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New York Fashion Week: Gregory Parkinson

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Los Angeles designer Gregory Parkinson has been on a roll. Last year, he was a finalist for the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. In January, First Lady Michelle Obama wore one of his skirts on a trip to Hawaii. And last month, he was handpicked by the CFDA to be part of a group of six American designers showing in Paris this season. (Prabal Gurung and L.A.'s George Esquivel are also part of the group.)

Parkinson also has a collaboration collection with Anthropologie coming up in February. And for anyone who suggests that’s a sellout, he’s not having it. ‘I want to be a commercial designer,’ he said during his spring/summer 2012 presentation in New York, adding that he personally supervised the production in Shanghai of all the samples for Anthropologie. ‘The dresses will be about $300 -- and they look the same!’

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For a designer known for color and print, Parkinson’s spring collection shown on Saturday was a surprise, in all different shades of white, as he described it. But the approach served him well, allowing the workmanship to shine through.

Seen together, the white ruffled skirts, tea-length dresses, bolero and wrap jackets trimmed in hand-crocheted cotton jersey, lace and delicate embroidery might seem a bit precious for the rough-and-tumble real world. Not so, said Parkinson. Each piece was laundered to create a soft, lived-in feel, so you can forget about the dry cleaners.

‘It’s all about layering,’ he said. ‘You can take any of the tops and wear it with jeans.’

Yes, please.

-- Booth Moore, reporting from New York

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