Well, ladies and gentleman, we are officially in Fashion Week's full swing and it seems nearly everyone I run into has that same look in their eyes: a delicate balance of frenetic excitement highlighted by flashes of panic and a healthy dose of sleep deprivation. The sheer number of events, presentations, shows and parties is too much for even the savviest of assistants to create a schedule around, let alone a road-weary editor to navigate.
Yet season after season, when the glitter-laden dust has settled, a handful of new designers are left standing (teetering, more appropriately) among the powerhouse names with which they recently kept company. What keeps them on their feet, in this writer's opinion, is a unique point of view: a trademark, aesthetic, pièce de résistance they do and do well. Ralph Lauren, for instance, is considered by many to be the epitome of classic American style, creating consistent collections that reaffirm his place in the industry (check out Gotham's exclusive NYFW cover star Clémence Poésy donning his designs in my latest story.)
Other designers like Rebecca Minkoff (whose Friday show did not disappoint) start small – hers, a simple five-piece apparel line. Four years later, she took a break to focus exclusively on handbags (who doesn’t remember the Morning After Bag?) and, now, has reincorporated apparel into her collections for a solid line-up of both accessories and ready-to-wear pieces.
In this vein, I was delighted when my good friend Amy invited me to take a tour of James Jeans' NYC showroom last week. The amazing downtown loft was filled with racks upon racks of Twiggys and Fly Boys (styles, obvs) but it wasn’t just denim that left a lasting impression. Rather, it was the brand's newest ICON collection that had me thinking about James in a different way. Menswear-inspired trousers, uber-soft basic tees, silk shorts, trenches and tuxedo jackets – all modern and edgy complements to the cult-fave denim cuts. Really, how amazing are these Jagger jeans?
James, Rebecca and Ralph are on to something: expanding a brand slowly while keeping a consistent point of view. What might be the next name we add to the list? After this week, perhaps we’ll have an answer…
The Fashion Spot's Editor-at-Large, Julie Bensman, is also the Entertainment Editor for Niche Media, whose titles include Gotham, Hamptons, Ocean Drive and LA Confidential. Closed Set is a collection of her musings on all things fashion, from an editor’s desk to your desktop.