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WWD Coterie issue 02/15/2012


This story first appeared in the February 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

When David Galan, who will be among those participating in Coterie’s TMRW section featuring young and emerging designers, was handling New York accounts for Gucci during the Tom Ford era, he got some invaluable lessons in design.

“I looked at the quality and I formed an idea of what women like in reference to luxury,” said the 34-year-old Galan, who was inspired to try his hand at design.

He moved back to his hometown of Los Angeles in 2004 and started designing belts and accessories for stores such as Fred Segal, Ron Herman, Big Drop and Scoop. He has since expanded his business into handbags and jewelry.

“My customer is a little edgy, but chic,” Galan said. “She loves luxury, but wants something different than what everyone else has. She’s someone who embraces individuality.”

For his handbags, Galan likes to work with exotic skins, such as pony, anaconda python and crocodile.

“For fall, I’m focusing on croc and snakeskin,” said Galan, who produces his line entirely in Los Angeles.

His handbags wholesale from $129 to $299. Some of his bags are structured, while others are contoured to the body. For fall, he will also include a group that is hand woven.

“Everything’s black, although we do offer some black on white, with black crocodile inlay — it’s a spectator bag,” he said.

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Galan’s handbags are sold at Fred Segal, Ron Herman and Nordstrom, as well as some Japanese accounts. Although he has some celebrity accounts, he said what’s important to him is his relationship with his buyers and the stores. He is inspired by art, architecture and nature, especially the greenery, beaches, running and hiking in California.

“I pull a lot from nature,” he added. “Here in Los Angeles, so much Art Deco is still alive, and Forties buildings.”

Galan also designs jewelry, wholesaling from $79 to $199, using chains, crystals and mixed media.


NEXT: Gabriela Moya


Ready-to-wear designer Gabriela Moya likes to work with a different artist each season. For her third collection for fall, she has collaborated with Korean sculptor Hyungsub Shin, who has incorporated his pieces into accessories for her designs.

“We started talking and it sort of happened organically,” said Moya. “He makes sculptures out of wires.”

The detachable accessories, which include broaches and necklaces, can be sold separately, or as part of the dress.

Moya likes to design simple, classic shapes and “it always has a modern twist to it,” she said, incorporating lots of pleats, transparencies and peek-a-boos into her designs, while mixing textures.

Her collection is entitled “Rhizomes,” which are roots and stems that grow horizontally underground, creating one large organic mass that then breaks off into pieces. For her collection, she used a lot of gray and black, with dashes of cobalt blue and orange.

“They are made of twisted wires that are red, green, blue, yellow, silver, gold, black, gray…they give the clothes a vibrant pop, but also an organic feel,” she added.

Moya noted that one of her favorite designs for fall is a knee-length pleated dress, with shaved lambskin straps and an inset of cobalt blue double organza, adding an element of transparency. She described her fall collection as a luxury contemporary line that can be worn to work and then worn out on the town. The line is currently sold at Modelista in New York, as well as to private clients. Moya’s collection, which she produces in New York, wholesales from $75 for a silk tank top to $300 for a wool jacket, and includes dresses, pants, leggings and coats.

Moya said she likes to design for a woman who’s fashion forward, but still classic and elegant “and cares about the way she dresses.” She also appeals to a working woman who’s active and into art.

“I studied art history and I love to merge these two worlds together,” said Moya. “My clothes have a very architectural feel. They’re streamlined, with lots of cuts and are very linear.”

— L.L.

NEXT: Alona


London-based accessories designer Alona Shelemy is launching her Alona collection for fall.

After a few years of working for luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo and Linda Farrow, she decided to do something more creative and enrolled in the Gemological Institute of America in New York to study jewelry design. She then set out to create her signature accessories. Wolf & Badger Dover Street was among the first to pick up the line, which is expected to be sold in 100 specialty stores within the next year. Earrings start at $49 wholesale and a statement necklace sells for about $157.

To try to get the word out about the brand, the designer hosts trunk shows, donates pieces to high-profile charity auctions and will collaborate with other designers. Shelemy said her fall collection is vintage-oriented, mixing vibrant crystals, hand-dyed silk and velvet, vintage coins and spiked charms. The pieces are inspired by her Middle Eastern heritage and an influence of bold British style.

“Alona fuses past decades and contrasting elements, such as geometric shapes against vintage detail. Each piece evokes the feel of unearthed treasure with a story to tell,” she said, noting the collection is finished in a range of gold, rose gold and antique silver. “Being born and raised in London has allowed me to appreciate a mix of societies and cultures. Having a mixed heritage myself, I am always interested when a fusion of different styles and themes come together to create something of beauty. This is the core of my inspiration for every piece I design.”


NEXT: Jyune


Having parted ways with her business partner for 27-24 contemporary sportswear, Jessie Yune is striking out on her own with a new label called Jyune.

This time around her offerings include simple cashmere sweaters, silk shirts and even a fox coat. For fall, the New York-based designer imagined mix-and-match Parisian street fashion that manages to encompass such elements she said are “edgy and conservative, masculine and feminine, luxury and vintage and soft and hard.” To that end, a luxury fur coat is paired with a flowy chiffon midlength skirt, a military jacket is shown with a knitted maxiskirt and a chunky cable-knit pullover is worn with satin trousers.

“My design atheistic involves making staple and versatile items…pieces that can be worn with an existing wardrobe such as a silk button-down shirt, a cable cardigan, a double-breasted blazer, simple cozy pullover and tunics,” Yune said.

She plans to parlay some of the retail relationships she made through 27-24 for her new venture. Yune said she will approach Kitson, Ron Herman, Knitwit, Style Etoile and Modelista among other specialty stores. Her aim is to focus on producing high-quality products with “reasonable” prices. Wholesale prices start at $85 and top off at $1,050.

The are a few surprises in the collection, including versatile fur and cashmere items like a detachable bolero sleeve that can also be worn as a fur scarf, and a detachable cashmere sleeve that can double as a neck warmer.

— R.F.

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