FA2L is for anyone who cares about beautiful things–clothing, shoes, accessories, home furnishings–and the interconnected tribes of those who make, sell, market and desire them. If something speaks to you, buy it now or hold your peace: there are links in each story, so the item you want is just a click away. I'd like to hear from you, too: please view my profile, use the email button and send me your comments.MG

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring Forward

The roller coaster of economic uncertainty hurtles on, but so does the calendar: here comes March, with its first hints of Spring. Some of the collections previewed last year will never see the light of day (consumer confidence apparently having settled near an all-time low), but there are still plenty of people who want, or need, new clothes. Many of their purchases will be practical (interview suits, anyone?), or strictly governed by price. The fashion consumer, however, will always be looking for something else. Something special. Something he hasn't seen before.

Which means, despite loud evidence to the contrary, that it's potentially a great time to be a new designer. Challenging, yes; difficult, obviously. But a young designer with a strong point of view can grab the attention of an audience that's hungry for change.

We're placing bets on
Hisham Oumlil, from Casablanca, whose resume reads like a Who's Who in High Fashion. Before opening his own New York design house in 2005, he worked for Krizia, Versace, Hermès (overseeing a division of John Lobb shoes), and Loro Piana (where he injected the custom business with jolts of youthful style). His Spring '09 collection was infused with light and color, and full of clever twists on respectable classics like this trench coat with a toggle closure. Fall '09, an hommage to the movie, There Will Be Blood, was even stronger, with handsome shoes and boots made by Jean-Michel Cazabat. Asked to summarize his aesthetic, Oumlil replied "I am definitely inspired by the quality and finesse of Italian tailoring [the head of his atelier is a 3rd-generation Roman tailor], and the French style which I grew up with. However, what inspires me most is the American sensibility I've come to see, feel and appreciate as a newcomer." French style, Italian craftsmanship and American ease. Gentlemen, start your wardrobes.