The all-black-and-white line contains leggings, a black skirt, a lace top and lace trench that the designer road-tested herself while traveling. Other than the weekend pieces, she just brought jeans, heels and her Converse high-tops, she says.
The look created by designer Im Jung Jung's debut line Theonne (pronounced Thee-O-nee) is, in a word, slouchy. Not paper-bag-shapeless slouchy, but an easy, effortless slouch inspired by menswear, a genre of fashion Jung references constantly. "I look at men's fashion books and magazines for inspiration," says Jung, who previously held design posts at Tse, Cynthia Rowley and BCBG. "There's just so much attention to detail with the way men's clothes are designed and constructed."
She's managed to tweak traditional ideas of menswear (think suit pants and double-breasted blazers) by cropping, pleating and cinching silhouettes so pieces drape on the body without overwhelming it.
Jung balances proportions so that even though most of her pieces are slouchy, there is always some element cut smaller for contrast. An arm on a knit sweater may be tighter, or a coat shorter than expected, for instance.
From her time at Tse, Jung picked up a knack for knits and has introduced plenty of knitwear into her collection. For this fall (her first collection) she uses an understated palette of gray, ivory, navy and dusty pink to create basic knits with eye-catching details. For example, a single large cable-knit braid embellishes the front of a gray crew-neck sweater, and diagonal lines run through an oatmeal-colored tunic, in both cases adding subtle but effective texture to staple pieces.
"This line is great for our customer because they want something that feels special with interesting details but is also very wearable," says Gail Satin, owner of Magnolia boutique in Calabasas, which will be carrying Theonne starting in November. "Theonne is classic and on trend without being too trendy. The price point is another attractive aspect."
For spring 2012, Jung has reinterpreted her slouchy pants as silk shorts with cummerbund waist detail, and knitwear comes in the form of basic cardigans done in highlighter shades such as bright yellow and purple.
Theonne's draped silhouettes and shapeless pieces that are meant to be tucked or cinched in by the wearer may seem intimidating. But the key is in the layering and pairing different fabric weights together while maintaining proportions. Done right, the result isn't just slouchy, but sexy and slouchy.
Theonne is priced from $108 for a T-shirt, around $268 for sweaters and about $348 for blazers at stores including Magnolia, 23675 Calabasas Road, Calabasas.
Six years ago, while her peers were cramming for tests or out late at raging frat parties, designer Meredith Fisher was fulfilling orders for Barneys and Lane Crawford out of her USC dorm room.
The designer started her first clothing line, Wayf — an acronym for "where are you from" — at just 18, making a couple of styles of silk dresses that retailers around the globe picked up.
"I kept all the sales orders under my bed," says the now-23-year-old of her college design days. Fisher shuttered her Wayf line in 2009, and launched her new label, Charles Henry, in fall 2010.
The line is a girlie and whimsical collection of mostly silk dresses and blouses. Skirts are on the short side, catering to young women around Fisher's age, but the designs and color palette are consistently sophisticated.
"The girl who's buying Charles Henry likes to get dressed up and go to parties," says Kristen Hans, manager of Madison boutique's flagship location on 3rd Street. "And everything is very versatile. We had a long chiffon gown that sold really well. Some women wore it casual with flats, and some wore it to weddings."
Fisher has had a focus on fashion design since she was 12, asking her mother for a sewing machine and sewing lessons in her hometown of Louisville, Ky. "I couldn't find anything I wanted to wear," Fisher says. So she took matters into her own hands and began making her own clothes.
"I think my parents thought [sewing] would be a fleeting thing for me, like tennis or field hockey," she says. They certainly don't think that now. Fisher's Wayf line lasted for three years; her current line is slowly but surely making its way into top retailers, and Charles Henry has deals to make a few exclusive items for Anthropologie and, for the holidays, for Shopbop.com.
Charles Henry ranges from around $250 for a silk blouse to $350 for a silk dress and is available at several retailers including Madison, 8745 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles.