STEVEN SLOWIK’S CHARMED LIFE

Byline: Patricia Reynoso

NEW YORK — It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Steven Slowik has received a strong reaction to Slowik, his debut sportswear collection. After all, spring has shaped up as a season in which retailers are yearning for his speciality: classic, wearable, high-quality clothes. The Detroit-born and Parsons-educated designer, 35, who showed his collection during the spring ready-to-wear season in Paris in October, is no newcomer to fashion. From 1980 to 1986, Slowik held various design posts for Albert Capraro, Kasper for J.L. Sport and Albert Nipon Collectibles. He worked for Calvin Klein from 1986 to 1988, then moved to Florence to become part of Ferragamo’s design team. He has been a consultant for Ferragamo since 1991.
According to Kal Ruttenstein, senior vice president and fashion director of Bloomingdale’s, “Steven is a professional designer with a lot of experience and enthusiasm. Plus he’s very charming and charismatic. The collection has real continuity. The fabrics are incredible, with a variety of interesting blends.” In February, Bloomingdale’s will devote windows to Slowik and will also sponsor a trunk show for the collection. The designer himself says that he based his collection on the idea of separates dressing. It’s full of such basics as slim pants, shells and a spectrum of jacket shapes, many of them in stretch fabrics. “Women now travel all over the world,” he says. “My collection can be mixed around. They can put the pieces together to make them more or less formal. Everything doesn’t have to be married to a certain pair of pants or a jacket.”
Bonnie Pressman, executive vice president, women’s division of Barneys New York, agrees. “Because I’m sportswear-oriented, I related to it very well,” she says. Pressman praises the cleanness, the use of color and the modernity of the collection.
In addition to Barneys and Bloomingdale’s, Slowik will be carried by Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s West and Henri Bendel, as well as Harvey Nichols in London and Printemps in Paris. Wholesale prices for the line range from $260 to $300 for jackets, $115 to $140 for pants, $85 to $175 for shirts and $160 to $275 for dresses. The collection is infused with color, including coral, chartreuse, cherry, lavender and sky blue.
The sole print is a nightingale pattern — a motif that also appears on some of the buttons. Slowik means “nightingale” in Polish, and the designer says he intended the symbol as a good-luck charm. With the warm embrace he’s received from retailers, it certainly seems to be working.

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