"This press stuff is new to us—we've always focused on sales," said Sean Monahan at a presentation of Sea's new Resort collection. Keeping a low profile has paid off for Monahan and his co-designer, Monica Paolini. Since launching in 2006, Sea has built up a strong presence in boutiques like The Webster and Scoop, plus Barneys stores nationwide, and has a particularly large following in Asia, with 97 points of sale in Japan alone. Not too shabby for a contemporary line that doesn't court publicity.
The key to Sea's success is in the clothing itself. A woven linen striped shift from the new lineup came with corsetlike details at the bust and slimming side insets. It appeared to be much more expensive than its $415 price tag. Other standouts here included sporty gauze tunics with matching track shorts and a series of tweedy terry cloth looks like a biker jacket with "bubble leather" sleeves (from a specific breed of lamb in New Zealand). Monahan and Paolini used this textured leather on a puffy white leather vest that had editorial appeal, but also made the same piece in black (using a sleeker skin) at Barneys' request. Sea continues to convince both retailers and customers with its accessible approach to dressing, and whether they need the help or not, the media is coming for them.