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L. A. Customers See Designer Archer Come the ‘Full Circle’

Five years ago, Luiz Archer was waiting tables at L’Orangerie, one of the most exclusive restaurants in Beverly Hills.

Now the Brazilian-born, 35-year-old fashion designer tells people he dresses many of the women he used to serve. And to prove his point, he recently held his first fashion show in Los Angeles at the very same restaurant.

“I’ve come full circle,” Archer said about his 85-piece collection of mostly evening and cocktail clothes. “I used to try to hide the fact that I once worked as a waiter but now it’s different. It’s a dream come true, and I’m proud of what I did.”

No wonder. Archer’s clothes are available exclusively at Neiman-Marcus’ 14 stores. Priced from about $1,500 to $7,000, the collection abounds in opulent beading and luxurious fabrics, including four-ply silk Jacquard, mixtures of velvet and charmeuse, beaded leather and sequins or stones.

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“I’m not a trend-setter,” says Archer, whose atelier is in West Hollywood. “My specialty is that I create simple, elegant clothes where every detail is perfect. Covered buttons, hand-sewn seams, elaborate pleating and full linings.

“It’s the old, couture way of doing things,” he says.

Archer began his fashion career as a fitting model in Europe, where he worked with many of the top designers and quietly observed and learned their techniques. When he grew proficient at fit and proportion, he came to California where he eventually opened his own workshop and custom-made gowns for such clients as Ursula Andress, Dionne Warwick, Loni Anderson and Lynda Carter.

“People used to joke that I was the best-kept secret in Hollywood,” Archer says. “But I couldn’t exactly make it on being a secret.”

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Archer worked exclusively with private clients until, about two years ago, he was approached by Neiman-Marcus to provide an unusual service. It seems they had several customers who couldn’t quite get a perfect fit in gowns and needed a special look and design. Could Archer possibly help?

Archer gradually started giving mini-fashion shows at the store in Beverly Hills and last April, he was asked to sell his clothes at all Neiman-Marcus stores exclusively.


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