New York Fashion Week F/W 2007: Designers To Watch For
Vena Cava venacavanyc.com
Uniquely designed prints and vintage inspired silhouettes represent the Vena Cava signature look, which is often described as being grown up yet never stuffy. The 25 year-old Brooklyn-based California natives have been designing together since their graduation from Parsons in 2003.
Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai describe their style as “sensitive and modest with the objective to illuminate the person instead of the article. We want women to feel like they are wearing a special family heirloom handed down from a graceful mother.”
The duo has been featured in Vogue and Harpers Bazaar and count actress Maggie Gyllenhaal as a fan of their soft touch: “There’s a maturity to Vena Cava and a thoughtfulness that appeals to women young and old,” she says. Jean Muir and Faye Dunaway in Chinatown inspired their fall 2007 collection.
Ruffian combines the traditions and materials of couture with the reality of the contemporary woman. Design team Brian Wolk and Claude Morais have cited cinema repertoire, European court culture and Frank Lloyd Wright’s falling water blueprints (which where embellished on an indigo georgette shift for their spring 2007 collection) as inspiration. Also apparent is Brian’s training in costume design and his experience designing for film, theatre and opera, which he counts as integral to his creative process. Claude’s background in fine arts and his travels as a model and stylist complete the pair’s aesthetic, which juxtaposes the improvised and the studied.
For Spring 2007 they showed full hand tailored pants in opulent fabrics and tops with dramatic stiff waxed cotton sleeves that decorated the neckline. They have collaborated on projects for design houses and designers including Chanel, Julian Macdonald and Maggie Norris and aim to “create clothes that not only inspire a mood or conversation but stimulate the style an individual presents when they present themselves.”
Sari Gueron sarigueron.com
Cool girl of the new wave of young designers, Sari Gueron’s always laidback romance infused clothes have become the choice of both the uptown and downtown sets.
After years of apprenticing with John Galliano in Paris and working with Oscar De la Renta in New York, the Israeli born RISD graduate emerged with her first collection of just 13 clean lined dresses in 2004. She has since gone on to show standout collections, while each season perfecting her nonchalant elegance. Actresses Gretchen Mol and Natalie Portman wear Sari Gueron and style icon Sofia Coppola graces her front row.
For her spring 2007 collection, which many tout as her best to date, Gueron drew on her studies of children’s Victorian clothes and Asian dress. She showed short kimono jackets, and loose yellow dresses that were paired with Birkenstocks and long breezy gowns. Fragile poplin, crinkled silk chiffon and patterned jacquard helped solidify the collection’s low key yet avant-garde tone.
Brian Reyes brianreyes.com
Brian Reyes launched his first collection in 2004 to widespread media attention and critical acclaim with a style that combines romantic sentiment and a true sense of elegance. The 27-year-old Columbian american previously worked as an assistant to Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Oscar De La Renta.
His Fall 2007 collection was inspired by a time when jazz and blues once flourished in New York City. It featured timeless silhouettes of simple lines with muted colors that emitted a smokey glow and a bold spirit. British Vogue called it “one of the most tactile collections of the season.” As is his signature elegance, the cool contrasting tones and crisp lines came together to create a refined self-confidence. It was an ode to women’s expressive powers.
Reyes continues to further this aesthetic philosophy by embracing women’s chameleonic nature. “In today’s world women are free to express the many ways they feel through their personal style” explains the designer. Appropriately, Cate Blanchet and Beyonce, who are always true to their personal style, are Reyes fans.
Erin Featherston erinfeatherston.com
“A flower sprouting from a sidewalk in an urban environment” is how 25-year-old Erin Featherston describes her ideal costumer. It can also be said she is one who lives to dress up and relishes in girlish romance. After graduating from the Parsons program in Paris, the Berkley born designer created a couture collection, which lead to her debut ready-to-wear line in Paris for Spring 2005.
She has a following of young starlets, which include Zooey Deschanel and Kirsten Dunst. Dunst, who Featherston met at a Paris party, starred in the short film, Wendybird, directed by photographer Ellen Von Undwerth and attended her Fall 2006 show. “ Erin actually has a vision, where so many people copy things. She has an appreciation of fabric and quality. And she has a story behind everything she does, “ asserts the film’s star.
For spring 2007, Featherston showed a collection of flower themed frocks worn by models with daisy chains in their hair. There were waffty trapeze dresses, flower shaped bell skirts embroidered with petals and a pink organza minidress with crinkle pedaled flower appliqués. “I was always in love with clothes, with playing dress up and manipulating outfits” says the ethereal designer.
Issa London designer Danielle Helyel started her line in 2001 out of a need to find dresses that “can be worn from the beach to the office and then onto the red carpet”. The London based Brazilian born Helyel quickly became known for her very wearable soft silk jersey dresses that were snapped up by the likes of Madonna and Scarlett Johansen.
“It’s all about versatility,” explains the designer who put on her spring 2007 collection in New York after several seasons showing during London fashion week. That season she also launched a line of Issa London accessories including hats, handbags and shoes. Issa London has been named by British Vogue as one of the hottest items to own and has been featured in Elle, the New York Times, and Vogue.
The recently re-launched collection from Bruce continues where they left off with a design aesthetic that stems from the integrity of making garments that have a personal touch, detail, or shape which sometimes calls for a closer look.
Designers Nicole Noselli and Daphne Gutierrez, both 34, first debuted in 1998 and went on to receive CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award for Emerging Talent in Womenswear in 2001. They established a cult following of downtown sophisticates wanting their masterly draped dresses that combined function with femininity. In 2004, Bruce closed its doors returning two years later to what Vogue calls “its moody sweet label.” Creating a lasting product that is special to the wearer and evokes a subtle elegance remains the Bruce objective.
Their concepts are based on strict attention to each piece, in design, fit, construction and quality. The design duo’s last collection included silk crepe dresses, high waisted trousers and a suede bomber jacket. The low key duo prefer to remain elusive, while letting their clothes have the spotlight.
— Sarah Costello