August 29 2014

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The Caftan’s New Champion


“I kind of want to break some rules,” designer Stephanie von Watzdorf tells of her new line Figue. “The overarching theme in this is global dressing and that resort feeling, but you can wear it any time of the year.”

One look inside her expansive new loft space at 10 Crosby Street and that gypset vision becomes crystal clear. As the elevator doors open, you can’t help but notice the massive couch topped by oversized pillows, with Moroccan teacups resting on the coffee table nearby. “It’s set up kind of like a Moroccan-style tea salon; you also get a little Istanbul, Turkey, Italy—you don’t really know where you are in here but once you come in, you won’t want to leave,” the designer, who had stints at Ann Taylor, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and was the founding VP at Tory Burch, explained as she looked at her room full of wares from around the globe. But it’s not the tea (or that couch) that’s drawing editors to her bohemian showroom in Soho—it’s her collection of hand-embellished army jackets, caftans, and sweaters. And while she’s ready to break the traditional boundaries that come with the Fall and Spring collection seasons, she’s set a few rules of her own for the Figue DNA, too. “We will always have caftans in the collection. I think it’s essential to a story like this,” she said as she pulled a dramatic yellow caftan with intricate beadwork from the clothing rack. “I don’t put on a sweatshirt when my girls come over for a glass of wine—I put on a caftan. Also, tassels and the tuxedo shirt are staples here.” (We can imagine that Elizabeth Taylor, the Caftan Queen, would surely be an enthusiast of this line.) Almost every single piece in the collection is topped with delicate embellishment, ranging from the $125 T-shirts to the army jackets adorned with elephant and evil eye symbols ($1,200 to $1,600): “This is no joke, we take the sleeves off and send them to India, where the beadwork on just one jacket takes about three weeks.” You won’t find Figue in major retail stores just yet, as the label has been focusing at present on specialty boutiques, but you can shop the collection on starting Tuesday.

Photo: Jeff Bark



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