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Polish born, American raised, Italian and French trained (she served as studio director for Sonia Rykiel before going out on her own) Mona Kowalska is the founder and designer of sixteen-year-old cult label and store A Détacher. The name means “to detach” in French but it’s a misnomer, Kowalska’s clothes, designed consummately from her own personal affections, are objects of desire and induce a high level of attachment for those who appreciate and wear them. Her collections, a mix of sly engineering, sympathetic notions of womanhood, and a vivid wit are a rare delight in a superfluous sea of fashions. Independent and delicate, nuanced but approachable, the clothes cut through the smoke and mirrors fashion often uses to drum up false appeal and get to the matter at hand: to offer something special yet wholly believable for a woman to wear. Designing with integrity, drafting the patterns herself (no mean feat, Kowalska’s shapes wonder as much as they flatter the female form) and made with the finest fabrics, each garment is considered from the inside out. She is the very ideal of a modern clothing designer, her clothes representing not just a style or a look but an attitude, a world, one that she offers without hesitation and through her collections and in her store she serves in spades.
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Dynamic duo Starr Hout and Laura Cramer joined forces in 2008 to create APIECE APART. Born during a trip to West Texas for the designers’ 30th birthdays, the label has quickly gained a reputation for its clean lines, chic, simple shapes, impeccable tailoring and beautiful fabrics.
Their aesthetic follows the style of their leading muse artist Georgia O’Keefe whose dress was both ascetic in its sparseness and decadent in its celebration of the self. For Cramer and Hout it is the woman who wears the clothes who is of chief importance, the garments exist only to serve her. It’s a philosophy that has quietly earned them the dedication of many women who have found their modern take on classic sportswear and world dress to work perfectly in their closets and in their lives. Though Cramer and Hout keep a low profile they have found an admirer in French designer Christophe Lemaire who upon his appointment to Hermes cited the designers as one of his favorites alongside Celine’s Phoebe Philo. It’s clear, though their clothes are simple in appearance, Cramer and Hoult are formidable talents to be reckoned with.
Join Hout and Cramer as they take to the stage at MAD with Jeremy Lewis, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Garmento Zine for an evening discussion delving into the future of womenswear.
The new series of Garmento talks kick of this Thursday with Rachel Comey.
Since launching her label in 2001, Rachel Comey has steadily endeared herself to women the world over who share her sure sense of self and her impeccable taste. Eschewing trends and flavors of the moment, her clothes are best seen not on the runway nor in a fashion editorial, but in the wardrobes and on the backs of real women, where her subtle hand achieves dramatic effect.
Joining Jeremy Lewis, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Garmento Zine, Comey takes to the stage at MAD for a discussion exploring her unique design process and work. From the inspiration she finds in the intimate realities of those she respects and admires–her girlfriends, her heroines, even the woman she thinks she would like to be–to her punchy, yet matter-of-fact take on dressing, this evening offers a rare insight into Comey’s creation of work that imparts to the wearer both confidence and elegance.