A key takeaway from spring was the rise of emerging talent — namely brands advocating for a new take on what’s feminine and cool. Across the globe, young brands took the runway with clear, distinct points of view alongside their new collections. In New York, one-year-old label Commission melded nostalgia with quirky charm; in Milan, brands Colville, Plan C and Act N.1 unveiled exciting and different takes on femininity, and in Paris, Kwaidan Editions, Coperni and Françoise proposed a new cool. Here, meet these seven designers to watch.
Designers: Lucinda Chambers, Molly Molloy and Kristin Forss.
Key pieces for spring: The printed dresses define the conceptual and feminine nature within the collection: bright, bold, fearless, colorful.
Brand background: The designers all met 15 years ago at Marni: Forss worked on men’s wear and Chambers and Molloy on women’s wear. They launched Colville in 2018 to continue their working relationship and creative collaboration beyond Marni.
Brand icons: “We are surrounded by amazing people who have become our mentors and influencers, friends, colleagues and each other. We involve friends to work and collaborate with us, we are building a Colville community, the collection isn’t just one voice and not even three but many, it’s an inspiring way to work.”
Stockists: Matchesfashion.com, Modes.com and Joyce.com
Goal: To launch a small home collection next year.
Brand: Act N.1
Designers: Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff
Key pieces for spring: The designers concentrated on double pieces (hybrids) for the show, deconstructing evening and wedding gowns.
“We deconstructed evening and wedding gowns for appliqués on the sweatshirts and added some controversial underbreast piercing accessories to give a more underground look.”
Inspiration: The brand carries a mission to stand up for girls and women whose voices have been lost in public. The spring show was about reflecting one’s true self and inner strength.
Brand background: Founded in early 2016, the brand won the Who Is on Next prize in 2017.
Stockists: Selfridges, H.Lorenzo, Harvey Nichols Hong Kong, Farfetch.com.
Price points: Tops from 150 euros to 650 euros; bottoms from 350 euros to 750 euros; dresses from 450 euros to 1,200 euros; outerwear from 800 euros to 1,400 euros.
Goal: Launching e-commerce and expanding the menswear line are foreseeable business goals. An overarching goal would be to see the results of their contributions to stop child marriages and to stop violence based on gender, culture, or skin color.
Brand: Plan C
Designer: Carolina Castiglioni
Key pieces for spring: Two things are always present in the collections: the unusual way of combining colors, as in a jade jacket over emerald pants, and a sense for details to give items personality, as in a blue skirt with ecru cord belt.
Brand background: Castiglioni has been working in her family’s company (Marni) for 13 years, having the chance to gain experience in different departments such as retail, commercial and creative.
Brand icons: “Plan C is a very personal project meaning I design clothes for myself. I only do the things that I like and which I feel are right, and then everything evolves from that. My mother is of course a source for inspiration and I have absorbed from her a sense of taste.”
Stockists: Barneys New York, Browns, Le Bon Marché, Mytheresa, Lane Crawford and 10 Corso Como.
Price points: Dresses from 700 euros to 1,900 euros; shirts from 420 euros to 670 euros; coats from 1,200 euros to 2,350 euros; leather and shearling from 1,800 euros to 4,700 euros; jackets from 880 euros to 1,470 euros; trousers from 380 euros to 690 euros; knitwear from 450 euros to 700 euros.
Designers: Jin Kay, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong.
Key pieces for spring: Gift-wrapping paper floral print; double-waisted tailored trousers worn with men’s-inspired belt with a new Commission logo motif; a mix of ultra femininity (pussy bow blouse, sheer ruffles, pleated skirt and skintight leggings in floral print) and masculinity (wool suiting fabrics, leather belts with silver hardware).
Inspiration: The designers’ mothers’ beach vacations in the Eighties in East and Southeast Asia. Memories of a “suit on the beach” moment where their moms get to the beaches in their 9-to-5 work suits.
Brand background: Based in New York, Commission is a one-year-old women’s wear brand founded by first-generation immigrants from Asia (Kay from Korea, Cao and Luong from Vietnam).
Career history: Kay has held ready-to-wear design jobs at Gucci, Narciso Rodriguez and Prabal Gurung; Cao has designed accessories and footwear at Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim and R13; Luong has a background in visual communication design and photography.
Brand icons: Memories of their parents, especially their mothers, serve as the core influence to the designs and brand image.
Price points: Shirting from $500 to $800; dresses, $800; suiting, $1,100; outerwear, $1,500; pants from $700 to $1,100; knits from $300 to $700.
Goal: To shine the light on an often less romanticized era in Asia and to combat the limited, stereotypical and literal translation of “Asian” beauty and culture in the fashion and visual world.
Designers: Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant
Key pieces for spring: Capri pants with a very high waist, which gives a nostalgic twist to the aqua nylon shirt; the motion dress, with cutouts on the back and an asymmetric collar triggering an invitation to touch.
Inspiration: Connectivity is the main inspiration of the spring 2020 collection, which the designers see as central to our modern lives. The collection deals with symbols, shapes and constructions related to this concept — a collar turns into a back by a trompe l’oeil effect and straps appear connected to a neckline in motion. Coperni remains mindful of the idea of the very first connection: tactile and sensual, featuring deconstructed styles that trigger an invitation to touch.
Brand background: Coperni was founded in 2013 before relaunching in 2018.
Stockists: Ssense, Le Bon Marché, Bergdorf Goodman, Browns, Galeries Lafayette and Hudson’s Bay.
Price points: Dresses, $760; jackets, $820; trousers, $590; shirts, $400; coats, $2,000, and shoes, $520.
Goal: To continue developing the brand, taking risks, searching for chicness and innovation, doing original formats during fashion week and eventually launching their own web site next year.
Designer name: Johanna Senyk
Key pieces for spring: The mix of culture and references on a very modern way of treatment and shapes, with the Italian savoir faire.
Inspiration: Françoise is imagined as a real person, traveling and bringing her french aesthetic and culture with her and mixing with new inspirations. This season she went to Miami and brought back luminous colors, light fabrics, beachwear fabrics, a vintage Halston jersey treatment and a new interpretation of Hawaiian prints.
Brand background: Françoise is a meeting between French vision and taste with Italian savoir faire. Previously Johanna Senyk was the creative director of Wanda Nylon. With this brand she was nominated for the LVMH Prize and won the prestigious ANDAM price.
Brand icons: All the french subversive girls famous or unknown.
Stockists: Kirna Zabête, Matchesfashion.com, Galeries Lafayette, Beams Tokyo and Harvey Nichols in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Price points: Dresses from 280 euros to 550 euros; tops and pants from 220 euros to 350 euros.
Goal: Establish the brand in existing points of sales and expand distribution for now.
Brand: Kwaidan Editions designers: Léa Dickely and Hung La.
Key pieces for spring: Though steeped in tailoring and a strong color sense, spring 2020 emphasized light and fluid fabrics and a more body-conscious silhouette.
Inspiration: The powdery hues from Luc Tuymans, the Belgian painter, as well as his subjects: soft, powdery colors but depicting unnerving and powerful subjects. The designers wanted everything to convey a sense of lightness, with looks bathed in bright light.
Brand background: Kwaidan Editions started in 2016. In Japanese, “Kwaidan” translates to “strange stories” and alludes to a celebrated, ghostly film by Masaki Kobayashi (1965) that’s a constant reference for the designers. They evoke the uncanny, supernatural atmosphere of the film through unusual materials, precise cuts and an emotional language of color.
Career history: Léa Dickely is a prints and textile specialist who has worked with Rick Owens and Alexander McQueen. Hung La worked as a designer in the head ateliers of Balenciaga and Céline.
Brand icons: Female artists who are multifaceted in their thinking and in their craft. Kwaidan Editions embodies a kind of intense-interiority, and have worked with inspiring contemporary artists such as Dominique Gonzalez Foerster and Alexandra Bachzetsis and Kelsey Lu.
Stockists: 10 Corso Como in Seoul, Dover Street Market/IT Beijing Edition, Galeries Lafayette, Net-a-porter and Nordstrom Space.
Price points: Pants, $750; coats, $1,800; tops, $700; jackets, $1,450; dresses, $950; shoes, $650.
Models: Rue Ingram at Muse; Maxima at New Pandemics; June at New Pandemics Hair by Tsuyoshi Harada
Makeup by YuuiVision
Props by Lauren Walkup at Bernstein & Andriulli
Casting by Luis Campuzano
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