a new breed of designers - the Fashion Spot
 
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25-04-2006
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a new breed of designers
bored with the old? check out the new rising designer names, according to wwd of today

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The latest crop of designers — inspired by places ranging from New York's Wall Street to the boulevards of Paris — are making good starts with new collections that favor polish over flash.


Bruno Grizzo
"I didn't want to just make clothes," says Bruno Grizzo, 32, of his first collection for fall. "I wanted a concept that was focused, but had some room to play for the coming seasons." Although the notion of a conceptual collection from a new designer might seem cringe-inducing, Grizzo's clothes are far from it. Instead, the result is a tight lineup of eight dresses, each based on one essential of a woman's wardrobe: the shirt, sweater, T-shirt, denim jacket, suit jacket, coat, evening dress and lingerie.

When Grizzo was 17, he left his hometown of Londrina, Brazil, for a student exchange program in Columbus, Ohio, where he stayed for six years, attending Columbus College of Art & Design along the way. He then spent a year and a half in Paris, working for José Levy. In 1999, he moved to New York. Grizzo says it was on his first job there — with made-to-order designer Frank Tignino — that he received an invaluable education on how to make clothes and deal with private clients. "It was an amazing experience," Grizzo recalls. "I learned all those old couture techniques: draping, pattern making." The designer now works out of Tignino's spacious Garment District atelier, where he continues to make his own patterns — his favorite part of the process, he says.

The seeming simplicity of Grizzo's dresses belies their fastidious details. Even his T-shirt dresses have hand-sewn hems and grosgrain ribbon set into their collars, while a skillful just-right cut prevents the Italian jersey from clinging in the wrong places. His minimal lingerie dress is constructed with corseting techniques. The belt in the back of Grizzo's denim dress, however, is inspired by the adjustable cinch featured on Levi's earliest jeans, worn by California miners and gold-rushers. For now, the Bruno Grizzo fall collection, which wholesales from $350 to $590, will be available at the West Village boutique Albertine. But, of course, the designer hopes for more. "We can still take orders," he says with the optimism of a new face on Seventh Avenue.
— Meenal Mistry


Erica Davies
"I seem to function best when I have my head in two collections," says Erica Davies, who designs the contemporary line Development as well as her own collection, which she launched for fall. But perhaps it's because Davies, 34, is simply accustomed to the hectic pace of a double life, having held overlapping positions with Richard Tyler, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Max Mara and BCBG Max Azria during her 14-year fashion career.

Davies, a graduate of London's Central St. Martins, designs all the prints for the chic, well-edited line of silk dresses and tunics that bears her name. "I'm not a flashy person," she says. Thus, her simple and delicately geometric patterns mostly come in muted tones. Even a floral print reminiscent of Celia Birtwell's designs for Ossie Clark comes in dusty lilac and smoky grays and blues. In fact, Davies claims a love of all forms of Sixties design, evident in the Empire waists and floaty, belled sleeves of the cool, slightly bohemian silhouettes.

Her collection, however, isn't the designer's first on her own. Her inital solo venture, a contemporary line called Davies, sold moderately well, but only lasted three seasons, ending in 2004. "I was trying to find a niche in the contemporary market," she says. "But I didn't have the manpower and, in the end, it just wasn't me." This time around, she upped the ante to a designer price point; the line wholesales between $220 and $650. Kirna Zabête and Scoop in New York, United Arrows in Tokyo and Septieme Etage in Geneva have all placed orders. And though she is backing the line herself, the executives at Development are allowing the designer to use their infrastructure to work on both lines. But perhaps not for long, as plans for a secondary line based on her high-end dresses are in the works.
— M.M.

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continued...

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Cool and Quiet
Dušan Paunovic is the sort of designer who's content to live far from the limelight. He launched his Dušan collection quietly seven years ago, and it has been growing slowly ever since. But for this Serbian native, who currently lives in Milan, that under-the-radar status doesn't mean that he hasn't enjoyed a profitable success. Saks Fifth Avenue; Janet Brown in Port Washington, N.Y.; Isetan in Tokyo, and Browns in London are just a few of the top-notch stores selling his line, which had worldwide gross sales of $14 million last year. "My marketing is just word of mouth, you know?" Paunovic says. "The best-kept secret."

Oddly enough, he considers his collection of flash-free, luxury basics a niche business. "It's a very specific customer," the 38-year-old explains. "She likes quiet, simple clothing. She appreciates the quality, the subtle colors. That would be the niche, that kind of customer who used to be Jil Sanders'." So leave his spotlight-loving peers to their showy frocks and gussied-up wares; Dušan offers classic-cut cashmere pants, simple taffeta jackets, alpaca sweaters and double-breasted herringbone cashmere coats in an unassuming palette of camel, gray, rust, black and ivory monotones. "My style is like new purism," he continues. "The philosophy is very simple: basic colors in simple forms, but in very luxurious fabrics."

And to be sure, quality textiles are among the topics the designer likes to discuss at length. For his collection, Paunovic even mines factory archives and reproduces fabrics from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. "The fabrics that before were used to do haute couture," he says.

Though fashion's tide is turning his way — toward a cleaner look — Paunovic seems to be unmoved by that fact. "I think that will be good, but I'm telling you, it doesn't affect me that much," he says. "I have my customers. That doesn't change." And, indeed, the designer has built up a faithful clientele — one willing to spend up to $6,000 for a fur-trimmed, double-faced cashmere coat. (Wholesale prices start at $156 for a woven silk top.) "You need a mature taste," he admits. "It's a very understated collection. What really helps is the loyalty."

It's a relationship that goes both ways; Paunovic is just as devoted to his clients, making frequent appearances at trunk shows around the world. "I know almost all of them by name," he says. "So when stores come to buy, I'm already saying, 'This, you can buy for Ms. So-and-so. She'll love that.'"
— Venessa Lau


Antony Vallon
Having a conversation with designer Antony Vallon is a bit like being in a David Mamet play — the dialogue is strangely cadenced and filled with oblique answers and cryptic statements. But fortunately, there's nothing elliptical about the 31-year-old designer's chic debut collection. In fact, Vallon's fall effort, rendered exclusively in shades of black and navy, shows a sophistication and originality not often seen in a fledgling line. He explores avant-gardist details in discreet, classic wardrobe staples: an extra puff of fabric on the shoulders of a chiffon blouse, the intricate drape on the hem of a dark double-layered coat, the asymmetric ruching on a cocktail dress and even the addition of a burnt-lace brooch on a beautiful, plain cashmere coat. "I'm somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic," he says of the eight-piece collection. "The practicality is American, but the sensibility is very French."

Vallon actually spent more than three years in Paris after graduating from NYU and holding a few jobs in New York, including one in fashion p.r. at Prada and another in accessories design. Though he interviewed with design houses while in the City of Light, he ended up doing commercial sales. Vallon returned to New York in late 2004, taking a job at the downtown boutique If SoHo, which stocks designers like Martin Margiela, Junya Watanabe and Commes des Garçons. He still works there seven days a week, in addition to taking a draping course at FIT and interning for Tuleh's Bryan Bradley.

Though it's late in the season for most stores to order Vallon's collection, which wholesales from $315 to $1,925, If SoHo and Meatpacking District newcomer Esthete are considering carrying a few pieces. "He has a very intimate sense of draping and silhouette," says Esthete owner Christine Lee. "And I like his juxtaposition of organic details like the burnt lace with the refinement of his fabrications. That gives him an edge." Vallon's future bodes well according to another fan, luxury consultant Robert Burke. "I really see a great deal of talent there," he says. "He's put together a very creative and forward first collection."
— M.M.
all images and articles credited to www.wwd.com

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Sounds very nice...

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interesting! thanks for sharing, lena

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Looking very cool, thanks!

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thanks for posting lena!

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I think this may be a growing concept among young designers. It totally reflects the way in which I found myself working. I am just a student but I have established a prefernce for simple well made clothes. It's rooted in an appreciation for old couture houses like Balenciaga and Chanel where the clothes wasn't so flashy but simple and elegant. I definitely feel there is a growing audience for these type of clothes. At least I hope so.

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^ exactly, i see this a down-to-earth trend as well, way to go mutterlein

you are all welcome, glad you found this new designer breed interesting
we sure need some new blood out there

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Antony Vallon and Bruno Grizzo look intresing.

thanks lena

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interesting article ! karma for posting !

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Dušan Paunovic sounds like my favourite. I really enjoy tactile, luxurious basics. Soft and silky cotton jerseys, wool and cashmere that is dense but lightweight and practically glides through your fingers and hangs with perfection...

I often feel that real, basic quality is ignored...

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Ooooh...ones to watch then....thanks Lena for posting!

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^ Well, props for self-confidence!

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^ i know.. i moved the post tott

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Thanks for the article Lena!!

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