The Label: Christine Alcalay
Based In: New York City
Designed By: Christine Alcalay, a Vietnam-born, NYC-bred, Parsons-trained designer who interned at Christian Lacroix in Paris before returning to New York to open her boutique, KIWI, in 2002, which featured her eponymous made-to-measure clothing. Alcalay broadened her reach by launching her namesake ready-to-wear collection in 2010. "The idea was to design and create a collection for the woman who searches for elegance," Alcalay told The Fashion Informer. "Coming from a family of factory workers in the Garment District in New York, I wanted to support and give back to the industry that raised me. The clothes are 100 percent designed, sourced and made in NYC. With eight years designing made-to-measure in my Brooklyn boutique, I wanted to create a ready-to-wear collection with the classically honed ideas and proven styles that had been developed for many years working with customers one on one."
Looks Like: Modern, ladylike pieces inspired by Egyptian, Greek, Irish and Chinese goddesses of love (spring 2012) and Edward Hopper paintings/American beauties from Zelda Fitzgerald to flappers to Gibson Girls (fall 2012). Think: sophisticated long sleeved dresses, patterned clutch coats, paisley tops, sensual draped blouses and pencil skirts in rich shades of mustard, burgundy, navy and green. "Elegance, like style, is not purely about clothing," says Alcalay, who counts Rose Byrne among her clients. "It is about the way people carry themselves. Elegance rings clear with posture, the way a person walks, the way they look in your eyes. It is the essence of who a person is. My focus when designing the collection is to create clothing that has these qualities. It is in the detail, drape and craftsmanship of the garments that resonate. It is the woman who wears it that gives it life. I draw from images of film, music, art, women’s complex roles in our society, and ideals of American vs. global beauty when designing the collection. My clothes are as much about how you feel when you wear them as what they look like." And what they look like is drop dead gorgeous.
Sold At: The Christine Alcalay collection retails from $297 to $1080 at can be found at Cut on the Bias and, beginning in August, on ChristineAlcalay.com.