“Imagine you are in Cartagena for the weekend, spending your days at the beach and at night you are going to different parties and dinners,” said Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-porter. That whimsical idea was the starting point for the e-tailer’s newest exclusive curation of brands and capsule collections called the “Colombian Collective.” The vacation-wear assortment of clothing and accessories, unveiled Jan. 15, comes in the form of mini capsule collections from designers firmly anchored in the roots and culture of their native of Colombia.
The retailer has picked up a lot of designers from the South American country as of late which organically led von der Goltz to the ideation of a collective theme. The curation includes ready-to-wear capsules from Johanna Ortiz, Esteban Cortazar, Silvia Tcherassi, Verdelimon and The Lazy Poet. Accessories and jewelry designers in the mix include Bibi Marini, Mallarino, Mercedes Salazar, Carolina Santo Domingo, Hunting Season, Verdi, Magnetic Midnight and the Muzungu Sisters.
Von der Goltz nicknamed the collective the “happy family” since word of mouth brought recommendations of some of the designers to her attention and a trickle down effect of several designers being friends of friends, creating a creative family tree of sorts.
For several brands, including Magnetic Midnight, Verdi Design, Verde Limon and The Lazy Poet, the collective opens the door as a first time buy from the retailer. While von der Goltz has had her eye on several of the brands, pointing to the example of Verdi’s bags being shown in Johanna Ortiz’s last resort collection, she felt that the Colombian Collective concept was the perfect way to officially bring them on board with exclusive pieces.
“We asked each designer to create something bespoke for us. Each capsule represents a beautiful sensibility with unique designs, femininity, optimism and a real sense of love for their country shining through,” von der Goltz said.
Johanna Ortiz, a brand the site has sold for a several seasons, created special looks with her signature ruffles and bright floral prints, as well as footwear options done in collaboration with shoe designer and stylist Tabitha Simmons.
Silvia Tcherassi’s offering includes a mix of bold stripes and prints, while Esteban Cortazar, who relaunched his signature brand with an exclusive collection with online retailer in 2012, incorporates Flamenco styles into a six-piece capsule playing on the vibrant movement of the dance scene the South American country is known for. Beachwear is also folded into the collective theme, with Verdelimon creating tropical inspired one-piece swimsuits and oversize bow-shaped bikini tops with high-waisted bottoms.
For accessories, the Muzungu Sisters, who use traditional Colombian designs like mochila woven bucket bags, created colorful striped raffia basket bags and totes. 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist Hunting Season opted for canvas and leather striped box shape bags, while Carolina Santo Domingo went in an evening direction, making a delicate pouch style with tassels and a purse that can be dangled from the wrist with her take on the traditional Colombian bangle. Traditional weaving techniques were used by Magnetic Midnight to make headbands and clutches.
Topping off the vacation wardrobe is a mix of colorful statement jewelry from Mallarino, Bibi Marini and Mercedes Salazar, with Salazar also teaming with well-known Spanish espadrille brand Castañer with an additional assortment of flats and wedges with a novelty motifs.
At the heart of the collective is a nod to the “incredible craftsmanship and amazing artisanal work of the region,” but von der Goltz said many of the designers also have an international upbringing which adds to their point of view. “It’s that combination,” she said. “They are taking this rich history of an original craft and then giving it this global viewpoint, which makes it very ‘fashion worthy.’”
The collective isn’t meant to be a one-off but rather von der Gotz hinted at it being part of the larger story being told at the retailer that will continue into the summer months with the collective idea being a way to “create and highlight something we think there is a real need for in the market,” she said.
Prices run from $180 for a small accessory to $2,270 for a statement jewelry piece. After Tuesday’s unveiling, the Colombian Collective will live in a dedicated area with a campaign on the Net-a-porter landing page, as well as on each respective designer’s landing page.