Fash­ion’s new duo Meet the A-list in­ter­na­tional la­bel Monse

The la­bel seems to have come out of nowhere, but Monse has made in­stant fans out of ev­ery­one from Jes­sica Biel to Se­lena Gomez.

Glamour (South Africa) - - La Une -

When in­dus­try in­sid­ers at New York Fash­ion Week last Septem­ber spot­ted the new la­bel Monse (pro­nounced “mon-say”), the col­lec­tive re­ac­tion was “Mon who?” The line and its de­sign­ers, Laura Kim, 33 and Fer­nando Gar­cia, 29, were rel­a­tively un­known, and yet their clothes were be­ing worn by ma­jor celebs like Sarah Jes­sica Parker and Amal Clooney be­fore the col­lec­tion had even hit the run­way. And, in the hy­per­com­pet­i­tive world of fash­ion, there’s no such thing as be­gin­ner’s luck.

But then, Laura and Fer­nando are no begin­ners. They spent a col­lec­tive 18 years at Os­car de la Renta (Laura as de­sign direc­tor, and Fer­nando over­see­ing evening wear and VIP dress­ing) be­fore go­ing out on their own. And when they left, they did so with the designer’s bless­ing and an A-list ros­ter of celebrity stylist and clien­tele, too.

When you look at Monse’s de­but col­lec­tion, it’s not hard to spot de la Renta’s in­flu­ence. The el­e­gance re­flects the late designer’s iconic style, but with a laid­back at­ti­tude. “We wanted to make sure the girl wear­ing our clothes al­ways looks re­laxed,” says Fer­nando. “As Os­car taught us, some­times the eas­i­est or sim­plest idea is the best one.”

Which is why they chose the most ba­sic sta­ple of all – a clas­sic but­ton­down shirt – as the start­ing point for their col­lec­tion. “We be­gan with a shirt be­cause it’s some­thing ev­ery­one re­lates to,” ex­plains Fer­nando. “We wanted to put our own spin on it.”

The re­sult: in­ven­tive takes on the shirt, from strap­less dresses à la the black num­ber Se­lena Gomez is rock­ing be­low, to trousers with faux shirt­sleeves knot­ted at the wrist as a belt. “In a sea­son when the re­worked shirt is such a trend, Fer­nando and Laura owned it,” says Sarah Rut­son of on­line store Net-a-porter.

And while their de­signs have al­ready been worn by a who’s who of Hol­ly­wood style set­ters, Laura and Fer­nando know that the red car­pet can’t keep a fash­ion busi­ness afloat: “We be­lieve in to­day’s mod­ern work­ing woman,” says Fer­nando. “And cre­ative peo­ple, too.” Like artist Tali Len­nox, ac­tu­ally: “Fer­nando had seen my work on In­sta­gram and reached out to me,” Tali re­calls. “We de­cided to do a ‘dress swap’. He was like, ‘How about you paint us, and we’ll give you dresses?’ And I said, ‘Great!’ Their clothes are done up, but in a non­cha­lant way. They make me feel like my­self.”

So how would Laura and Fer­nando de­scribe them­selves? We asked, and they an­swered in uni­son. Find their replies on the op­po­site page.

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