A Match Made in Heaven

April 30, 2006 • Magazine

A Match Made in Heaven

A Match Made in Heaven

Mon, 2006-05-01 02:00

Andra Naylor

Last time you checked in with me I was writing about designer collaboration in the athletic arena. This week I’m exploring other fashion collaborations — in jewelry, handbags, apparel and footwear — that pump up everyday brands.

It seems like everywhere you look brands are pairing up with guest designers to tap into the wealth of creative talent. Designer collaborations keep fashion fresh and current, and often result in sell-out success. One of the most famous collaborations recently was Louis Vuitton’s partnership with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. His colorful and playful designs met cult-like status and are still being copied across the world.

Often, the most exciting collaborations involve a designer and brand from two entirely different industries. Tiffany & Co. recently added a new collaborator to their roster – innovative architect Frank Gehry, who follows in the footsteps of Italian jewelry designer Elsa Peretti and Pablo Picasso’s daughter, fashion designer Paloma Picasso.

The Frank Gehry Collection combines juxtapositions of shapes, forms and angles, reflecting Gehry’s lifelong passion. My favorite piece is the agate, cachalong and 18K black gold-striking bracelet with its charged lines and crisp edges, aptly named Torque. Equally unique is Gehry’s “Fishâ€? line, which includes rare and exotic woods such as acacia and ebony. Available in select stores and online at www.tiffany.com this summer.

French handbag brand Lesportsac has two new collaborations — one with the New York-based Brazilian artist who goes by the pseudonym “assume vivid astro focusâ€? and with Tokidoki, an apparel brand that features the cute, playful and sexy designs of Italian artist Simone Legno. These collections succeed the successful partnership between Lesportsac and Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. brand.

For those of you who can’t get enough cashmere, Italian brand Lutz & Patmos features annual guest designers. The last few years have welcomed alliances with Sofia Coppola and Christy Turlington, and the 2006 chosen designer is Carine Roitfeld: editor-in-chief of French Vogue, fashion extraordinaire and personal hero of mine. The limited-edition sweater designed by Roitfeld is a 100% cashmere slim fit crew with elbow patches and engineered runs for a worn look. Available on www.satineboutique.com.

I’m a big fan of Rock and Republic denim so I was curious about its collaboration with Spice Girl/wife of David/fashion designer Victoria Beckham. My favorite is her Madrid Jean, a sexy European cut with hand-applied shredding, distressing, and paint splatters for a unique, vintage-glam edge. Other Victoria styles are the London Crown and the Roth. Available at www.eluxury.com.

This year has also seen the comeback of Keds. Our beloved footwear brand of the ‘80s is revitalizing its image with Mischa Barton as its new face and a collaboration with NYC fashion designer Zero Maria Cornejo. Cornejo’s skimmer silhouettes combine runway fashion with casual kicks. I love the blue jaquard and ballet flats, available at www.keds.com.

I was surprised at last year’s collaboration between mass comfort brand Easy Spirit and outspoken Tara Subkoff of fashion-forward Imitation of Christ. An unlikely pair, Easy Spirit by Tara Subkoff offers a hip take on casual. I like the Holis, offered in a variety of colors (www.easyspirit.com). The idea of marrying high fashion with comfortable footwear is a hit, but most of the styles just don’t do it for me.

Nine West has also caught the designer bug, announcing recently that it has invited Vivienne Westwood, Thakoon and Sophia Kokosalaki to design for the firm. Each designer was given free reign in designing 11 designs, which include footwear, handbags, ready-to-wear and accessories. Vivienne Westwood’s collection will launch first on September 1st and will include playful interpretations of her signature tartans, as well as gladiator boots and tiny cardigans.

Stay tuned for future collaborations and the fresh and fun pieces they offer!

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