between something soft with something more industrial,” Ilincic notes, while pointing out that a Thirties-style gown with a velvet sash was, in its former life, ultraembellished with giant floral appliqués. Still, pre-fall presents plenty of new designs, too, such as chic day dresses in graphic plaids.
A graduate of Central Saint Martins and a former model (she inexplicably prefers to keep the latter under the lid), Ilincic is now revving up for a major Stateside push — hence her New York trip, her first in five years.
“What I would like to do is establish myself in the U.S.,” she says, adding that she plans to launch handbags for spring 2012. “It’s important to get to know the market and the people.”
She may soon get a major boost from none other than the country’s First Lady of fashion: Michelle Obama requested a few of her designs for next Wednesday’s state dinner with China.