All images: Style.com
As each new Fashion Week approaches, we’ve come to expect brilliance from a certain set of designers who’ve been around for awhile and give us beautiful jaw dropping looks season after season: Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta…you know — the household names. But while each of these designers comes with their own consistent, yet beautiful connotations — Calvin for his minimalism, Diane for her prints and wrap dresses, and Oscar for his richness in color and Park Avenue-worthy ensembles — we do crave a bit of the unexpected from time to time. Enter the new class of innovators who are changing the way we think about how we get dressed every morning. They may not be a Ralph or a Marc just yet, but these 10 are well on their way.
It may only be his third collection to date, but Joseph Altuzarra is hitting all the right marks. For his fall 2010 collection, Altuzarra sent a fearless dominatrix-meets-goth-inspired collection down the runway that oozed with sensuality; take a Cat Woman-esque leather bodysuit worn by Abbey Lee, for example, that had defined stitching outlining certain, um, body parts. We loved it all, and apparently we weren’t the only ones — of-the-moment bloggers like Julia Frakes and Bryanboy were tweeting enthusiastically prior to the show in eager anticipation of Altuzarra’s next move.
Cushnie et Ochs
Like Altuzarra, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs also just wrapped their third season of Fashion Week, and yet they somehow managed to cook up a collection that has all the makings for cult appeal. While the designers carried over some of the same concepts from last season such as sexy dresses with slashed cutouts, number three seems to be the charm for Cushnie et Ochs. This new collection has a bit more maturity, more interesting textures, and each separate piece boasts greater individual strength than last season.
While there’s nothing new about the name Halston, nor Mario Schwab for that matter, the two combined are a new cause for celebration. The iconic 70s-era label that brings back memories of Studio 54 gets a serious update for fall, and Schwab’s modern take on the brand is a breath of fresh air. The glamour that defined the old Halston is still present in the fall 2010 collection, but some interesting draping and slits around the neckline give us reason to be excited about Schwab’s future plans for the label.
We first fell in love with Jen Kao last season when she produced a collection of confident but feminine pieces in a beautiful and highly covetable neutral palette. For fall, Kao upped that confidence with a range of looks that incorporated plenty of black leather, body hugging shapes, and cutout detailing that any femme fetale would have in her closet.
At age 26, Kimberly Ovitz‘s youth may place her as a newbie on the fashion scene, but her resum suggests that she’s anything but. Her eponymous label has already found its way into the hands of high end online retailer Net-a-Porter, which has helped Ovitz gain a chic following that will only continue to grow. Her fall 2010 collection consisted of classic closet staples given Ovitz’s ultra-chic magic touch. We’ll be the first to try on her asymmetrical skirt shapes, if we have anything to say about it.
Number three is a charm yet again for new designer Prabal Gurung. With his last two collections being shown presentation style, Gurung moved it up to the big runway for his recent fall 2010 collection — but not surprisingly, the end result mirrored the heightened expectations. While Gurung showcased a lineup of well tailored jackets and pants, it was the dresses which proved to be most successful, not to mention they will surely please his growing celebrity fanbase. Don’t be surprised if you see one or two of Gurung’s gowns or frocks on the upcoming Oscar red carpet.
When you have Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel sitting front row at your debut collection, you know you’ve done something right — and for Marcella Lindeberg, our intuition tells us that this is only foreshadowing for what’s to come. The Paris 68 collection that Lindeberg designed for fall was perfectly fitting for our current vampire-obsessed moment, with ensembles like a heavy leather peplum jacket paired with a long black train, but there were also pieces to satisfy any rocker chick, and even a girly girl or two might hope to snatch up the frillier lace numbers with romantic puffed sleeves.
Camilla Staerk isn’t necessarily new to designing, but since relocating from London to New York back in 2007, the Danish designer has been slowly gaining fashion cred on the American scene. Basically when it comes down to it, we’re suckers for leather — and for fall, Staerk gave us plenty of options to choose from.
Though Mary-Kate and Ashley can do no wrong in our minds, there was still a twinge of lingering doubt pre-Fashion Week that the sisters’ celebrity statuses would somehow curse their abilities to pull off a runway debut (I mean, look how things went down for Lilo…). But this was not the case. The sisters produced a collection for fall that consisted of carefully crafted separates in luxe fabrics like a tuxedo jacket, silk jumpsuit, and a casual navy blue python print dress — all pieces we would happily add to our closets.
Vietnamese-born Wayne Lee is a self-taught designer, who after a stint at medical school took a sales associate position at Barneys, only to start designing her own dresses for work. But while the designer first began her line in 2006, it was only until she became a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist in 2009 that people began to talk. In the case of Wayne, the chatter is well-deserved. A bit of the athletic trend from last season has carried over into the designer’s most recent collection, which includes easy, slouchy sweat suited ensembles with leather and fur accents. We might feel a bit naughty wearing such nice pieces to our local gym, but we’d feel no remorse for incorporating a little more athletic-wear into our everyday ensembles.