The septuagenarian designer, who played an instrumental role in starting brands ranging from Diesel and A Gold E to Gap’s 1969 and AG Adriano Goldschmied, is seeking inspiration from the Eighties and Nineties for a new line launching in the fall. It’s part of his Los Angeles label called Acynetic, a knits-based business he started after departing Citizens of Humanity in 2013. He’s finally able to design denim again after the conclusion of a non-compete clause late last year that prevented him from working with the woven fabric.
While he has been able to open new boundaries at Acynetic with sport-inspired pants made of stretchy, comfortable knits spun from indigo yarn, he seeks to return to his origins in the industry for his denim collection.
“This season I realized that my inspiration is not only about exploring new territories but also about my denim blood that is recreating the emotion of the classic jean reinvented for the new Millennial lifestyle,” he wrote in an email while waiting to board a plane for one of his monthly trips to China. “That’s why I was inspired from my own designs of the late Eighties and early Nineties. I had a lot of fun going back to my roots.”
To help him navigate the current denim sales market, which is benefiting from consumers’ renewed interest despite challenges in the overall retail sector, Goldschmied is partnering with Stylistico, a new showroom that opened Wednesday in New York. Overseeing Acynetic’s distribution in the U.S. and Canada are Guglielmo Melegari, former U.S. chief executive officer of Pomellato and Max Mara; Lauren Kiefer, former vice president at Bergdorf Goodman, and Marcello Abrate, former ceo of Benetton’s North America business.
“It is our only denim brand,” said Kiefer, who said the showroom’s focus is advanced contemporary and designer brands such as Marinella, Paloma Barcelo and Onefivezero. “We felt so strongly about Adriano and his collection, we wanted to take the opportunity to launch with him as well.”
The debut collection comprises 24 styles in total. The five-pocket jeans range from $189 midrise cigarette pants in rigid denim to $395 slouchy bell-bottoms to $450 relaxed fits that are distressed and repaired.
“In the past I worked in a kind of a pre-stretch time, when I was designing sexy jeans with heavy men’s fabrics,” Goldschmied said. “Drawing inspiration from then, I am now using much more heavy and authentic fabrics but with fits that are feminine and glamorous like the cigarette jean, the carrot high-waisted jean or the eternal classic men’s jean, but reshaped for the modern woman.”
The washes for the knits are usually kept clean, as with the black wide-legged jumpsuit, but the cotton denim can endure an intricate pattern resembling a traditional henna tattoo and extreme treatments that hark back to Goldschmied’s early experiments with stone washes.
Among the tops are a $225 indigo cotton-polyester knitted sweater tied at the waist, a $185 cowl-neck pullover with batwing sleeves and a $225 oversized denim vest.
The washes inspired by the Eighties and Nineties were done in Italy. The clothes are manufactured in China. As several of the leading L.A. premium denim brands promote their devotion to domestic laundries and factories, Kiefer said potential buyers shouldn’t be deterred by Acynetic’s choice of Italian washes and Chinese manufacturing. “It is such a good-looking product, I don’t anticipate resistance,” she said.
Declining to estimate sales, she said the blueprint is to start on a small scale and have slow, steady growth with department and specialty stores. Plus, there’s Goldschmied’s track record for innovation to attract retailers.
“Every time I design,” Goldschmied said, “I try to make a line that will interpret the spirit of the times to come. There is a continued evolution and sometimes also a revolution.”