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July 28 2014

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Whoa, Nellie!

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Now in her fourth full season, Nellie Partow has made a name for herself as a designer who eschews trends in favor of timelessness (give or take a statement jumpsuit). Chalk her straightforward aesthetic up to her ten years working at Calvin Klein before she set out on her own.”You can only be authentic to yourself,” Partow told Style.com this week at a preview of her Spring ’13 lineup. “I’m driven by making interchangeable items that will live in my customers’ closets for years.”

Like her previous collections, the latest features gorgeous silks, wools, and linens sourced entirely from family-operated Italian mills, and was produced in New York’s Garment District. “I fully support local businesses in both countries,” she says, even if that means getting her textile orders in a little early to account for Italy’s famous month-long summer vacations. “I still don’t know anyone who finishes silks like the Italians; it’s in their blood.”

Knits have emerged as a signature. There were several rose gold-colored tanks here that incorporated a variety of cable stitches that “look like pieces of armor on the body,” according to Partow, and took two weeks apiece to hand-knit. Other standouts include tailored jackets with flouncy peplums as well as easy shift dresses trimmed in python-effect nubuck. (Partow, like many of us, is tired of loud prints and prefers playing with subtle textures). The designer herself is a self-described “pants” girl (as an avid boxer, she’s apparently got a bit of a tomboy streak in her) and showed a lipstick red cap-sleeve jumpsuit that will have women forgoing their evening gowns for all-in-one functionality. For Partow, classic shapes plus quality fabrics multiplied by self-confidence equals true style that doesn’t fade. It’s a simple formula that proves difficult for many designers to execute, but considering recent pickups by Saks Fifth Avenue, where she hangs next to labels including Stella McCartney and The Row, and a slew of smaller boutiques, it appears Partow is on the right track.

Photo: Courtesy of Nellie Partow

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