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August 31 2014

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3 posts tagged "designer"

Introducing Kim Haller, the Rising Knitwear Star to Know

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BLOG_dyptich_1&2The Fall ’14 collections, which were full of cozy layers, affirmed we’re in a boom time for knitwear. And while big-name brands are emphasizing the category more than ever, it’s rare to come across an emerging designer focused solely on sweaters—even fewer who could truly be considered trailblazers. Enter Kim Haller, who launched her eponymous line for Fall ’14, and has quickly earned support from retailers such as Opening Ceremony, which will exclusively carry her premiere and sophomore collections.

Haller is no stranger to the knitwear game. For the past two decades, she’s been overseeing the knitwear programs for more than a dozen labels—ranging from high to low—including Jason Wu, Derek Lam, TSE, Maiyet, Nine West, and more. Perceiving a lack of creative, cutting-edge knitwear in the market, Haller finally decided to take the plunge and break out on her own. (She’s scaled back on consulting but continues to collaborate with her favorite clients.) “I just felt like I wanted to do something different and really push the envelope in terms of what you can really do with knitting,” she told Style.com at a preview of her new Resort range.
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Haller first got hooked on looming around the age of 8. During a long family road trip from Indiana to Florida, Haller’s grandmother kept her occupied with a pair of needles and yarn, and the rest is history. “Back then, my mom was also very crafty. We did macramé everything—even our garbage cans were crocheted—so it was kind of perfect I ended up doing sweaters,” she added. Knitting evolved from a hobby to a viable career option when Haller took a hand-knitting class at Parsons, which eventually led to her first position at Calvin Klein. Like many specialists in her field, Haller prefers to work with quality Italian yarns, and uses her industry connections to source specialty fabrications from innovative mills associated with major players such as Alaïa.

A particular highlight from her latest lineup is a series of pieces incorporating a beautiful velour yarn spun to create a swirling pattern reminiscent of wood grain. In addition to novelty sweatshirts and basic sweater styles, she featured the jacquard on unexpected silhouettes like a cool, strapless bodysuit (with built-in corseting). Coming off of her debut season, Haller was thrilled to find that her edgier looks were, in fact, the most popular with buyers. “It turned out that what I thought would just be showpieces were what people wanted the most,” she said. “I wanted to give my customers options for layering underneath their cardigans and V-necks. Layering up knits can be much more exciting than a T-shirt.”

Among Haller’s other technically intricate standouts for Resort are clingy viscose frocks and separates, intarsia’ed swimsuits, and chunky pullovers hand-knit by a Russian artisan based in Brooklyn. Moving forward, Haller plans to forgo doing Spring ’15 in favor of focusing on her next Fall ’15 collection. “It’s a really exciting time for knitwear. And now that I’ve figured out ‘Who am I?’, I will be able to really start having fun with it,” she said.

Kim Haller’s Fall and Resort collections ($300 to $1,200) will be available exclusively at Opening Ceremony. For more information, visit kim-haller.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Kim Haller

Dressing for Fame: Stylist and A.L.C. Designer Andrea Lieberman on What Women Want

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andrea-liebermanIf celebrity status is conferred in red-carpet appearances, then no actress today can compete without the help of just the right stylist. As Kerry Washington once told Glamour after she noticeably upped the sartorial ante, “There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand careerwise—because they knew how to work that red carpet.” A carefully crafted collaboration between stylist and client, the perfect look can create an indelible impact on agents, casting directors, and those of us watching from the sidelines. Straight from the epicenter of all things celebrity, we’ve asked some of the industry’s top stylists to share their experiences and impressions from their perch above Tinseltown. With our Dressing for Fame series, we bring you an exclusive, insider look at everything it takes to create those iconic moments captured by a million photo flashes.

Andrea Lieberman is a rare breed of stylist. A success story at styling, no doubt (she put J.Lo on the map in that plunging Versace at the Grammys), Lieberman harnessed that success into A.L.C., her well-received contemporary collection that seems to set the standard of cool season after season. With one foot still delicately placed in the world of styling and one firmly planted in design, the stylist-slash-designer talks exclusively to Style.com about going through the Valentino archives, her friend Arianne Phillips, working with J.Lo, and more.

You’ve done a lot of work styling music artists. Is there anything about styling for music artists that you’ve found different from styling celebrities in general?
My background was always very much a music background. For me, I really enjoyed that collaborative effort and creating a whole image, like an art director. It was more about collaborating on their image and touring and costuming and just really creating a look to go along with the vibe of where the album was.

What compelled you to start designing?
I immersed myself at a young age growing up in New York in the world of fashion, whether it was internships to retail to helping out friends who were stylists. Arianne Phillips is a very dear friend and has always been a huge inspiration of mine. I remember when I met her when we were both young and hanging out in New York. She was one of the first people I knew who worked on music, so she was quite inspiring. In terms of when I made the decision, it was just organic for me, and it felt right at that time in my life. I had a great time styling for ten years, and it was time for me to start a family and shake things up.

Do you think your styling career has informed your design career and vice versa?
As a stylist, you understand women and their wardrobe needs. Whether it’s an artist or a more average person, how they take things from the runway and make it a reality is an interesting thing. That’s how people actually wear things, and I think that’s why there’s been so many street-style blogs. I understand the emotional connection of women getting dressed, what makes them feel good, and what they put on to say, “This makes me feel good, this is what makes me feel strong.” I think from dressing women who were not models, you understand this emotion.

You’re well known for certain looks that you dressed your clients in. Is there one that sticks out to you as your favorite red-carpet moment?
For me, there are quieter moments that might not have gotten attention like the other moments. I had access to the Valentino archives for the Oscars one year (when there was no red carpet) and dressed Jennifer Lopez in a beautiful mint green Valentino dress that [had been] worn by Jackie O. That was a majorly beautiful moment. And I worked with Fred Leighton, and we made these amazing maharaja-inspired earrings out of all platinum and diamonds.

Do you want to be remembered or regarded as a stylist or a designer? Or both?
I just want to be present. Obviously, both. Styling was a really important part of my journey, but maybe I’ll be remembered for the next thing that I do.

Andrea Incontri Tapped for Tod’s Menswear

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Andrea Incontri - Backstage - Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014Tod’s continues to amp up its ready-to-wear presence. Back in September, the leather goods company brought on Alessandra Facchinetti to design its women’s collections, and today it announced that Andrea Incontri has been hired as the label’s new creative director of menswear.

“Becoming part of a company like Tod’s is both an honor and an exciting challenge,” says Incontri. “Quality and contemporary Italian style are Tod’s values that are already part of my personal vision of the modern man. My aim is to develop them, always keeping in mind the importance of the roots of a brand with such a rich history and craftsmanship.”

Incontri has been showing his namesake men’s and women’s labels since Spring 2013, but will no doubt benefit from the global exposure of Tod’s. Incontri’s first collection for the house will be shown in Milan this Sunday, June 22.

Photo: Pier Marco Tacca / Getty Images