January 04, 2012 New York
Nanette Lepore makes clothes for real girls like lookbook model Allaire Heisig, a 17-year-old from Long Island that the industry has been buzzing about lately. Heisig was charmingly down-to-earth, sporting a loose side braid while strutting around the showroom in Lepore's pre-fall designs—even if she did make a few fumbles when it came to styling herself by tucking in collars and putting on skirts backwards. You could imagine her going to a first big job interview in a combination of the smart, colorful suiting separates, pieces like a sunny yellow collarless blazer with a tuxedolike tail, or the high-waisted palazzo pants Lepore has shown the past few seasons. "My customer got used to coming to us for jackets," said the designer. But retailers consistently demand flirty dresses from Lepore, and she delivered on those, too, in silk floral and still-selling leopard prints. A few of the flouncy numbers were toughened up in leather, making them a nice option for the girl-next-door headed out to the mall—or, if you've got genes like Allaire, to a model casting call.
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