Eleven Designers To Know Now

Because all of your stylish friends will know them this time next year

Alexander McQueen’s inventive and often otherworldly legacy lives on in his former student Alon Livné, who is perhaps best known for his custom gowns. Forget anything dull and demure—the offbeat fabrics and unexpected cutouts of his designs have combined into the kind of thrillingly futuristic dresses you would wear to a tea party on Mars. His previous spring 2014 collection made use of vinyl; his willingness to work with unusual fabrics comes from his time at McQueen, where they handled everything from “rubber to flamingo feathers.” However, the upcoming fall 2014 collection is more likely to transport viewers back in time to the Nile in the 1920s. Mr. Livné says it will be somewhat more muted, featuring shades of amethyst, gray and blue and use beads to create river-like patterns, for which he has adapted a sewing technique. The inspiration comes from “the 1920s illustrator Erté, the furniture of Les Lalanne and a lot of ancient Eastern pictorial representations.”
If Carine Roitfeld was still running Vogue Paris, Fleur du Mal is the brand you would see on the cover. It has few rivals for subversive sexiness—a sensibility that may be owing to Ms. Zuccarini’s background as a designer for Kiki de Montparnasse and Victoria’s Secret. Fleur du Mal began as a lingerie brand, though Ms. Zuccarini notes, “Through my experience, I felt my niche was somewhere between the two, how lingerie inspires ready-to-wear and vice versa.” Today, its ready-to-wear line (which shares many of the same fabrics with the lingerie collection) boasts classic erotic-chic pieces like leather skirts and transparent black blouses. However, the strain of artful provocation runs through even the items where you might least expect to see it—say, a jumpsuit made out of transparent black lace or a delicately embroidered dress inspired by Blade Runner.
This team believes fashion should be for every man. Accordingly, you’re as likely to see Alex Mill worn by the person next to you on the 6 train as a GQ editor. The clothes Alex Mill produces are understated, relaxed classics, with subtle details including selected buttons and special stitching. Drexler explains, “For us, it's all about keeping it simple and straightforward for the guy. We feel guys don't want to decide in the morning if you want a skinny, straight or boxy fit of a shirt or T-shirt or pant. They don't want to overthink it. They just want the shirt, the T-shirt and the pant. They want it simple and uniform-based.” Their shirts are even one fit, to maximize the sense of simplicity.
Last week, with her first show at Lincoln Center, Georgine Ratelband officially stepped into the spotlight. She considered this a “to be or not to be moment,” so it is appropriate that the collection draws from themes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The flowers are a bit off-color, and black piping often runs through them to represent a strain of snake-like darkness creeping into a garden. The neoprene fabrics are broken in a way reminiscent of shattered glass. It’s a surprising turn for a designer whose work in past years has been compared to that of Ralph Lauren. Ratelband notes, “Maybe people think we’re a bit off in some of the things we do. I think it’s important to be true to yourself. When you approach things from a real perspective, people embrace it.”
Who says being comfortable can’t be glamorous? Not Cecilia de Sola and Karla Martinez, the designers behind Piamita’s loungewear, which is relaxed enough to wear on your couch and glamorous enough to wear to a cocktail party (being able to do both is the whole point, notes Karla.) “We wanted the line to be very versatile,” she adds. “The main thing was to be able to change the look just by wearing a pair of heels. I think that’s why people like it: You can have one girl who wears it on a date and another who wears it to travel.”
Rachel Antonoff’s designs are often mislabeled vintage. The designer explains, “The line started out with more vintage-type silhouettes, and now I mostly don’t think it is. The word I usually use is ‘silly.’ The clothes have a sense of humor and are definitely to be worn to have fun in.” They could also be described as nostalgic. Imagine not what a teen might have worn in 1970s New York but what you’d like to have worn if you were a teen in 1970s New York who happened to be a member of the Royal Tenenbaums or, in the case of Ms. Antonoff’s upcoming collection, a character in Shockproof Sydney Skate. The sense of whimsy is evident in all of the pieces, from the electric blue and emerald green trench coats to the shorts initialed “PJ” (after a friend, Ms. Antonoff explains, not pajamas).
Is there a more well-liked group of designers in New York than the team behind Timo Weiland? Fans of its wardrobes for both men and women range from Chloë Sevigny to Kristian Laliberte (who introduced the trio). Its streetwear-inspired designs have appeared at Downtown hot spots. Eckstein is a deejay, and it seems appropriate that the brand outfit the next generation of rock stars. But Mr. Weiland notes that the upcoming collection is a meditation: “Day-tripping. We really looked at upstate New York. There’s a huge modern contemporary art community up there and also beautiful geography and musical history. There’s something about the ’60s that always plays into what we do.”

Start making room in your closet now.

Stop sitting around watching Project Runway to learn about up-and-coming designers. At Fashion Week, you only needed to look at who the crowds were wearing to see who’s hot. Just look at what they’ve got planned for next year.

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