Author Archive

Introducing: Ziggy Chen

With a penchant for natural fibers and a lived-in patina, Shanghai-born designer Ziggy Chen feels the wearer’s comfort is his highest priority.

Shanghai-born designer Ziggy Chen launched his namesake label in 2012 with the goal of crafting a line that blends modern elegance with practicality. After studying fashion in the early 1990s, Ziggy became a university lecturer on the subject of textile design. After working on the corporate side of fashion for 20 years, Ziggy gave himself permission to pursue his wildest dreams.

Ziggy produces his own custom fabrics, with a penchant for the natural fibers of wool, cotton, hemp and linen. Developing his designs from the perspective of how they will lay on the body, Ziggy feels the wearer’s comfort is his highest priority.

Ziggy is particularly interested in the lived-in patina of unpretentious antique furniture and textiles. He notes a particular fondness for both Eastern and Western clothing from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Shirking a precious notion of perfection, Ziggy explains “Much of my inspiration for patterns and details in my clothing comes from tools, pottery, textiles and furniture that have been used, deformed, and broken down over time.”

For Ziggy Chen’s latest delivery, the designer has mined ancient books and antique fabrics from his private collection — cutting and reassembling them — to create unique prints on both the interior and exterior of his pieces. By yarn-dying and over-dyeing his expertly cut fabrics, Ziggy creates highly dimensional pieces that drape beautifully on the body.

“Rather than creating clothes that make you feel like someone else — for example, when you wear something and you immediately feel like you’re a different person — I want the clothes to feel like a part of you.” 

– Ziggy Chen

The Colors of Kew Gardens

Avant Toi’s newest collection tells the story of a colorful spring garden. SS24 takes inspiration from the ambiance of Victorian England and London’s Kew Gardens.

The vibrant colors and floral motifs in Avant Toi’s designs mix the lushness of London’s Kew Gardens with the grittiness of city life. Avant Toi’s SS24 collection takes inspiration from the ambiance of Victorian England. It was the era’s reconnection with the natural world that led to the founding of spaces like Kew Gardens.

Artistic director Mirko Ghignone’s affinity with nature can be seen throughout the collection. With hues such as Camellia Red, Nigella Blue and Alchechengi Orange, the ultra-soft silk shirts and lightweight knits represent the colors of a spring garden. Silk scarves feature depictions of butterflies that float above a tangle of purple, magenta, and crimson flowers. Hand-painted with Avant Toi’s signature rebellious style, each piece tells its own color story.

Designed with Bold in Mind

One of our newest lines, Erdem, is an independent fashion label based in London.

Designer Erdem Moralıoğlu, MBE, studied at the Royal Academy of Art and interned for Vivienne Westwood before debuting his first collection in 2005. Designing at the nexus between strength and beauty, these powerful and versatile creations have garnered fans around the world.

We love the poetic and complex fabrics at the center of his designs. Much like Dries van Noten, Erdem embraces deep traditions of fabric making and then, in a minimal way, adds his own touches of modernity. The result is a timeless piece with a quiet undercurrent of forward-thinking high style.

Each collection is done in small batches. We were happy to receive a selection from Spring Summer 24 in limited quantities. We look forward to offering more from this immensely talented designer.

Erdem designs with a bold woman in mind. The inspiration behind Erdem’s SS24 collection is Deborah, the late dowager Duchess of Devonshire, and her relationship with Chatsworth House. With these new pieces, Erdem explores ideas of heritage and identity.

Working with antique textiles, including some from Chatsworth, Erdem has pieced fragments into dresses and coat linings. Like Debo, as her family called her, this collection is unselfconscious and independent. SS24 is inspired by the past and looks toward the future.

Erdem’s fashion is about emotion. Erdem cares about the stories behind each garment and how they drape on the body. This is at the heart of the brand’s ethos, “…it is not what they wear, but how they feel that matters.”

A Golden Seed

Fine gold jewelry from UK-based Sia Taylor. Using a combination of delicate chainwork and hammered gold disks, Sia presents a collection of understated elegance in 18K.

For the past fifteen years, British jewelry designer Sia Taylor has been making works of art, inspired by the natural world, in luminous gold. Taylor’s new collection A Golden Seed shows her mastery of her craft. Every piece is imbued with a sense of wonder.

The understated elegance of Sia’s work shines with the collection’s namesake: the Golden Seeds Earrings. A cluster of 18K yellow gold “seeds” dangle from a delicate gold chain. These handcrafted beads shimmer against the skin, catching the light with every movement.

An ethereal interpretation of a summer field, the Meadow necklace features miniature golden seeds, pods, leaves and petals sprinkled across the neckline.

Handcrafted by a small team of artisan jewelers in the Somerset countryside, each piece in Sia’s collection is made using traditional techniques. The leaves, petals and seeds are cut and shaped by hand. Her dots are carefully melted and hammered. With each design, Sia transforms the ephemeral into tangible moments that evoke the world around us.

An Inspirational Escape

The prints and patterns of Daniela Gregis SS24 transport us to the coast for an inspirational and idyllic escape. Alongside her signature Liberty florals, Daniela’s latest delivery centers around a selection of nautical-inspired stripes, hand-painted island vistas and calming neutrals.

In addition to her reputation as a talented designer and artist, Daniela Gregis is, first and foremost, a traveler. Within her Bergamo studio, wandering and wondering are as important to the process as painting, patterning and sewing. This balance between practicality and exploration is what makes her work so attractive. Within Daniela’s collection, find a portfolio of prints and patterns to inspire your own idyllic escape.

Stripes

Vertical stripes, particularly when rendered in tones of blue and white, bring to mind sun, surf and the pleasant tang of saltwater. This classic warm weather essential reads as slightly nautical, thanks to a crisscrossed history in both high fashion houses and navy uniforms. Daniela’s variety of choice skews on the thinner side, somewhere between a candy stripe and a bengal stripe.

Soft Neutrals

Daniela’s works often whisk us somewhere tranquil and serene. This is best exemplified within her selection of soft neutrals, in which she returns to her familiar palette of cream, sand and honey. In lightweight linen and cotton, these pieces are breezy, refined and ultra-wearable. We recommend pairing them with a favorite shoe (Daniela’s banded leather sandals are our pick) and an easy tote or basket as the weather warms.

Blue Period

Every season, Daniela presents a series of hand-painted prints alongside her signature Liberty florals. The latest from her studio is an abstract painting called Isole Drawing. Meaning “islands” in Italian, Isole is a splash of black and blue across crisp white cotton. These pieces work well on their own, but are a welcome complement to the solid black and blue pieces within this delivery.

A Zephyr of Spring Style

Adapting traditional approaches of garment design to the world of contemporary fashion, Ümit Ünal’s signature style is in the details.

Ümit Ünal is a zephyr of spring style. Adapting traditional approaches of garment design to the world of contemporary fashion, Ümit’s signature details of hand stitching and patchwork can be seen adorning the coats, shirts and dresses of his collections.

With special attention to the form and drape of his garments, Ümit makes a shimmering silk shirt edgy and fresh with a cropped cut.

Incorporating menswear features into womenswear, such as the peaked lapel, fitted shoulders and soft cotton lining of the Long Linen Duster Jacket is pure Ümit. Light and airy, the jacket is designed to take us to the spring breezes of a Turkish coastal town at dusk.

From his Istanbul studio, in a region with a long history of beautiful craftsmanship, Ümit and his small team craft each piece from natural fabrics – gauzy cotton, soft silks and intentionally crumpled linens.

Ümit commissions custom handmade feather lapel pins for the jackets and coats such as the Linen Patchwork Jacket.

“All of our pieces have a different connection with the other items from the collection like lovers or family. Some of them are like sisters or brothers. Balancing or contrasting each other. The combinations are up to you.”

– Ümit Ünal

The Art of Slow Fashion

Based in Milazzo, Asciari is a family affair. Focusing on simplified, wearable shapes, the Mazzettini family merges the rich colors and artistic heritage of Sicily with the understated aesthetics of Nordic minimalism.

To commit to slow fashion is to commit to the people and places that make it possible. With a focus on quality of textile and fabrication, these designers work from a granular level to ensure the integrity of their collections. They are closely involved in the entire process, from carefully sourcing the best textiles to hand-crafting their designs.

Often, these studios support entire communities and traditions with their work. Through this dedication, slow fashion makers produce pieces that are more precious, sustainable and lasting than their mass-market counterparts. One such endeavor is Sicily-based Asciari, a new-to-us label we are thrilled to introduce.

Based in Milazzo, Asciari is a family affair. The label was founded nearly a decade ago by brother-sister duo, Pietro and Frederica Mazzettini, alongside their mother, Marta. They describe Asciari as “a workshop of ideas and projects where heritage, lifestyle, craftsmanship and design are tightly interlaced.”

The name of their studio is derived from an archaic Sicilian word meaning “to search, to gather, to create a meeting.” In conceptualizing their collection, Pietro, Frederica and Marta bring together people and ideas alike: both the traditional, formal and classic and the contemporary, casual and innovative will find a kinship within the Asciari world.

Produced entirely within Sicily, Asciari supports the local artisanal economy while leveraging the centuries-long tradition of excellence native to Italian craft.

Focusing on simplified, wearable shapes, the Mazzettini family merges the rich colors and artistic heritage of Sicily with the understated aesthetics of Nordic minimalism. The result is timeless style based on precise silhouettes and natural textiles, such as linen and cotton.

Studios such as Asciari are truly the dreamers and doers at the heart of contemporary style. They may not be the most flashy, attention-grabbing, show-stopping houses in the industry, but their credibility goes beyond name-recognition. We are fond of slow fashion labels, for not only their intense dedication to craft, but the way they make us better as people consumers and artists ourselves.

Serene in Sage Green

The sage greens of Album di Famiglia’s new collection take us to the verdant Irish coastline, where grassy cliff sides have been shaped over time by wind and water. For over twenty years, this family business has shown their connection to nature in all they do — from natural fabrics to the special dyeing processes they use.

The sage greens of Album di Famiglia’s new collection take us to the verdant Irish coastline, where grassy cliff sides have been shaped over time by wind and water. For over twenty years, this family business has shown their connection to nature in all they do — from natural fabrics to the special dyeing processes they use.

Working with the softest of linen and their signature tissue cotton, the core pieces of this collection —the Linen Easy Coat, Relaxed Linen Blazer, and the Tissue Cotton Short Collar Shirt — feature a flattering drape that is designed to live in wherever the winds of spring may carry us.

From a renovated nineteenth century cotton mill in Lomazzo, Italy, designer Monica Rusconi uses artisan fabrics to create special small batch collections called Serie Numerata. Her studio space, like her designs, are linked to a history of weaving and innovation. This season’s Serie Numerata uses a beautiful pinstriped linen, highlighting the structure and process that goes into making this timeless fabric.

Wild Harmony

Pierre-Louis Mascia Spring/ Summer 2024. In challenging the conventional, and harmonizing it with a natural intuition for shape and color, Pierre-Louis Mascia invigorates the spring wardrobe with his one-of-a-kind style. Find in this latest delivery a selection of sweeping wrap dresses, classical shirting, pleated skirts, piano shawls and relaxed pants – the latter being a favorite style from previous seasons.

Illustrator and designer Pierre-Louis Mascia is a compositional maverick. It is not unusual to find stripes, paisleys, florals and geometrics all dancing together on one of his pieces. Contrary to what first comes to mind – our mothers warning us not to mix prints! – these disparate pairings come together in an otherworldly magic. In challenging the conventional, and harmonizing it with a natural intuition for shape and color, Pierre-Louis Mascia invigorates the spring wardrobe with his one-of-a-kind style.

Find in his Pierre-Louis’ latest delivery a selection of sweeping wrap dresses, classical shirting, pleated skirts, piano shawls and relaxed pants – the latter being a favorite style from previous seasons. There is a particular exuberance to the collection.. something pink, passionate and primal that makes us want to put it on and find a magic all our own.

Earthly Metallics

Jaga Spring/ Summer 2024. This latest delivery from designer Jaga Buyan focuses on and elevates classic metallics: silver, pewter and gold. Though gold and silver fabrics bring to mind glitz, glamour and more than a few sequins, she explores these tones without flash or embellishment. In linen and vegetable silk, she reasserts the earthy undertones native to inspiration born from soil and rock.

Fresh air, sunshine, warm nights and long-overdue sojourns to the countryside… the delights of spring are at the forefront of designer Jaga Buyan’s mind when designing her collection. Her latest delivery focuses on and elevates classic metallics: silver, pewter and gold. She explores these tones without flash or embellishment – fans of Jaga will be familiar with her sensual, low-frills approach to design. Though silver and gold fabrics bring to mind glitz, glamour (and more than a few sequins…) Jaga’s works are the opposite of ostentatious. She instead dives into the way ore-based colors can ground us, reasserting the earthy undertones native to inspiration born from soil and rock.

Silver

Jaga’s silvers consist of Sky, a bluish grey, and a pearlescent neutral called Titan. While Sky brings to mind misty mornings, there is a light touch of warmth Titan’s base – enough to interpret it as a very light taupe. This makes it an apt color to style with both light browns and a wide range of grey tones.

Pewter

Akin to rose gold and a mix between silver and copper, Jaga’s Pewter is a step warmer than the aforementioned Titan. Jaga presents this color to us solely in her lustrous rayon, a silky fabric that feels particularly cool against the skin.

Antique Gold

Jaga’s take on our favorite precious metal is called Antique Gold. It is a touch darker than contemporary interpretations of the tone, bringing to mind the burnished patina of heirloom jewelry. When cast across gently-crinkled linen, Antique Gold transforms into a caramel brown.

The Silk Canvas

Sophie Hong Spring/ Summer 2024. No one else works with textile quite the way Sophie does. Her use of material is a feast for the senses: Raw, shibori-dyed silk, gauzy mousseline, guangdong mud silks and seed pearls stitched at the collar… Just as the prolific Chinese painter Chang Dai-Chien was extolled for his grasp of “from heart to hand,” so does Sophie Hong render her own passion and sophistication in cloth.

We spend so much time immersed in the worlds of art and fashion that we take for granted the skill required of those who exist in both. Sophie Hong is one of those rare few who excels as not only a designer, but as an artist. Her works are as loved on the body as they are draped on the walls of her global exhibitions. Just as the prolific Chinese painter Chang Dai-Chien was extolled for his grasp of “from heart to hand,” so does Sophie render her own passion and sophistication in cloth.

The flow, the shapes, the grasp of color… No one else works with textile quite the way Sophie does. While we are particularly attracted to her shirting (and have sought it out for over two decades), we also find a particular ease within her dresses, pants and scarves. Her use of material is a feast for the senses: Raw, shibori-dyed silk, gauzy mousseline, guangdong mud silks and seed pearls stitched at the collar… You need little to dress up a Sophie piece – it’s already perfect on its own.

Cobalt & Chartreuse

Rundholz Black Label SS24. The cure for a wet weather spring? 10 CCs of Black Label brights, stat! Cast in a punchy palette of Chili (a rich red), Azur (a deep cobalt) and Sun (a bright chartreuse), this delivery has arrived just in time to revive the senses.

So long dreary days, early dusks, and wet weather… Hello fresh air, dandelions and sunscreen! Just in from the indomitable Rundholz studio, the perfect cure for any lingering spring blues: Rundholz Black Label in all its punchy, playful glory. Cast in a palette of Chili (a rich red), Azur (a deep cobalt) and Sun (a bright chartreuse), this delivery has arrived just in time to revive the senses.

Black Label’s silhouettes are no fuss – the collection as a whole is made for throwing on and making a move as quickly as possible. Pullover tops, pull-on pants, A-line dresses and easy tees built for layering… a treat for days that call for equal parts fun and freedom. As is designers Carsten and Lenka Rundholz’s intention, the garments lean more streamlined than their DIP and Main Line counterparts to serve this goal.

One of the best parts of this delivery is not only the contrast of color (chartreuse and cobalt.. what an energetic combination!), but the contrast of fabrics. Textural cottons and linens appear across the offering alongside a lightweight, washable vegetable silk in the pants and shirting – the latter of which is delightfully unexpected for a spring fabric.

The Perfect Balance

Gold and diamond jewelry from Berkeley’s April Higashi. Her inspiration can be found in the landscapes of her Bay Area home: brown diamonds an echo of coastal soil, verdant emeralds akin to the rain-soaked Muir Woods, and deep-sea black coral as rich as the night sky.

Inspired by the “inexhaustible beauty of the natural world,” jeweler April Higashi strikes the perfect balance between earthiness and elegance. Her high karat pieces are infused with the influence of her Bay Area home: brown diamonds an echo of coastal soil, verdant emeralds akin to the rain-soaked Muir Woods, and deep-sea black coral as rich as the night sky. Based in Berkeley, April brings twenty years of experience as a contemporary jeweler, curator, artist and gallery owner.

The textures in April’s gold are intended to reveal the fingerprint of the maker. The gold used in her practice is more pure and softer than lower karat varieties – a deliberate choice that ensures the pieces will assume a unique history and character through wear.

April works in a combination of natural, raw and rose-cut stones. She seeks gems with a specific, distinguished character, including impeccable gems cast off during the cutting process of larger diamonds.

“I first met April Higashi twenty years ago, around the time I opened my first store, Shoka, in Berkeley. Her style has remained, to me, the perfect balance of classic, modern and organic. This is a rare, long-lasting aesthetic. It, by nature, ensures the pieces will remain wearable for decades to come.”

– Shobhan

The Contemporary Diamond

White diamonds stud a wearable night sky at the TAP by Todd Pownell studio, where designers Todd and Debra Pownell reverse-set their stones to reveal the pavilion rather than the crown. This rare presentation harnesses a higher light refraction, increasing the “fire” within the stone. Each piece they create is an intimate constellation forged in hammered gold.

When seeking inspiration, designers Todd and Debra Pownell often look skyward. The velvet glow of dusk, the sensual clarity of the moon, a wash of gold as morning breaks… These astral phenomena are captured upon the jeweler’s bench at the TAP by Todd Pownell studio. White diamonds punctuate this wearable night sky, an intimate constellation forged in hammered gold and oxidized silver.

In opposition to traditional jewelry tenets, Todd and Debra reverse-set their stones to reveal the pavilion rather than the crown. This rare presentation harnesses a higher light refraction, increasing the “fire” within the stone. The culet, the peaked tip of a faceted gem, points upward when seated this way – a contemporary evolution of the timeless diamond.

TAP’s chosen gold karat, 18K, serves both form and function. In addition to being sturdier for everyday wear, the subdued tone of this karat plays well with the blackened finish of the oxidized silver. Rather than sit in contrast, this palette forges a harmony between the disparate metals.

“I have been one acquainted with the night.”

– Robert Frost. The evocative poetry of Frost serves as another source of inspiration for the TAP team.

A Farewell of Gratitude

Announced this past March, Dries Van Noten has chosen to step down as his brand’s creative director after the completion of the current collection.

We experienced this news in equal parts sadness and gratitude. We have carried Dries Van Noten for over a decade and have been honored to do so. His thirty-eight years of intense work and dedication have culminated in a vision, and fashion house, like no other.

Dries is one of the most genius, inventive minds of our time. His pieces are and continue to be deeply collectible. Through a careful balance of taste and tenacity, he pushed the boundaries of how we dress, think and ideate. No one else harnesses the same intense, creative force… and it is unlikely that anyone else will be able to do it just like Dries can.

Not only has Dries been remarkable as a designer, but he is a singular person supporting entire communities of patternmakers, tailors, gardeners and other like-minded visionaries across the world. He is part of a rarified breed of artists who drive whole villages, towns and cities to be prosperous, more beautiful places through his work.

Other designers in this same realm of impact include Riccardo Bruni of House of LyriaUma Wang, Aneeth Arora of PéroCarsten RundholzDaniela Gregis and many other designers we are lucky to count among our friends and colleagues. For this, and much more, Dries Van Noten sets the bar.

For all you have done for us, and the indelible mark you have left on the world of fashion, we thank you Dries.

xoxo Shobhan & the Team

“Like in a garden, you decide what to plant; and at some point, it continues to flourish.”

– Dries, regarding the next generation of the DVN story.

Cashmere Landscape

Transitional knitwear from Zurich-based Frenckenberger. Designers Terry-Ann Frencken and Nathalie Berger inform their designs with the breathtaking landscapes of their native Switzerland. Their aesthetic ethos focuses on simplified, figure-first silhouettes, lightweight, breathable layers and butter-soft, Mongolian cashmere yarns.

There are a handful of things to prioritize when picking a great knit. It should be crafted durably and made to weather environment and activity alike. Its shape ideally skews on the relaxed side while still flattering the form. And most importantly, it should be nothing short of delightful against the skin (whatever your particular definition of delightful may be.) For Frenckenberger, designers Terry-Ann Frencken and Nathalie Berger interpret these tenets as such: simplified, figure-first silhouettes, lightweight, breathable layers and butter-soft, Mongolian cashmere yarns that sing against the skin.

Based in Zurich, Terry and Nathalie inform their designs with the breathtaking landscapes of their native Switzerland. To the south, the pair immerse themselves within the Alps’ sprawling forests, crystalline lakes and ashen rock capped with snow. To the north they meet an idyll of rolling green hills, timbered villages and lush wildflower meadows. From this natural muse, their palette turns earthy: pine green, snow white and rich black tones that work across a broad range of styles.

The shapes presented in Frenckenberger skew classical but sporty. With straight cut bodies and tightly knit finishes, they are as fine a fit for a morning at the market as they are for an afternoon hike. This is ultimately cashmere made to withstand its environment… whether that be the nip that comes with temperamental spring weather or the chilly drop in temperature found beneath a mountain’s shadow.

The Wistful Wanderer

Bergfabel Spring/ Summer 2024. Explore the dreamy, nostalgic vision of designer Klaus Plank, rendered in fine linen and crisp Japanese cotton. This delivery is particularly lighthearted, defined by pastels such as Water, Almond and Melon, as well as a handful of dark chocolate-colored jackets and pants.

A rustling breeze through lush alpine grass, smooth cobblestones beneath soft leather shoes, the scent of baking bread and strong espresso as you wander down to the market… This is the dreamy vision spun by designer Klaus Plank and his partner, Barbara Cavalli. Within their small studio in South Tyrol, the two craft Bergfabel – a distinctly Italian line that merges the contemporary with the nostalgic.

Rendered in fine linen and crisp Japanese cotton, this delivery is defined by pastels such as Water, Almond and Melon. The sweetness of this palette is tempered by the inclusion of dark, chocolate-colored pants and jackets. While Klaus and Barbara typically opt for a relaxed body in their shirting, the overall collection skews fitted.

Tucked within every Bergfabel garment is a small sachet of lavender. This tangible memento calls back to Klaus’s childhood – his mother often hung similar pouches among her clothing as part scent, part natural moth protection. Today, Klaus harvests the lavender from the same home garden his mother once did. The buds are gathered within a small piece of scrap fabric from the production of the collection. A little piece of South Tyrol, press on the sachet for a brief herbal escape or stow within your wardrobe as a pleasurable aegis.