3/20/18 Jill Stuart
At just 15, Stuart sold her first collection to Bloomingdales. It included suede hobo bags and several accessories. In 1988 in the Upper East Side still focusing on accessories. A couple years later, they were sold in shops like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s. The eponymous label was launched in 1993 and included Skinclothes – a range of leather garments, such as slip dresses, kilts, jeans and jackets.
The brand has around annual sales of around $30 million in the US, but is very popular in Japan, with Asian sales at nearly $100 million. The brand’s aesthetic and light color palette has similarities to anime. There are over 70 stores throughout the country and is also popular in South Korea. A few celebrity customers have included Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Swank, Kate Bosworth and Leighton Meester. Items from her collection appeared in the 1995 movie Clueless, including the famous yellow tartan ensemble.
Jill Stuart celebrated 25 years in 2017. Jill Jill Stuart is a label exclusively at Macy’s. Her beauty concessions will debut on March 29 in Singapore, offering a full best selling product range, including lipsticks, eyeshadows and blushes. Dreamy, romantic styles with a bit of edge, these clothes are it girl pieces. The light materials and colors from this brand are livable and versatile. Her resort collections have had me dreaming of a tropical spring break destination. She lives in New York City with her husband and has three children, one of whom works at the company.
Photos courtesy of Vogue & Pinterest
1/14/18 Azzedine Alaïa
Azzedine Alaïa was born in Tunisia in 1940. He was raised by his grandparents, where his art talent caught the attention of his mother’s friend, and the midwife who delivered him, Madame Pineau. She had him work by her side, teaching him to deliver babies. He was fascinated with her collection of department store catalogues, Vogue magazines and art books, which inspired him to be a fashion designer. She registered him at the local school where he studied sculpture. To pay for school supplies he worked as a dressmaker with his sister Hafida, who he said also inspired his couture.
He started work at Christian Dior as a tailor, then went to Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler until he introduced his first ready to wear collection in 1980. He was given the nickname “king of cling”, a sculptor of the female form, as his garments were notorious for shaping women’s bodies. He was notorious for rejecting the fashion system, believing it corrupted creative power and art form. He rarely bowed to the official show calendar, saying, “the clothes will be ready when they are ready,” rather than when retailers demanded it. Alaïa was voted Best Designer of the Year and Best Collection of the Year at the Oscars de la Mode by the French Ministry of Culture in 1984.
He lived in his studio in Paris, where he often held gatherings with famous guests. His system was built out of his family of supporters. He wasn’t the least bit discouraged when his style fell out of fashion for deconstruction and minimalism in the 1990s. By 2000, people returned to his atelier. In 2007, Compagnie Financiere Richemont bought majority stake in the business. A perfume was introduced and the brand expanded globally.
Alaïa died at 77 of a heart attack in November 2017. He was an important voice of striving for value, exploring aesthetic and resisting pressure to produce collections. Though I wasn’t familiar with much of his work beforehand, his strong ideas about fashion ring very poignant. As he was remembered by mainstream media, he proved his influential and engaging mastery of fashion. His show will continue at Paris Fashion Week and WWD posted that London’s Design Museum will be honoring the late couturier’s career, creative process, and legacy with a forthcoming exhibit titled “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” set to open in May 2018.
10/23 Taoray Wang
Over the past decade, Tao Wang has grown from an aspiring designer to one of Asia’s most successful female entrepreneurs. Her goal for her namesake brand is to create collections that independent, international women will be drawn to. Classic mens fabrics are tamed into feminine silhouettes with edge. trendsetting and cutting edge, the styles have captured my attention.
After graduating from East China Normal University, Wang Tao trained at Japan Tokyo Mode Gakuen, where she was awarded five international fashion awards. From there, Wang Tao headed the studio for Junko Koshino, a highly acclaimed Japanese designer. Wang Tao was recruited as Chief Designer for a women’s wear brand in London. In 2002, she returned to China and became Creative Director and CEO for broadcast:bo, one of China’s top ten women’s label. Taoray Wang debuted at New York Fashion Week in September 2014 to accolades from both retailers and media. She is currently a board member of Shanghai Ribo Fashion Group who owns Taoray Wang and broadcast:bo among other brands. I love that each collection has a specific theme that can be seen through the entire collection, with the latest season being Shanghai Baroque, using Caravaggio inspired light and dark contrasts, exaggerated sleeves and tassled corsets. There were also a few looks on the runway that used a delicately patterned sheer top against classic navy pinstripe that added an artistic touch, even if I might not wear it. I am so happy I discovered this brand this season and can’t wait to see what Tao does next.
7/10 Franco Sarto
Though he is based in Italy, he works with American footwear firm Brown Shoe Co., producing six collections a year of his signature shoes. Born in 1949 in Dolo, outside of Venice, at 14 he was a craftsman apprentice. He worked in a shoe factory putting together long lasting shoes by hammer and nail.
He launched his namesake like in 1990. In 2015, he debuted a premiere line simply titled Sarto, a curation that paid homage to Italian sensibility mixed with effortless style. In an interview with Footwear News, he talked about drawing inspiration from observing people and that he strongly dislike unconstructive criticism.
Franco Sarto shoes are available in 20 countries and Mr. Sarto plans on continuing to expand internationally. He says, “..In this moment, I have more enthusiasm and am more secure [as a designer] than ever before. Artists like Picasso and Van Gogh did their best work later in their lives, so I’m not finished yet.”
I bought a pair a few months ago, although I was unfamiliar with the brand, I loved how comfortable and sleek the shoes were. I like that the brand prides itself in use of quality material and the designs are phenomenal. I have my eye on a few of these styles!
Photos courtesy of Franco Sarto and QVC
6/20 We Are Kindred
Sisters and friends, Lizzie and Georgie Renkert started the Australian label We Are Kindred in 2013. Providing a melodic curation of seasonal and timeless pieces, they’re latest collection really caught my eye at Australian Fashion Week. With light fabrics providing movement with delicate patterns and an effortlessly cool color palette, these pieces are as trendy and luxurious as they bohemian and versatile. The silhouettes are innovative, the sisters drawing from experience in the industry in magazine editing and design and development. They have exclusive house prints, which I’m sure has helped them become one of Australia’s fastest growing labels. It was a highlight from this season that they debuted swimwear.
Their website ships to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Taiwain, England, Ireland, Wales, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Lebanon. You can email them for a quote if you don’t live in one of those countries. I know next time there’s an event I need a dress for I would love to wear We Are Kindred.
Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia
4/22 Francis Valentine, Kate Spade
Fashion designer and business woman Kate Spade was born in 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri. A few years after graduating from Arizona State University, she launched her own line of handbags in 1993. The company, Kate Spade grew to include clothing, accessories, fragrance, home decor and stationary in several retail outlets in over 450 stores globally as well as selling its products through high-end stores. In 1996, the Council of Fashion Designers of America honored Spade’s classic designs by giving her the “America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories” award, and in 1999, her handbags were exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Museum celebrating American design excellence. She sold the business to the Neiman Marcus Group in 1999, but remained active within the brand.
In 2016, Spade, along with her husband, Andy, and their longtime friends, Elyce Arons and shoe designer Paola Venturi, launched their new fashion endeavor, Frances Valentine, named after the Spades daughter Frances and Valentine was gleaned from family history. It is crisp and bright line that has a wide selection of sophisticated and charming shoes and handbags. I love the colors and details, and can’t wait to see what else they do.
photos courtesy of Francis Valentine
3/6 Alejandra Alonso Rojas
Born and raised in Madrid, a fourth generation hand knitter, inspired by the heritage of the women in her life, Alejandra seamlessly blends finesse and stylish glamour to her women’s line. Combining tradition and experimental technique to her creations in cozy knits and feminine dress silhouettes, her style is sophisticated and luxurious. The second season is centered in Spanish roots, personal and homey. She has been gaining stride since picking up the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award in January. Alejandra lives in New York City with her husband and dachshund, Latte.
Photos courtesy of Alejandra Alsono Rojas & WWD
1/24/2017 Unravel, Ben Taverniti
Model-off-duty/athleisure is the latest movement in fashion, but it’s nothing new for Ben Taverniti. He has left his impressions on the fashion industry since being design assistant for Jeremy Scott, working at his father’s company, Taverniti Couture, and being creative director if Hudson Jeans before gaining even more influence with his booming new collection, Unravel. Born in Toulouse France and studying at the famed Parisian fashion school ESMOD, he now lives in Los Angeles with his fiancee Joyce Bonelli, famed makeup artist for the Kardashians. Unravel is meant to be about a lifestyle movement. The brand has the laid back LA feel, but touches on his French roots with European sensibility.
At Unravel, its about destroy and rebuild. Make stuff you love and grow organically. There is no compromise. It can take days to hand treat, wash and distress some pieces. Every piece is one of a kind and season less. That’s what makes the fashion so unique. Pieces included lace up pants, graphic tees, bomber jackers, luxury hoodies and other edgy garments.
Unravel is stocked at Barneys New York, FWRD by Elyse Walker and Selfridges among other stores, will expand its footwear collection with sneakers, heels and boots for fall 2017 as well as grow its men’s collection. In March, the brand will stage its first presentation during Paris Fashion Week.
Photos courtesy LA Racked and Barney’s
Brand expansion courtesy of WWD
November 6, 2016
I stumbled upon Paul Andrew while I was doing research for London Fashion Week. He has an impressive fashion background. After graduating from Berkshire College of Art and Design, he worked under fashion houses like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Narciso Rodriguez and Alexander McQueen.
In 2012, he launched his eponymous footwear brand. It was picked up by 100 stores internationally including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lane Crawford.
In 2014, as part of winning the Vogue Fashion Fund and becoming the first footwear designer to do so, he launched a collaboration with J.Crew.He finds inspiration from art, classic film and travel, but most importantly, the individuals who wear his shoes. His father was upholsterer for the Queen of Windsor Castle, where he was surrounded by exquisite fabrics and the interaction of form. Among numerous awards include Designer of the Year at London Graduate Fashion Week, Who’s Next 2013, Business of Fashion BOF 500 2015 listee and CFDA Fashion Awards Swarovski accessories design in 2016.
I love so many of his designs, they are colorful, bold and expressive. They are everything you could want in a shoe. I’m excited to continue following his work.
Photos courtesy of paulandrew.com and novo magazine