12 Brands to Watch in 2013

In 2012, the fashion universe sort of reset itself. Raf Simons got what he deserved—Dior—while Alexander Wang got what very few could have predicted: Balenciaga. Now, the question is: What sort of seismic shifts will happen in 2013? From brand expansion, to designer debuts, here are the 10 labels you'll want to keep an eye on this year. Click through to see which brands we think will make a splash in 2013 and why.
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In 2012, the fashion universe sort of reset itself. Raf Simons got what he deserved—Dior—while Alexander Wang got what very few could have predicted: Balenciaga. Now, the question is: What sort of seismic shifts will happen in 2013? From brand expansion, to designer debuts, here are the 10 labels you'll want to keep an eye on this year. Click through to see which brands we think will make a splash in 2013 and why.
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In 2012, the fashion universe sort of reset itself. Raf Simons got what he deserved—Dior—while Alexander Wang got what very few could have predicted: Balenciaga.

Now, the question is: What sort of seismic shifts will happen in 2013? From brand expansion, to designer debuts, here are the 10 labels you'll want to keep an eye on this year.

Click through to see which brands we think will make a splash in 2013 and why.

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Balenciaga

What will Wang do? Arguably the hottest ticket at Paris Fashion Week this season will be Wanglenciaga. We expect deep references to the house's early history in an effort to wipe Nicolas Ghesquiere's 15-year-old slate clean.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Intermix

Acquired by Gap in early 2013, Intermix hopes to leverage the multi-billion-dollar company's extensive infrastructure for quick expansion in the US—and abroad. Gap's branding and merchandising teams will undoubtedly give the chain of boutiques (which sell upper-end contemporary and luxury labels including Chloe and Rag & Bone) a much-needed refresh. Because really, who shops at Intermix anymore?

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Gap

Besides the Intermix acquisition, we're also super excited to see what newly appointed creative director Rebekka Bay does to elevate Gap's design. Bay is the creator of COS, H&M's fucking awesome, Europe-only J.Crew competitor. Fashion editors (including pretty much everyone who works at Fashionista) are obsessed with COS's minimalist, high-fashion styles. Hopefully Bay brings a bit of that flavor to Gap.

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Maison Kitsune

Would you like to buy a $600 cashmere cardigan embroidered with a fox emblem? Yes you would, if it's from Maison Kitsune! The 10-year-old Parisian label opened its first Stateside shop in New York's NoMad Hotel last year. So while the Japanese and French have been fanatical about Kitsune for years, the US presence is giving the label's severe-prep aesthetic real legs. The brand is also set to be highlighted as a guest designer at next week's Pitti W, an honor previously held by Peter Pilotto, Olympia Le-Tan and Rodarte, solidifying their spot as a promising new brand on the international scene.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Alexander Wang

Wang's Fall 2013 showing is nearly as important as his Balenciaga debut. The 29-year-old designer is poised to take his brand to the next level. Meaning, to the masses. We wouldn't be surprised if he opened up a few T-dedicated stores--though perhaps not in the US. Wang's decision to focus on expanding in China with a total of 14 stores planned, versus growing his label stateside (he currently has one store in the US) proved to be a smart and prescient business move, and we expect the company will continue to move in that direction.

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Versus

Versace's younger-skewing label said goodbye to longtime designer Christopher Kane, trying its hand a new model. Each season, the label will work with a different young designer. (First up? Industry favorite J.W. Anderson.) Instead of absorbing Versus into the better-performing Versace, like Dolce & Gabbana did with D&G in 2011, Versace chose to take a risk. We think it'll pay off.

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Christopher Kane

How badly did we want Christopher Kane to get the Balenciaga gig? Pretty badly. But fortunately, like former Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere, Kane's name stands well enough on its own. We do think the brand is poised for some outside investment--perhaps from Balenciaga parent company PPR, who is rumored to be interested. A more accessibly priced Kane line would be welcomed.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Dior

Couture was flawless. Ready-to-wear? Good, but not great. Raf Simons is under tremendous pressure, and we're confident he'll come out on top for Fall 2013. We're even more excited about where the designer is bound to take Dior's accessories business. After all, that's where the real money lies.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Agnona

When Stefano Pilati is on, he's ON. When he's off, well...fashion is unforgiving. We're incredibly curious to see what the ousted YSL designer does at Ermenegildo Zegna's womenswear label.

Photo: Club Monaco

Photo: Club Monaco

Club Monaco

Remember when Canadian-born store Club Monaco first came to the States? And it was like, the coolest brand ever, because it took high fashion ideas and filtered them for the masses?

And then fast fashion happened? And everyone forgot about Club Monaco? Well, it's back. Really back. And really, really good right now. Go there for fantastically cut trousers, cozy cashmere sweaters, and adorable-but-not-twee mini dresses. Trust us.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Nicolas Ghesquiere

The Best Fashion Designer of His Generation mightn't have announced anything just yet (well, except he did tweet a photo of a Stormtrooper Helmet) but we truly hope he chooses to launch his own label instead of going to another house.

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Tory Burch Rumors about a potential IPO for the company have been buzzing for a while--and now that the designer has wrapped up that messy lawsuit with her ex Chris Burch, it looks like Tory Burch could be poised to take the financial world by storm in 2013. The company was recently valued at about $3.3 billion, after Chris Burch sold half of his stake in the company to BDT Capital Partners and General Atlantic. With that transaction Burch gained not only two powerful new investors, but a personal net worth of around $1 billion. The investment community have likened Burch's brand of accessible luxury goods to that of Michael Kors, whose IPO in 2012 broke records.

Follow me on Twitter: @lapresmidi.