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Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the Origin of Heal

When the going gets tough, the tough get Darwinian. Hence, the new Paris label Heal, by Hervé Koelich and Alice Reydellet, who talk of "arachnid softness" and who put padded lobster bits on fronts of dresses. The gray sweater dress below shows an actual Darwin print of various apes on silk...

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Monday, July 6, 2009

New Designer Alert: Martin

In terms of fashion, not much has been coming out of San Francisco lately (or ever?), but a new men's line has emerged that might just change that. Martin, a collaboration between Nice Collective and Mike Martin (of Mash Transit films, which documents brakeless street cycling—huge in the Bay Area), takes its cues from Nice's grungy-artisanal style, but is ultimately designed with extreme cycling in mind. Pieces are functional: hooded sweatshirts with built-in caps and secure magnetic pockets; button-up shirts with elastic in the sleeves to hold rolled cuffs; and leather belts with hidden reflective elements for nighttime rides. This is fashion-meets-function at its finest. But please, don't try brakeless cycling at home. Available at Barneys New York, Odin and Steven Alan Tribeca for fall.

—Sydney Pfaff

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Designer Alert: Dean Quinn

I first met Dean Quinn, who's just won the Womenswear Award at Central St Martins' BA graduation show, last year in New York when I was visiting Threeasfour, where he was interning. Having now finished his degree, he invited me to his London studio for a closer inspection, and here's what I learned.

The circulating crests of bugle beads that's become his signature came about by happy accident from a faulty measurement when arranging them in flat lines. The flashes of light that reflect from their staggered surface was inspired by sun shining onto skin through a blind in Bladerunner. The architectural shoulder silhouette—or the "Dean Shoulder"—was designed by exposing and stacking shoulder pads. Inside the jackets of his 50% hand-sewn collection is a complex network of tape to hold each piece in place so it lies flat on the body.

Dean's first foray into fashion was making a dress for his GCSE art project, which was lost on his conservative high school. But he sought out a mentor and, at only 16, traveled from Ireland to to London to intern with Zandra Rhodes. There he was put to work painting pattern designs and found out about applying to Central St. Martins. Fast forward eight years to his win—and on his birthday, no less.

—Fred Butler

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Monday, May 11, 2009

New Designer Alert: Valerj Pobega

Leave it to an Italian signora to take a don't and tease it into a do. Inspired by 80s' big-hair god Axl Rose, that's exactly what Rome-turned-L.A. designer Valerj Pobega did for spring. (Although it could have been a lot worse.) But while elements of rock are present in the abundance of black, smoky transparent layers, distressed leathers and stage-worthy sex appeal, the craftsmanship is done with such Italian skill and fine silk tulle that it makes one wonder if Axl would approve (and hope he doesn't).

But the Guns N' Roses frontman is just the latest pop-culture icon Pobega has pulled off the shelf for inspiration. Louise Brooks and Edie Sedgwick have previously filled that role—and headstrong Pobega falls hard for each of them, adjusting her hair, make-up and style to fit whatever her current obsession may be. So even though she's not originally a Southlander, Pobega is at least one reason you shouldn’t completely avoid L.A. fashion.

photos/text Christina von Messling

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Magnetic Pole

How many Polish fashion designers does it take to design a drop-dead gorgeous dress? In Ania Kuczynska's case, just one. Known for her discreet chic, hand-finished details and strong modernist streak, Kuczynska has Pole-vaulted to the top of the country's designer pool in five short years. Along the way, she's won the Polish Elle Style award for Best Designer, opened a store of her own and staged standing-room-only shows in Tokyo and Warsaw (which, if you haven’t heard, is the new Berlin).

Kuczynska is part of a new generation of designers taking Polish design in a fresh, progressive direction. And part of her appeal is that her aesthetic vision encompasses more than just clothes. Working together with photographer Szymon Roginski and producer-cum-DJ Sharif Zawideh, she constructs a mini-universe that, in addition to her collections, brings together campaigns, logo, lookbooks and show soundtracks.

For fall/winter ’09, she's taken her collection on the road. First stop, Berlin's emerging showroom showcase for young designers, projektGALERIE. After that, a round of showroom appointments in Paris, then her runway show in Warsaw. Keep an eye out for her designs in coming months—if all goes according to plan, they might be coming to a city near you.

By Sameer Reddy. Photos and assemblages by Szymon Roginski and Kasia Korzeniecka...

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