Above are three gorgeous dresses we're featuring in our June print issue, each of which do an artful job of incorporating leather into a summer wardrobe. From left, they're by Gemma Kahng (Tootsies, $2,185) Yigal Azrouël, (Atrium Ready to Wear, $995) and Erin Fetherston (Sam and Lilli, $390). In our print issue, we transposed the descriptions of the first two, mixing up two designers whose work couldn't be more different. A mistake for which we're very sorry leaves us with one silver lining: the opportunity to discuss these two designers and their nonconformist, controversy-courting success stories.
Gemma Kahng, creator of that stunning laser-cut number on the left, was a 90's sensation—dressing Sharon Stone and Madonna, among others. (Remember this rumpless romper? That was her.) She fell into obscurity about the same time people started ripping the shoulder pads out of their blouses, and is now riding a huge comeback. No small part of that comeback was this show at Fashion Houston, at which you can see the same aesthetic so prominent in the dress above, all those bold expressive cut-outs and whimsical, almost doll-like shapes.
Yigal Azrouël is an Israeli born and raised designer of French Moroccan descent who has risen to prominence with three New York stores and a number of killer lines, including a menswear collection. He's often mentioned along with a few PR bloopers (we feel you, Yigal!), as when he fired his publicist for allowing the sex worker who brought down Eliot Spitzer to sit in the front row of his show, or when he sent Andre Leon Talley to the CFDA awards in this turban. But he's revered for his drapey, flowey feminine shapes, seen in his eponymous label as well as his more affordable line, Cut 25. He's also a master of the tough/feminine thing, a look you see in his floral dress with lambskin seaming above, as well as in this masterful cut-out silk organza and lambskin leather jacket.
There aren't many designers whose work you can truthfully say leaves you on the edge of your seat, takes huges risks, leaves you desperate to see what will come down the runway next. So we're especially sorry to have mixed up these two. We're hooked, which means we'll be back to Tootsies to see the latest Gemma Kahng, and Atrium for the very latest Yigal Azrouël. And we'll share what we find here, on Shop Talk.