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Each new season brings a fresh wave of designer and house names that are Greek even to the best-informed retailer and editor. Here’s a guide to make the fall lineup easier to navigate.

By Meenal Mistry and Edmund J. Lee


Saturday, Feb. 6, 4 p.m.

Pedigree: Actress Lisa Raye, 38, stars on the UPN TV show “All of Us,” which is created and produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Her debut lingerie collection is geared toward Latinas and African-American women.

First time out? Yes.

Any sales? Not yet.

What to expect: Raye’s high-end lingerie will have a Twenties’ look that suggests Josephine Baker playing the Cotton Club. The designer also is expecting a big celebrity contingent, said to be chartering a plane to fly up for the show, taking a break from Super Bowl festivities in Jacksonville, Fla. In the crew: Usher, Missy Elliott, Mariah Carey and the Smiths, as well as a cadre of well-known athletes such as Mike Tyson and Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets.


Saturday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m.

Pedigree: Marketing exec-turned-designer Anne Bowen launched her semiprecious stone-encrusted ready-to-wear in 1995. At the peak of the business, her designs were worn by the likes of Elizabeth Hurley, Kim Cattrall and the girls of Destiny’s Child. But the company grew a little too fast, and Bowen disbanded it in late 2003. She recently signed with new investors, the Betesh family, and is now back in the game.

First time out? No.

Any sales? Not at the moment. In the past, Bowen has sold to Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

What to expect: Fifty suits and gowns. Bowen, however, got her new backers only about a month ago and whipped up a collection in just three weeks, so don’t expect things to be perfect, she warns.

This story first appeared in the February 5, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


By appointment, Sunday, Feb. 6, 6-11 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 7, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Pedigree: Designer Miguel Pena, 27, and business partners Dan Otero and Frank Skoch, both 23, met at Parsons in 2000 and went into business together last May. The notably earnest trio always shows up for appointments in suits. Pena also did a five-month internship at Alexander McQueen.

First time out? Yes, but this is their second collection.

Any sales? No. But lots of interest has been sparked by Pena’s elegant designs and the evident business ambitions of his partners.

What to expect: Pena is building on the structured, ladylike shapes of his spring collection. Look for well-tailored jackets, dresses, skirts and pants, many in men’s wear fabrics.


Sunday, Feb. 6, 2 p.m.

Pedigree: Canadian-native Jay Godfrey, 25, worked at Salomon Smith Barney for 14 months; then he decided to go to Parsons, graduating in December 2003. Godfrey spent six months interning with Oscar de la Renta, whom he describes as “one of the greatest living designers.” The collection is financed by Jay’s father, Paul Godfrey, a former mayor of Toronto and chief executive officer of Sun Media who now owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

First time out? In New York, yes. He showed his first collection, spring 2005, during Toronto Fashion Week.

Any sales? Not at retail yet.

What to expect: Thirty looks with an evening slant inspired by the dandyism of Beau Brummel. For more, see his Web site at


Sunday, Feb. 6, 1 p.m.

Pedigree: Former model Jordan Betten, 34, started making his one-of-a-kind leather pieces in 1996 when he couldn’t find a bag he liked to carry his portfolio. Since then, he has expanded the Lost Art collection to include pants, jackets, ponchos and jewelry crafted from leather tooled with bits of fur, horn, shells and other natural materials. Betten’s work was included in the Costume Institute show “WILD: Fashion Untamed.” He also regularly creates leather pieces for Anna Sui.

First time out? First fashion show.

Any sales? Betten sells all his pieces through his private New York showroom, the Lost Art Studio.

What to expect: Twenty-two women’s and seven men’s looks with a theme of “Savage Couture.”


Sunday, Feb. 6, 9:30 p.m.

Pedigree: Levi Okunov, 19, was raised with 12 siblings in a strict Hasidic household. He briefly attended rabbinical school in Paris before returning to the States so his aunt, a Hasidic bridal designer, could teach him how to sew. Okunov also worked in Marc Jacobs’ store and production studio for seven months and took a patternmaking course at FIT.

First time out? It’s his second show.

Any sales? Two small accounts in Manhattan: Lola Y Maria and Lazaro Jewelry.

What to expect: Ten looks. Okunov says to watch for his see-through down coats.


Monday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m.

Pedigree: The eight-month-old Tallulah Showroom is presenting a slate of seven designers this season, most of them first-timers. Aimee G. designer Aimee Grubel, 32, grew up in rural Indiana and studied fashion and costume design at Purdue University for two years before transferring to FIT. Mel en Stel’s Ilse Eriksson, 42, who hails from Belgium, was a Gen Art finalist in 2003 and, as a result, caught the attention of “The Apprentice” producers looking for designers for one of its episodes. (“Because of the show, I got into Jeffrey’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bendel’s,” she says.) Epperson designer Rodney Epperson, 42, closed his SoHo store on Thompson Street last year, but says that his line is doing better now with Tallulah. Chyby Ryby (Slovak for “crazy fishes”) designer Katerina Petrikova, 30, came to New York from Slovakia to visit her sister and decided to stay and take classes at Parsons. Tatiana Lebedev emigrated to Paris from Moscow a decade ago to start her line. Destroyed’s Nathan Reimer, 21, plans to open a store on the Lower East Side this year, featuring his hand-dyed, hand-embroidered Ts, and Jon Berry Exodus Industrial designer Jon Berry, 44, is one of the few native New Yorkers showing this week.

First time out? Yes, except for the Epperson and Jon Berry Exodus Industrial collections.

Any sales? All say that they sell at boutiques. Epperson and Jon Berry Exodus Industrial recently closed their stores and are concentrating on wholesaling.

What to expect: Everything from the casual, such as leather, denim and camo looks to the more casual, such as silk-screened Ts and patchwork skirts.


Monday, Feb. 7, 8 p.m.

Pedigree: Malan Breton, 28, who has been acting in plays and musicals since he was seven, learned his craft from costume mistresses along the way. These days, his bread and butter comes from voice-over work, most notably for ESPN, which allowed him to launch his collection.

First time out? Yes.

Any sales? A few private clients, but he hopes to get into retail.

What to expect: “Eveningwear with a burlesque, Betty Page twist,” according to Breton.


Tuesday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m.

Pedigree: Designers Scott Stargardt, 31, and Christopher Trejo, 32, met at FIT and worked as accessories designers for several years before starting a women’s wear collection two seasons ago, which they christened with a riff on their first names.

First time out? Yes.

Any sales? The pair say they made $30,000 in sales last season to private clients on the Upper East Side.

What to expect: Eveningwear with a geisha theme. “We’re inspired by the whole concept that being a geisha is a dying art,” Stargardt says.


Wednesday, Feb. 9, 1 p.m.

Pedigree: Before fashion, Julie Haas, 30, published and edited Spoon, a lifestyle magazine distributed by Time Inc. for four years before it folded. The University of Houston graduate then decided to make handbags and accessories before moving on to contemporary women’s wear three seasons ago.

First time out? Yes.

Any sales? Shipped $300,000 worth of merchandise for spring 2005; the line is at the Cynthia O’Connor and Co. showroom.

What to expect: “We do a lot of handmade work,” Haas says. “We’re turning to the Fifties-Sixties way of making apparel, so it’s got a vintage flair, but with humor.”


Thursday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m.

Pedigree: Husband-and-wife team Nelson and Sisi Li started Iisli, a knitwear line, two years ago, drawing upon their varied design experience. Sisi had designed the men’s wear line F Homme in the Nineties, while Nelson worked on knitwear in Italy for 15 years. They are backed by Andrew Rosen.

First time out? Yes.

Any sales? For 2003, the first year of the collection, it had a wholesale volume of $2.5 million and, for 2004, $10 million. Iisli currently sells at major retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, the last being its biggest account.

What to expect: The knitwear collection is shaped to offer style while still being easy to wear. “We think if it’s comfortable, it looks good,” Nelson says.


Thursday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m.

Pedigree: Washington native Kai Milla started her line just three years ago after working as an art director for Echo Records. Milla currently lives outside L.A. with her husband, Stevie Wonder, and their son. “We’re taking it very slow,” she says of her fashion foray. “I’m not in a big rush. I want to go slowly and build up my audience.”

First time out? Yes.

Any sales? Thus far, just friends and celebrity clients, but she hopes to be picked up by retailers.

What to expect: Sportswear that’s “tailored and polished,” the designer says.