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July 30 2014

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Esteban Cortazar Is Back With a “Show Now, Wear Now” Concept

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Esteban Cortazar caused a sensation when he landed on the New York catwalks back in 2002. His very first collection was snapped up by Bloomingdale’s, and he found himself face-to-face with Oprah, the youngest designer ever, at 18, to stage a fashion show. Fast-forward twelve years (which included a brief stint at Emanuel Ungaro) and Cortazar is angling for the headlines again. This time the news is the manner in which he’s presenting his expanded eponymous range.

For two seasons, he distributed his collection strictly through Net-a-Porter. Now, with new investors, London’s MH Luxe, behind him, he’s got Barneys and The Webster signed on, too. Those stores have already previewed his Spring collection (normally seen in September and October) and placed orders that he’s currently in the midst of producing. Come Paris fashion week, he’ll present the collection to the press, and, as he puts it, “the first drops will start right after [the show] at the beginning of October. When all the communications start happening, the client can know she can have it right away.” (The collection, which ranges from a molded saddle leather top to a soft T-shirt with a good yard of fringe circling the hem and includes more traditional tailoring, is designed to be trans-seasonal.)

Fashion has been griping for years about the lag time between runway shows and store deliveries. “Why not do something that speaks to the future?” Cortazar asks. “It doesn’t make sense anymore to show a collection that won’t be in stores for six months—the momentum and the desire dissipate. Everyone likes to see everything instantly now, but [up until now] no one’s been able to buy instantly.” Will other designers follow Cortazar’s lead? If they do, the trickle-down effect could be huge for traditional fashion magazines, which need production time of their own to turn around new issues. But he reports that buyers “are responding in a really positive way.”

Style.com debuts a video about the project exclusively here.