Among the big names at fashion week—and the near 200 shows taking place there—it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Especially for new designers. In an already overexposed market, it’s difficult to carve out a unique spot. This season, however, three young labels have continued to amass a following that proves that they too have discovered their spot in the industry.
Although still under-the-radar when it comes to the general public, 28-year-old Rosie Assoulin (who was named one of Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in Art & Style) has already garnered a cult-like following within the fashion industry. She’s a favorite and close friend of ‘Man Repeller’ blogger Leandra Medine, fashion editor Taylor Tomassi-Hill (and many of her former Moda Operandi colleagues), and most recently, supermodel Lily Aldridge, who wore a white, billowing strapless gown by the designer to New York’s amFAR gala. Despite her youth and recent introduction to the industry (the designer introduced her debut collection for Resort 2013), Assoulin has found her niche in the market: producing sophisticated evening wear, cocktail dresses, and tailored suits, skills that could take, for even the most experienced designer, years to develop. For her Fall/Winter 2014 presentation, Assoulin showed a collection that was the right balance of structure and drapery, brightness and neutrality in an intimate space at Industria Superstudio in the Meatpacking District. Continuing to push her own creative boundaries, Assoulin presented a mix of daywear and evening gowns to create a collection that she described as somewhere “between the romantically fantastical and reliably practical.” The first look, a gold velvet crop top with a pair of yellow balloon pants that resembled a set of bananas, was the perfect indicator of Assoulin’s draping and voluminous shapes. The mix that followed—a structured grey wool coat, a cream cashmere sweats set, an army green tailored suit—were everything the Rosie girl needs and wanted to be.
Like Assoulin, Wes Gordon has a penchant for making women look—and feel—beautiful. “For Fall 2014, I challenged myself to combine clean, crisp lines with textural depth,” Gordon said of his collection. “This collection is modern but not sterile, blending feminine and masculine silhouettes.” Gordon, who showed in runway format for the first time, maintained his modern and sophisticated aesthetic through standout pieces that included a powder blue coat with a fur collar, silky dresses layered underneath oversized cardigans, and a long-sleeve flowing cream dress with a plunging neckline that opened the 27-year-old’s show. Between the rich color palette—which included deep maroon, icy blue, and burnt orange—and the variety of textures—silk, satin, chiffon—Gordon, who has now become a favorite of January Jones, Lena Dunham, and Katy Perry, is no longer just for the red-carpet ladies. Now, he’s for the cool, downtown lady too.
The coolest downtown chicks, however, walked the runway at Timo Weiland. Recent graduates of the CFDA Incubator Program, designers Timo Weiland, Alan Eckstein, and Donna Kang are a triple threat in terms of comfortable, wearable designs—which is a rare product during fashion week. The collection was part school girl-gone-bad, part rock n’ roll, with pleated skirts, uniform-style jumpers and frocks, and shearling-meets-leather jackets parading down the runway.
It’s clear that the Timo girl—along with the Rosie and Wes girls—are strong. And, probably a result of the designers’ ages—they’re young and fearless.