Sunday, April 25, 2010

Black and White and Green all Over...

Earth Day, Week, etcetera. Every day should be Earth Day! We all know consciousness is virtue when it comes to production, purchasing and living – but a life of green can be thought of as rough going, mentally and physically. The stiff, not quite colorful cottons, linens and wood chip infused cashmeres certified “organic” can make their own cases difficult when appealing to human senses.

A number of designers have risen above this initial challenge with the boon of major retailers, editors and customers rising to the cause. A unanimous sentiment amongst the progressive and stylish is that change is ALWAYS good, when done right – quality and transparency head to toe is the message now where “green” is concerned. The designers able to meet these standards are somewhat cultish as a result – quietly working to offer something beautiful, new and undiluted by harmful production practices, yet also working against the backlash of “eco” design.

As an answer to this, Debut is fortunate to have found Susan Woo, notably based purely on the seductive ease of her work rather than the specific aim to please a burgeoning ethics committee.

“Bonnie and Clyde”-inspired slim, silky pencil skirts, shoulder-baring tops and shirred body-hugging t-shirt dresses swayed our antennae in her direction, and there was an inherent value built into each garment – the knowledge that each piece is comprised of 100% natural, sustainable fiber sourced from like-minded partners. Her commitment and practice not only underscores, but allows the work to stand on its own, and yields this new sensibility of luxury: of wearing a deeply researched, impeccably worked garment.

Susan Woo Organic Fine Wool Cutout Dress - $1,013

Susan Woo Tangerine Silk Tank with Draped Cuffs - $298 (also available in black)
Ivory Silk Skirt with Vegetable Tanned Leather Corset Waist - $700

*Black Organic Cotton and Silk-sleeved Mini Dress (at top) - $537

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Nowness

Between fall and spring there is always a convergence, or a card deck shuffle of trends. We can cite two: the urban woodsman of fall and the minimal sophisticate of spring. The urban woodsman, in his (or her) autumnal plaid button down, a variation of a Quoddy boot or Topsider and crisp dark denim was sleek, but rugged and worn. The look hinted at glowing kitchens, gatherings of friends and the boon of nature – fresh air, sun, snow and the like. It will segue easily to spring, with lighter Breton stripes, softer denim and torn khakis. The urban yachtsman, if you will.

Then we have the new minimalism of spring, ushered in most notably by the press’s unequivocal citation of Phoebe Philo at Céline. Refer to’s review of her Fall/Winter 2010 collection and the comparison to Helmut Lang (the original) and it was a done deal from the start. Minimal is the new everything: the small calf box bag, the paper leather shopper, and camel cashmere. A girl will practically be able to wear subdued silk fatigues to the Met. This gives a year-round feel to things.

Our favorite new accessories collection is perhaps our favorite for the reason that it embodies the quiet versatility of the aforementioned trends. Jackson's unisex flat zip bags are weathered, yet substantial; minimal yet not recessive – Balmain and Vuitton they are not. These will stand the test of time, and carry a value per wear. Rendered in parochial red, jean blue, black, chocolate brown and natural they range in size from portfolio to hand clutch, the latter of which have flown out of the store in multiples. It turns out there is a need for this new anti-“it” bag. They zip around the seam, and are sans handle. They are so perfectly classic that they don’t have the patience for second thoughts – get them while you can.

*Jackson Large ($325) and Small ($225) Clutches

The Large Natural Clutch - $325

*Study in black and grey: the Jackson Small Clutch in Black - $225


Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Shins

At début we have a tendency to revere show-stoppers – detailed, sculptural and fantastical pieces ranging from the muted, yet fierce, to the vivid and playful. There’s a time though, when our eyes and our wardrobes need a soothing element. This would be where Shin comes in for the Spring/Summer 2010 season.

Shin is a collection constructed to be non t-shirt in presence, but t-shirt in feel. Designer and namesake, Shin, graduated from FIT in 2007, and was promptly honored as a finalist in the Gen Art 2008 Styles competition. She likes to play with the dichotomy of traditional jersey sweats – the material is relaxed and casual, yet malleable and perfectly open to being customized, manipulated and refined based on her references to fine art and architecture.

It’s something we’d wear every day, and we’d feel comfortable, but quietly provocative; hinting at not caring, but also being a bit of a risk taker. This is more than we can express with our jeans and sailor stripes during seasonal wardrobe transition crises.

Lightweight, opaque leggings with small gaping slashes fall like perfectly skinny jeans. The black and white palette allows for a rotation of looks to be formed from a small group of pieces. Shirts that reveal long stretches of bare shoulder, and perfect drapey tank dresses will stand apart from a sea of beach cover-ups that will undoubtedly loom in the coming weeks. We’d prefer an army of Shin-clad women striding our city’s blocks.
To order please email or call 212.343.217

SHIN Black Exposed Shoulder Top - $165.00 (also available in white)
SHIN Black Slash Leggings - $150.00
SHIN White Pleated Asymmetrical Dress - $350.00
SHIN Black Asymmetrical Drape Dress - $215.00

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Return to Grace

Timo Weiland’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection will land in debut this week, inaugurated with a shopping event for the young Manhattan-based duo behind the design, Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein. The label will also have a home here for the fall season, and its growing legion of fans will have a go-to place for the delicate frocks and sharp separates.

In anticipation, we decided to write a bit about the collection, but realized we don’t want to read into anything too much just yet (plus we still have Fall!). Instead, we procrastinated as usual, whiling away time on and viewing the film of Alexander McQueen's awe-invoking shows. And then a question arose: what indeed is a great designer made of?

Just skimming the surface here: an unadulterated love for and connection with fashion and the feminine form; designs for women to act as women, plain and simple; a palpable sensibility and drive. 

A few creators have forged this path, setting the benchmark for the authentic blend of passion, fresh perspective and strong construction integral to the formation of new and enduring collections. Timo Weiland has achieved the beginnings of this thread as of late in New York, with the creative energy and strong self-possession to back it up.

Timo and Alan's dialogue seems to naturally and lightly reference their life experiences to date: travel, family roots and Timo's early sewing work under the tutelage of his mother. Their focus on the art of creating beautiful and most importantly, personal garments is, for lack of better verbiage, nice to see in progress as we move forward, and the cycle of fashion continues in good form.

1: "Regal Trench" in camel - approximately $740
2: "Chantreuse Day Dress" in black with slip - approximately $665
"Minstrel Blazer" with silk/chiffon sleeves in black/navy - approximately $600
3: "Accordian Day Dress" in cream charmeuse and chiffon - approximately $495
"Ascot" scarf in black/white polkadot - approximately $100

Debut New York Celebrates Timo Weiland's Spring/Summer 2010 Collection