IN WITH THE NEW
HERE’S A PEEK AT A TRIO OF DESIGNERS NEW TO THE FASHION FRONT.
Byline: Holly Haber
Terri Moore is something of a history buff: She pestered the landlord of Marilyn Monroe’s old West Hollywood, Calif., apartment once a month for eight years in order to live in the starlet’s former abode; she has several boxes of old buttons and other knickknacks filling an entire wall of shelves in that apartment; and she owns a closet full of Yves Saint Laurent, Bill Blass, Paco Rabanne and Geoffrey Beene, all from the Sixties.
So given her lifelong curiosity with bygone glamour, it comes as no surprise that vintage is the strongest influence in the new line of blouses and separates that Moore introduced in January. Called Terri Moore, the spring line wholesales from $40 for a cotton gingham tube top to $140 for a turquoise cotton coat with embroidered and ruffled trim.
The line’s launch comes after Moore spent two years designing vintage-inspired handbags. She and her mother, Carol Moore, who reps her daughter’s line and helps merchandise it, said they no longer felt safe as Americans travelling to the Philippines and Japan, where the bags were made.
When Terri Moore visited Manila last summer, she said she was unable to leave her five-star hotel without an armed escort. And in Japan, where much of the hand beadwork was done, she was barred from entering a store by a man who said “Americans — No!” after last year’s sinking of a Japanese research ship by an American submarine.
“It broke my heart to not do the bags, but it’s not worth our lives or our safety,” she reflected, noting that her clothing line is sewn in Dallas. “I’ve always wanted to do clothes, and I love accessories, so there’ll always be something of an accessory in my line.”
The new line of apparel is full of old-time details, including smocking, pearl buttons, floral embroidery and decades-old fabrics, such as cotton batiste.
“I like vintage clothes — I collect them,” said Moore, who got a head start gathering such pieces by flipping through the closet of her mother. “The clothes are made beautifully.”
Moore got favorable reaction from buyers to butterfly-print silk charmeuse tops and several white-cotton blouses with ruffles and vintage buttons.
Becky Wells, sportswear buyer for Julian Gold in San Antonio, Tex., bought the peasant tops and a blouse.
“What is unique about Terri’s collection is she got an old smocking machine, which is pretty much nonexistent today, so she is doing real smocking and not the ruching that everybody is doing now,” Wells observed. “The detail is really pretty.”
For fall, the designer is scouting for old, heavy, doubleknit fabrics she intends to sew into Courreges-style coats with big buttons.
“I want to do lots of long boucle coats and pants,” she said. “And faux fur and feathered trim with beaded stuff for holiday.”
At six feet tall, Shelby Hansen used to have a hard time finding pants that fit, especially since she favors eclectic styles.
So the Dallas interior designer solved the problem a couple of years ago by sewing clothes for herself. After a sales representative approached her at a party where her homemade pants were drawing envious looks from other women, Hansen crafted a few samples and last October launched an eponymous line of novelty pants.
Shortly afterward, Hansen landed test orders from some of Dallas’s top specialty stores, including Elements, Stanley Korshak and Tootsies.
Working with a single silhouette of a flat-front pair of flare pants with a lengthy, 35-inch inseam, Hansen gave the simple style life by sewing it in such patterned textiles as lush black and gold Chinese silk brocade, stitched fake leather and bright turquoise and lavender plaid stretch polyester.
“It’s all about the fabric for me,” said Hansen, whose line is shown at the Brad Hughes & Associates showroom in Dallas. “Look at this brocade — it’s art in fabric. I’m never at a loss for ideas.”
Hansen for summer is offering turquoise and lavender plaids in stretch polyester and solid black and wheat cotton and Lycra spandex styles with handmade turquoise and shell belts.
For fall, she plans to introduce a few new silhouettes and several new fabrics, including a cracked gray wool and a black wool, acrylic and polyester trimmed with a fake persian lambskin cuff.
Hansen’s first group was priced at $99 to $149, wholesale, but she said the price points in April may decrease and some pieces will range from $79 to $89.
Hansen has great expectations based on the line’s reception so far, and she doesn’t want to let down her friends who backed the venture.
“I went from zero to 60 so fast,” she marveled. “I’m in 25 stores at this point, and everyone has been so fabulous and supportive.”
Elements received Hansen’s first shipment in December, and they were popular with the retailer’s customers, said store manager Maria Walker. “We’ve got more coming in for spring. They’re really cute.”
Carrie Bobo, contemporary and young designer for Houston-based Tootsies, said she heard about Hansen from her colleagues at the chain’s Dallas store.
“I wrote a small order for a spring delivery to test it out in Houston and Dallas,” Bobo said. “She’s in the beginning stages. The prints are really pretty.”
Susan Lana, couture buyer for Stanley Korshak, said, “They’re fun without being outrageously expensive. It’s good for a customer who is younger and wants a fun fashion pant.”