NETWORK OF ENTERTAINING ASIAN AMERICAN TALENT
Joe Zee, creative director of Elle and stylist extraordinaire, including those clean and sweet Sarah Jessica Parker for GAP commercials back in 2004.
As head designer of recently shuttered Bill Blass, Peter Som isn’t pausing for a pity breath. The Michael Kors and Calvin Klein alum is picking up his cards and focusing on the Upper East Side polish of his namesake line.
As one of the first Asian American fashion editors and at Vogue nonetheless, Vera Wang has redefined the wedding atelier and has branched out to ready-to-wear, the contemporary Lavender Label and the surprisingly well-produced Vera Wang for Kohl’s line.
His collaboration with GAP on the white t-shirt was sold out everywhere, but it was dressing Michelle Obama with his unique prints and quirky yet put together charm that made Thai-American, Thakoon Panichgul, a household name.
Opening Ceremony is that special store that is lifestyle defining. Walk into the Howard Street entrance and there is an imbued sense of downtown hip and genuine love for cool design that makes you want to shop. Store co-founders, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim bring a refreshing SoCal vibe of relaxed cool to Manhattan’s fussy fashionable set. Rodarte is mixed with Richard Nicoll paired with Pour and then topped off with the latest limited edition Nikes.
French, Spanish and Filipino designer Monique Lhuillier has imbued her red carpet and wedding aisle gowns with a certain sort of jetset glamour that could only be influenced by her childhood in Cebu, Phillipines, boarding school in Switzerland and design studies in Los Angeles.
Helming an age-old brand like Tod’s isn’t the easiest assignment for a young designer, but Derek Lam has wowed the fashion elite by taking Tod’s to higher than expected sales and profit. That ought to throw beleaguered investors some relief. Lam isn’t content with only one luxury line, however, also designing a line under his own name that brings a more contemporary spin to his subdued elegance.
As part of the triumvirate to found multi-format fashion publication Visionaire, Stephen Gan has parlayed his tastemaking editorial eye and his penchant for making the fashion and art worlds play nice into more approachable formats including V magazine, V Man and now a campaign for Uniqlo.
It’s difficult to establish a brand, much less lay claim to a pattern. When you think polka dots, you think Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons, and if the near trampling in Soho for her collection with H&M is any testament, the lady has pattern power.
Junya Watanabe is Rei Kawakubo’s protegee at Comme des Garcons. Need we say more?
If your heart is set on fashion design, it must not be easy to be the daughter of Yohji Yamamoto. It would be like being the daughter of Cate Blanchett and saying you want to act. As such, it was wise of Limi Yamamoto to design under the label name Limi Feu, which debuted this past Fall in Paris. Influenced by the Japanese avant-garde like her father and Rei Kawakubo, yet also infused with a more modern, wearable aesthetic, watch for the younger Yamamoto to make her statement for Fall/Winter 2009 this coming March.
Japanese streetwear designer Nigo of A Bathing Ape goes hand in hand with music and fashion impresario Pharrell Williams. That and their matching baseball caps.
Richard Chai was integral to the launch of Marc by Marc Jacobs that is now the ribbon bow-wearing, cheeky print collection that draws hordes to Marc by Marc stores worldwide. His own line is more refined, in an understated feminine way, but attention-worthy nonetheless. Target certainly thought so and Chai was one of the Go International collaborators this past year.
One morning, when I was schlepping back from yoga in a rumpled get-up of leggings, parka and sneakers, I walked past Richard Chai and Phillip Lim having morning coffee on the benches outside of Le Pain Quotidien in Soho. Damn, bad timing to be looking frumpy. Leaving behind his post at Development, Phillip Lim set out with 3.1Phillip Lim and has since conquered the racks of Barney’s, Bergdorf’s and his first freestanding store on Mercer Street around the corner from Le Pain. With celebrity fans like Molly Sims, Lim is bound to be around for awhile, and we’re all the more fashionable for it.
Yes this photo looks rather like a high school senior photo, but it seemed appropriate considering that designer, Jason Wu, is only 24. His boyish looks belies a sophisticated touch, that he might have picked up designing specialty dolls- his first gig. The dolls have come to life in the way of Upper East Side society girls out for some feminine polish, as Wu has become a fast favorite for the charity circuit.
Contrast Wu’s cultured girly confections with DJ/designer Benjamin Cho’s shirtdresses with down-to-there necklines and S&M inspired evening wear. Who cares about commercialism when you have the latest art stars on your side?