Magazine article Newsweek

The Future? It's All Sewn Up. Fashion Marches on. Meet HOT YOUNG DESIGNERS with Cachet-If Not Cash

Magazine article Newsweek

The Future? It's All Sewn Up. Fashion Marches on. Meet HOT YOUNG DESIGNERS with Cachet-If Not Cash

Article excerpt

Byline: Susannah Meadows

For all its supposed sophistication, the fashion industry is a lot like a beauty pageant. Girls twinkle across stages in evening gowns and swimwear. Judges lick their chops. When it's over, most of the designers have to take their clothes and go home, the crown--in the form of financial backing--having eluded them.

Next year's contenders are making timeless clothes with personal details--an inventive bell or whistle here and there--rather than falling back on retro styles. Most important, women feel pretty in them. While these designers hope for the funding that it takes to survive, they sell $4,000 suits at boutiques and important stores with men's names (Barneys, Jeffrey). Still working out of their apartments or tiny studios, the designers fuss over the sashay of ribbons or the hand-dying of the fabric. Esteban Cortazar flew his father in from Colombia to paint female figures on white leather. Liz Collins, who fuses knits to cotton, draws her labels on with a marker because customers crave her touch. Benjamin Cho calls his style "Cho C. …

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