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Fresh Takes: New York Designers to Watch

From Catherine Deneuve to photographer Neil Krug, the next generation of designers is working a myriad of inspirations for spring.

By
Styled By Mayte Allende
A look from Errol

A look from Errol.

Photo By Kyle Ericksen

Erro’s Anna Larson

Backstory: Though she has a degree in economics from Stockholm University, Anna Larson always had her eye on fashion. In 2005, she moved to New York to study in the Associate in Applied Science program at Parsons The New School for Design. Two years later, she opened a showroom called All That She Wants with fellow Swede Andrea Westerlind. After nurturing small labels for a few seasons, Larson decided to launch Erro, with the help of former Eventide designer Christian Stroble as consultant-cum-stylist.

Collection: Erro has a double meaning. The Latin definition is “to stray,” and Larson, who loves dogs, plans to donate a percentage of profits to support strays. “The word ‘straying’ just matches my girl,” she says. “She’s a nomad, always wandering around, looking for something new and different.” Her sensibility veers downtown and edgy, with loads of black leather and easy layered knits. For Larson’s spring debut, she also enlisted jewelry designer Bliss Lau to help perforate and hand-stamp the leather.

Stats: Wholesale prices range from $175 to $1,200.

A look from Sartel

A look from Sartel

Photo By Kyle Ericksen




Sartel’s Matthew Earnest and Lily Atherton Hanbury

Backstory: When designer Matthew Earnest first met Lily Atherton Hanbury (sister of artist Hope Atherton) at the latter’s birthday party in 2004, neither realized that they had a business partnership in the making. Four years later, they opened a boutique in Dallas and subsequently started an in-house label, both named Sartel, after Atherton’s middle name. In the pipeline now is a shoe collaboration with a yet-unnamed footwear designer in Valencia, Spain.

Collection: Those familiar with Earnest’s work (his self-named line closed in 2006) will find a familiar m.o. here. Construction and tailoring are key — slouchy jackets, intricately pleated blouses — as is a focus on geometric shapes with a touch of glam. “Our archetypical woman is Catherine Deneuve in [the 1983 film] ‘The Hunger,’” says Atherton Hanbury. And though she notes the overall vibe is “sexy conservative,” there’s a durable-goods sensibility as well, as seen in wax cotton fabrications.

Stats: Wholesale prices range from $90 to $425. The collection is available at Opening Ceremony.

A look from The German Frauleins

A look from The German Frauleins

Photo By Kyle Ericksen




The German Frauleins’ Angelika Kammann and Alexa Meyer

Backstory: Angelika Kammann, below right, and Alexa Meyer met 15 years ago at Paris’ L’Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode fashion school and after stints at several top houses, they reunited in New York to launch their own collection, The German Frauleins.

Collection: Despite their varied experiences (Meyer’s CV includes stints at Jil Sander, Celine and Zac Posen; Kammann, meanwhile, worked at Strenesse, American Eagle and Martin + Osa), the new line is focused on knits. “With one yarn you can create the surface and volume,” says Kammann. The look is classic, with understated detailing and construction. Meyer considers her time at Jil Sander to be responsible for her refined-yet-subtle eye. “She would move a seam a millimeter and it would make all the difference,” she says.

Stats: Wholesale prices range from $300 to $2,500. The line sells at Début in New York.

A look from The Furies

A look from The Furies

Photo By Kyle Ericksen




The Furies’ Rikke Korff

Backstory: Denmark native Rikke Korff is best known for her 10-year stint as design director of Levi’s Red and Levi’s Vintage Collection. Korff, who studied at Copenhagen’s Danish Design School, helped reinvigorate the denim company with her cut-on-the-bias twisted-seam jeans. In 2005, she left Levi’s to start up her own firm, Korff Kounsil, where she consulted for lines including Levi’s, Lee Jeans and Quicksilver. The Furies is the Los Angeles-based designer’s first stab at her own label.

Collection: “The female market has become oversaturated with frilly clichés of femininity,” Korff notes. “The Furies will unshackle feminine style.” The edgy, streetwise lineup includes strong graphic prints inspired by erotic Asian anime (“I have a severe crush on Japanese culture in general,” she explains). The silhouettes, meanwhile, veer sporty, comfortable and clean: oversize kimonolike Ts and draped pants, panung-style, in cotton. As for the label’s moniker, Korff notes that, aside from the obvious nod to Greek mythology, The Furies references the Japanese term for a swaying kimono sleeve — furisode.

Stats: Wholesale prices range from $24 to $44. Thus far, the line has been picked up by Satine and American Rag in Los Angeles and Oak in New New York.

A look from Ajna

A look from Ajna

Photo By Kyle Ericksen




Ajna’s Beryl Man

Backstory: Hong Kong-born, Brooklyn-based Beryl Man is mad for knits. During the past 15 years she has worked at Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Tse Cashmere, the last under Hussein Chalayan. “I love creating my own stitches, surfaces and textures,” says Man, who graduated from London’s Royal College of Art. In addition to her new line, Ajna, named after the third-eye chakra, Man also heads her own research and consulting firm, Essence Studio Textiles, specializing in knits — natch.

Collection: Man is all about “connecting back to nature.” The designer travels to Peru to source organic fibers, uses “wild silks” (silkworms are left unharmed) and is developing kudzu-based textiles. As for her design sensibility, Man is guided by the comfort rule. “My clothes aren’t tight — they don’t hold you in,” she says. “They’re comfortable, functional items.” Expect roomy, draped and oh-so-languid cardigans, tops and dresses.

Stats: Wholesale prices range from $125 to $280. Ajna is available at Capitol in Charlotte, N.C., and Pivot in Chicago.

A look from Troubadour

A look from Troubadour

Photo By Kyle Ericksen




Troubadour’s Lindsey Carter

Backstory: Lindsey Carter’s fascination with fashion design began in high school: She made her own prom dresses. After graduating from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, she beefed up her résumé with stints in the men’s division of J. Crew, as well as the women’s side of its sister label, Madewell. By the end of 2006, though, Carter got married and moved back to her native North Carolina. There she launched a short-lived golf and resort collection with another designer, called Carter Humphrey, but now she’s ready to strike out on her own. “I’ve been gearing up my whole career to do this,” Carter says.

Collection: “Troubadours would get their inspiration from their travels,” says Carter of the label’s name. “I took that meaning and used it in fashion — I could get my inspiration from any place, period, person or movement.” For spring, Carter was taken with photographer Neil Krug, known for his plays on color and light. Thus, Carter uses a bright, saturated palette on spare, simple silhouettes: easy cocktail dresses and jumpsuits. And though she plans on eventually expanding into separates, the designer is content to keep her collection frock-centric for now. “I mainly wear dresses,” she says. “They’re so easy to throw on and all-encompassing. They’re a complete look in themselves.”

Stats: Wholesale prices range from $150 to $250.