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April 19 2014

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Gregory Parkinson Goes So Old-School It’s Almost New

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As the Great Retail Recession continues, it’s interesting to see the creative ways in which designers are adapting. In the case of Los Angeles-based designer Gregory Parkinson, as his wholesale accounts shrank, he started tapping directly into his cult-level fan base, both locally and across the country. “That’s what you get if you invest the time in going to stores and becoming friends with your customers,” said Parkinson, in New York this week to show and sell his Spring collection. “We’d start dressing individual customers, but once they knew we had merchandise, they’d be like, ‘Oh, there are some moms at my school who want to come down,’ ” he explained. So as not to ruffle his retailers’ feathers, Parkinson sells privately only what he doesn’t sell to the stores. But that includes unique gems like limited-edition runs of ten or 20 dresses crafted from remnant bolts of beautiful fabrics that he buys at a price.

The designer recently renovated and expanded his downtown L.A. studio to receive clients—like Vogue editor Lawren Howell’s lovely coterie of bridesmaids, whose dresses he did this year. It’s a move that he says is bringing him closer to opening his own boutique again. (He had one when he first started in 1994 on Beverly Boulevard.) Until then, you can make an appointment to visit Parkinson’s studio by going to his Web site, or one of his wholesale accounts. He’s stocked at Linda Dresner in Birmingham, Savannah in L.A., and Relish in Washington, D.C. And Barneys New York is one of his biggest stockists. In fact, if you’re dying for his beautiful Spring 2010 collection (here’s a couple looks pictured above), he just sent a delivery to the department store’s new Scottsdale outpost—seasons be damned. How’s that for an old-school revolution?

Photo: Courtesy of Gregory Parkinson

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