The mood at MM6 Maison Martin Margiela was stark and cool with stoic models shifting down the runway in uniform, as if on some sort of fashion conveyer belt. But there was also a lightness, which was reflected in the invites--they arrived on bottles of bubbles--and the soapy projections as a backdrop. The whole effect was very futuristic ethereal.
For someone whose career is on fire, Stevie Dance comes across disarmingly laidback as she sits across from me on a bench outside a Lower East Side cafe. The thing is, her in-the-moment attitude isn’t actually nonchalance, it’s her way of being present and focused, which has guided her insanely successful career as a stylist—a path she never even thought she’d take. “I’ve never been that calculating with my career or set out to achieve any of this. I enjoy it as it happens and work extremely hard,” explains Dance.
Trying to lock in a time to meet with Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin of the NYC-based label Tome proved just how in demand the up-and-coming designers are. Put it this way: They had to cancel on me because Anna Wintour was popping by their studio for a visit, no biggie. Since launching in 2010, the label has been slowly built momentum and is now experiencing a transition from under-the-radar to in-the-spotlight, thanks in part to becoming finalists in the buzzy CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (hence the tête–à–têtes with Anna). Read on to learn how everything from bad taste to esoteric art has informed their vision, which Martin humbly muses, '[those inspirations] hardly matter as long as we're selling clothes to people to make them feel good about themselves." And that's precisely why we love these guys and their designs so much.
Ari Dein, one of the buzzy labels involved in CFDA Incubator program, launched her eponymous lingerie brand in 2010 after studying design in Florence. Since then she’s kept extremely busy running the company entirely herself (not including some very helpful interns). She juggles designing, sales and production with the awesome travel opportunities the CFDA provides (including an eye-opening inspiration trip to Russia earlier this year). She also has her very first collab up her sleeve—“it’s a good one and I’m incredibly proud!”—and has plans to expand into the world of ready-to-wear. Read on to learn how her glamorous grandmother, ballet and Faberge eggs have all influenced her and why it’s cool that she’s 27 and married to her work.
It’s hard to believe Kaelen Haworth, a Toronto native, presented her first collection at NYFW in 2010 just nine months after graduating from Parsons. Yet she proved that a strong vision and refined taste trumped lack of experience (to be fair, stints at Jenni Kayne and Stella McCartney meant she wasn’t entirely green). In the last few years, her simple-with-a-twist has become even stronger--and a collaboration with 'it' girl Hannah Bronfman has given the up-and-coming label some buzz too. We caught up with Haworth in her sunny Nolita studio to chat about how she made it in a new city--and shitty economy--and why we can expect to see many more awesome collabs from her in the future.
On paper Nancy Gibson and Jennifer Murray might come across as totally different. They’re two decades apart in age, come from opposite coasts and have totally different career credentials. Nancy, 51, grew up in Ohio and began her career on Wall Street working at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers, while California-native Jennifer, 27, is a former designer rep at The News showroom in New York who moonlights as a DJ. But, don’t be fooled. The two ladies behind ultra-cool line Edith A. Miller have much more in common than a love for striped T-shirts. They share the same fiercely independent, entrepreneurial spirit that translates into their subtly baddass signature tees.
We caught up with Dagny + Barstow's Meredith Blank and Emily Titelman about how they went from psychology majors at Penn to successful store owners in New York.
With her piercing blue eyes and voluminous raven hair, Zana Bayne is striking, even before you factor in the fact that she is usually wearing a harness. The self-taught leatherworker has made quite a name for herself since launching her namesake label in 2010, dressing celebs like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Chloe Sevigny as well as fashion insiders like Taylor Tomasi-Hill and Sally Singer. We caught up with Bayne to talk about how she went from high school fashion blogger to in-demand accessories designer with clients like Prabal Gurung and Lady Gaga.
Nicole Tondre and Lisa Fuller of Courtshop definitely embody their brand: unpretentious and totally cool, which can be a tough combo to find in downtown Manhattan. They opened the doors of their Nolita boutique in 2008 and it quickly became a favorite destination for hip girls looking for understated wardrobe staples at reasonable prices. The one thing that they felt was missing was great denim that fit the same bill, so they launched their own in-house line in 2011. I met Nicole and Lisa at their brand new Mott St. location. No longer an under-the-radar cult fave, Courtshop is now stocked in 100 stores including Stevan Alan, Shopbop.com and Bonadrag.com, not to mention worn by the likes of Drew Barrymore and Michelle Williams. After scooping up a pair of high waisted summer shorts (this column is actually a cover for my shopping addiction), we popped around the corner to sip sangria and chat about denim, dogs (Lisa has a naughty Boston Terrier and Nicole has an American Eskimo mix) and how they build their brand.
Jennifer Zuccarini’s resume was already ridiculously impressive before launching her own line last year. The ambitious designer cofounded the uber-seductive Kiki de Montparnasse before becoming design director at Victoria’s Secret—talk about lingerie street cred. But developing a line all her own was always the goal, and in 2012 she did just that with the launch of Fleur du Mal. More than just another lingerie line, Zuccarini’s vision was to create an experience that celebrates both getting dressed and undressing, and everything that surrounds it. We talked to her about how it all came about.
Laura Cramer and Starr Hout launched Apiece Apart in 2008 with the idea to create a simplified wardrobe. While the best friends always loved fashion and lusted after Pheobe Philo designs and vintage treasures, they found the constraints of time and money made it hard to find the pieces that they really desired. Then, while day dreaming the hours away on a road trip through West Texas, Laura turned to Starr and said ‘wouldn’t it be amazing if you just had a few things you could pack in a bag and you could take anywhere?’ Apiece Apart was born. Their inspiring backstory, right this way...
Rebecca Taylor is a well-known name when it comes to outfitting modern women. Her refined, feminine designs are found in boutiques and department stores worldwide and regularly worn by It girls like Alexa Chung and Kate Middleton. But long before she had a flagship on Madison Avenue, Taylor arrived in New York all the way from her native New Zealand with little more than hopes of being a designer. Taylor attributes much of her success to the blind optimism that accompanied her to New York back in her twenties. Not long after arriving she decided to launch her namesake label with a business partner, and the two did everything from sales to shipping themselves. More than 15 years, that namesake label is as well known as the famous fans who wear it. Hot on the heels of her Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Fall 2013 collection, we caught up with Taylor eager to find out how a girl from across the world (literally) ended up building a multi-million dollar business here in New York. Here's what we learned...
Clare Vivier’s eponymous handbag line all started with a simple laptop case. Struggling to find a fashion-meets-function bag to suit her busy lifestyle, the former television journalist simply designed one herself. The rest, as they say, is fashion history. We caught up with Vivier to learn more about how she managed to build her brand from scratch--and as it turns out, she's far from slowing down with lots of plans on the horizon (like doing footwear--yes please--and a store in NYC). Read on to find out how she does it...
It was no coincidence that jazz was playing throughout Steven Alan’s Lincoln Center presentation. For fall, the designer was inspired by the post-bo
This season, Assembly New York designer Greg Armas explored the contrast and overlap between work and play. The resulting collection was playfully polished. It had the label's signature cool kid vibe without trying too hard. "It's all about blurring a line," said a very hands-on Armas, who was literally going back and forth from backstage to up front with the models just to check that everything was perfect. "The intention is taking the office and the after office and crossing those over."