4 posts tagged "Nili Lotan"
I first fell for Nili Lotan when I came across a navy ribbed sweater she designed, its weight and fit a perfect mix of chunky and snug. Other fans are attracted to her easy silk halter dress; at $495, it’s her best seller at Barneys. Still more love the Israeli-American designer’s army fatigues. Lotan has specialized in refined essentials—the kind of things you might see customers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianne Moore wearing at school drop-off or on the beach in the Hamptons—since launching her label more than a dozen years ago. After growing out of her Duane Street space earlier this year (it houses a retail shop and her atelier), Lotan picked up another space nearby at 48 Walker Street to house a showroom in the back and a concept store up front. Inspired By, as she’s named the place, will stock a continuously rotating selection of vintage finds alongside Lotan’s own creations. Think of it as a permanent pop-up shop. When the store opens for business this Thursday, the racks will be lined with vintage military tanks and jackets, jewelry, and accessories personally sourced by Lotan; art and photography books; and even an original painting by Miriam Cabessa. But not for long—neighborhood types have been knocking on the door since she started moving in.
Nili Lotan‘s Spring ’14 presentation drew a unique crowd. Performers, fashion editors, and dance enthusiasts gathered inside the designer’s Tribeca showroom last night for a fashion-meets-dance mash-up. Lotan worked with choreographers Lee Sher and Saar Harari of the LeeSaar dance company to stage a performance that would capture the essence of her Spring looks. Dancers performed right in the middle of Lotan’s showroom, wearing fluid, body-skimming pieces from the new collection. “I feel that the combination of two different arts—dance and fashion—make it stronger than just a regular runway,” Lotan told Style.com. “It kind of grew into this concept of introducing the language of my design, my aesthetics, and my entire world,” she added. “I had to pick pieces that really conveyed the essence of what I do.”
When asked about the concept behind the choreography, Sher offered: “We were just inspired by Nili and who she is. When we met with her, we realized there were a lot of similarities in our approaches to art, and we started this process of mixing her collection and the dance.” The resulting performance was sensual and raw, yet undeniably feminine. And it’s no coincidence that the same could be said about Lotan’s designs. “There are certain words that I repeat when I describe my work—minimal, pure, explosive, sexy,” said Lotan. “And all of this is coming through in the dance in a very strong way.”
Specializing in wardrobe staples cut from beautiful fabrics, Nili Lotan has always taken a laid-back yet sophisticated approach to dressing. Since launching her namesake line in 2003, the Israeli-born designer has grown her business organically (no presentations, no publicity gimmicks), but things have recently been heating up at her Tribeca boutique/studio space. In November, Lotan became a new member of the CFDA, and last week, the designer showed her debut pre-fall collection. The latest lineup is a sampling of Lotan’s greatest hits, including long slipdresses cut on the bias from sumptuous charmeuse, slouchy cropped trousers with a slight drop crotch, and perfect silk blouses. Lotan’s use of color here—the aforementioned items came in vibrant shades of chartreuse, burgundy, and petunia pink—was a refreshing departure from her usual black-and-white palette. “Black-and-white has always been my world, but I can relate to these colors because they have the same level of urban sophistication. Burgundy is looking like the new black right now,” she told Style.com at a preview. “At the end of the day, I only create things that I would wear or can really appreciate.”
The unbridled enthusiasm of J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler for the purveyors of goods he admires is well-documented. New York designer Nili Lotan (above) witnessed it firsthand when Drexler came down to her airy but unassuming Tribeca store-cum-studio a few months ago at the suggestion of mutual friends. “I loved his energy and spontaneity,” says Lotan. “He came in and was like, ‘Wow! Wow!’ for an hour.”
“Wow” led to a deal, and Lotan is now the latest designer to stock her wares—like slouchy, stripey linen sweaters ($218) and maxi shirtdresses ($235, left)—on jcrew.com and a few of its brick-and-mortar stores, as the newest addition to the retailer’s In Good Company program. The sweaters and dresses are said to be on point for selling out, and the four other pieces in this first delivery—two colors of cropped jeans with a bias-cut fly ($260), a washed-cotton military jacket ($555), and a creamy-hued loose-weave knit ($218)—are also moving quite quickly. The team at J.Crew has already reordered for summer and picked their merch for Fall. Though Lotan’s barely been on the site and in stores for two weeks, it’s all starting to make Drexler’s very direct question to Lotan at the time—”How come nobody knows about you?”—a moot point. To ensure that mootness, however, Drexler’s team also put together a feature on the Israeli-born designer, who got her education in solid American sportswear at Nautica and Ralph Lauren before starting to peddle her coolly tailored take on utilitarian chic in 2003.
For her part, Lotan is ready for a potential upgrade from cult to household-name status by relaunching a much sturdier Web site and e-commerce platform to go live at the end of the month. “It’s very exciting,” she says of her new partnership. “I wasn’t under the radar because I was shy or because I thought I didn’t deserve it, I just wanted it to take its time to get there when it needed to get there.”
Nili Lotan is available at Lotan’s own shop, 188 Duane Street, NYC, 212-219-8794, and at www.j.crew.com.