Spring 2013 -Designers and Agents

Spring 2013 -Designers and Agents

 

The Designers and Agents (D&A) Spring 2013 show featured a few notable designers. Target has even featured some of these designers in the past:

Bing Bang (aka Anna Sheffield) jewelry, Calypso St. Barth (most inexpensive leather leggings spotted this year), Eugenia Kim, etc…Bringing both brand recognition and proving indie brands do have mass appeal.

The highlight of D&A easily was L.A.- based designer, Randee St. Nicholas. Randee and her company, RSN Boheme, blew us away with herstory- celeb photographer and director for Prince, Whitney Houston, Martha Stewart- and with her fantastic clothing designs and warm personality. Tucked away at the back of the show, RSN, at first glance looks like unorganized racks of mostly black clothing lines or maybe racks from a photo-shoot. You might easily pass by- better merchandising recommended here. But then you’d be drawn in by the interesting details of fantastic pieces like RSN Boheme’s blue lace booties or a poppy-colored, fitted, boiled wool blazer lined in printed thick silk ($365). With her director’s eye, Randee pulls out magical pieces- a black wool boucle coat ($645) with a modern bustle, a blush pink corseted jacket with a rounded neckline and peplum waist ($200), gray glitter suits with fantasy details, fitted sparkle leather jackets-long or cropped ($1200), a simple silk slip dress ($126) or ruffled poncho that can be stored in a handbag to whip out to transition from day to night.  Think Ali McGraw changing in the parking lot of some SoCal boite in 1973 or the ghost of Talitha Getty walking around her villa while the sun fades over the Pacific coast. We might wear one piece at a time for major impact- except suits of course, lest we be mistaken for Sec. of State, Hilary Clinton. RSN’s footwear ($350 up) is fairy-like, if fairies were rock stars. More pants, please! I haven’t craved a shoe so much since Prada’s flaming race-car stilettos.

 

 

But can a photographer/stylist actually design? In Randee’s case, she is so creative and artistically inclined that she credibly makes the leap. She started designing because she couldn’t find anything to wear and started making her own clothes. How many designers have started that way? RSN Boheme’s brand is definitely rocker chic, rich hippie- think the love child of Stevie Nicks and Robert Plant or Prince (both, we suspect, have paisley shaped blood platelets) or mid-70’s Perry Ellis. This trend is still raging as seen on the runways of re-branded Saint Laurent S/S ’13. It has become as quintessential as leopard spots. Working mostly in lace, mesh and leather, RSN’s clothes are both feminine and sexy. Perfect for those whose man is possessed by a Tannhauser complex. The fabric is top quality, and the prints and weaves (the tailoring and clothe, especially on the jackets and coats, reminded me slightly of Gemma Kahng) are like something from another era, which combined with 1940’sand 1970’s inspired silhouettes hint at vintage. The hemlines, mixed fabric choices and glittery accents make them of-the-moment, though.

Who would buy this? Blake Lively, for sure, and anyone else who buys All Saints, Rag & Bone, or Haute Hippie (similar price points). We would, too. The FE editor, who never owned a ruffle in her life, broke down over a black, dual-tiered silk dress (also available in yellow).

I’m still not over the lace booties and I have now mentioned them four times. Obsession…

 

Other notable designers included the following:

 

San Francisco-based Karen Klein, no relation to Anne or Calvin, sells affordable ($35 & up) modern dresses and separates in neutral colors.

Streamlined silhouettes with cowls and zippers added for flair are the style in Klein’s range. Her wrap shrug is a best seller (It functions as a cropped top), as is her fluid, pocketed long tunic. Sort of Eileen Fishery but much more affordable and younger. Klein’s fashions, mostly of cotton or wool, are designed and manufactured in San Francisco, which at her prices, must mean she sews them herself.

 

U.K. designer, Diane Irani’s Conditions Apply features silk, handcrafted tribal printed dresses, swimwear, separates and wraps that are breezy and eye-catching. The green dress is the right color for S/S’13 and while CA’s swimsuits are not recommended for surfing they will definitely meet your cocktails at poolside needs. Scarves and swimwear are top sellers, starting at $30.

ChristysLondon Hats sells quality UK-made hats, also at affordable prices ($25 & up.) Men and women alike will go for these wool and straw hats and the silhouettes they create. The Christys’ witch (can’t explain the name) hat FE’s Michelle wears is our favorite. It looks like the type of hat a 1940’s cartoon detective would wear- elongated Dick Tracy. Heads will turn.

TOTeM Salvaged, out of L.A., handcrafts accessories from salvaged fabrics. Top sellers are iconic Native American and patriotic print items. TOTeM Salvaged products lack the classic workmanship of Ralph Lauren’s Americana line but they are somewhat unique with their vintage charm and of decent quality (= thicker fabric, not vinyl-backed), justifying the mark-up. Also, reclaimed and re-purpose fabrics are a thoughtful trend, especially when they look like TOTem’s bags and wallets. Stock up on their American flag items for summer festival time.

Bags run from $120 up.

 

 

D&A wins best river view of all shows this year.

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