It seemed like not so long ago that Colombian-born designer Esteban Cortazar was at the helm of Emanuel Ungaro. His highly received three seasons at the fledgling fashion house were almost as notorious as the controversy that surrounded him. Cortazar was the first to refuse to work with Lindsay Lohan when the brand suggested she sign on as a celebrity “creative consultant”, a move that later sealed the label’s doom and eventual bankruptcy. Despite Cortazar’s accurate predictions that Lohan’s involvement would be disastrous, he was fired by the label and since 2009, has remained under the fashion radar.
But now, to our surprise and delight, it seems Cortazar will be making a comeback by way of Net-a-Porter. The online luxury retailer has teamed up with the designer to exclusively sell his reinvented eponymous label with a 17-look collection. “It’s a first for us, being involved from the very inception,” said Holli Rogers, fashion director at Net-a-Porter told WWD. Rogers said the retailer worked closely with the designer on each stage of the collection’s development.
Cortazar was lauded for reinvigorating the Ungaro label, finding a neat balance between the line’s signature red carpet glamour and a more modern, youthful dynamic. On his time at Ungaro, Rogers took note of Cortazar’s gowns. “They did well and that’s why we were so upset he was no longer designing there,” she added. “It felt very fresh and very young.” Comparatively, she refers to Cortazar’s new designs as sophisticated, “very clean and beautifully cut.”
Cortazar’s collection, retailing from about $270 for a top up to $2,760 for a coat, spans things that can be bought to wear in the heat of summer and “layering pieces” that can transition into the fall. In his own words, Cortazar described the new collection as “definitely sexy, but in quite a minimal way.” References include painter Nicola Samori and architect Ricardo Bofill. Look for Esteban Cortazar’s triumphant return and exciting new venture in fashion when his exclusive collection for Net-a-Porter drops on July 11.
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