In response to the economic downturn, several designers have taken steps to make their clothes more accessible and affordable. While collaborations with mass-market retailers like Target, Topshop and H&M are commonplace, many have taken a more direct approach - making their clothing immediately available through technology. The most innovative example of this is Norma Kamali’s iPhone application (downloaded free through iTunes) which contributes to the “democratization of fashion” by providing access to all three of her collections through your iPhone.
Many designers have expanded their lines to include lower-priced capsule collections — offering a focused version of their work (usually limited to twenty five pieces or fewer) at a more accessible price point. Temperley London has a capsule collection in the works, while Givenchy's Redux line is already in stores.
We’re a little late in blogging about Under.Ligne, Doo-Ri Chung’s lower-priced capsule collection. If we weren’t so attached to the contents of our closets, we’d be tempted to start our wardrobes from scratch with all twenty one pieces from this Fall 2009 collection, priced from $150-$495. The jersey separates — cardigans, t-shirts, leggings, tops and dresses — have a sophisticated urban vibe. In black, gray and white (future collections will add a new color to this minimal palette), the collection is versatile and adaptable for work and play. The pieces feel exquisitely comfortable on the wearer and move effortlessly with the body. Many of the pieces feature the designer’s signature draping and create a distinctive silhouette. Well-placed zippers, ruffle and rope details and drawstring closures make the pieces special. We stalked this line and pounced when it arrived in stores (Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and selected boutiques nationwide) in mid-summer, and we’re eager to see what's coming next.
From the runway at Doo.ri's Spring 2010 collection
We’re most excited about Narciso Rodriguez’s upcoming capsule collection available exclusively through eBay. This Spring 2010 limited edition line of eight pieces (each priced at less than $350) is designed to work together or independently. We’ve been known to declare that if heaven exists, we’ll be wearing Narciso Rodriguez’s clothes there. With the launch of his eBay line, it looks like there might be a little heaven on earth for us this Spring. — Julie Yee
A dress from Narciso Rodriguez's Spring 2010 collection
Photos: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz (Doo.ri); Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz (Narciso Rodriguez)