Julian Louie

Julian Louie just might be the breakout star of 2008. Formally working alongside Francisco Costa, Louie described the inspiration for his debut collection as “baroque athleticism.” Save for a pair of neoprene leggings and a silk patchwork jumpsuit, the collection was largely defined by its sporty proportions on minidresses, racer-front tops and zip-up skirts. Louie said he wanted to explore the idea of tension in combining fabrics such as silk faille with neoprene and bold color with neutrals. To that, he added a touch of avant-garde detailing, with panels of Swarovski embroidery, fin-ruffled hems and a bubble back on a dress. He also admitted that there was a strong sportswear element to his pieces, but, like Costa, wanted to bring it back to something more luxurious yet far beyond. He did just that, with sufficient intrigue to make us want to see what's next for fall.

Lyn Devon

Bold, energizing color (fuchsia! yellow! cobalt!) and immaculate silhouettes were the focus of this collection, which also had a relaxed, modern feel as in a pleated, ultra loungy “Sabrina” trouser in heather gray.


Designer Kit Willow’s collection for spring hit the nail on this season’s urban safari theme with a slight hippie twist. From a tiger striped maxidress and halter overall with wide legs to an orange long cardigan-vest adorned with beads like M&Ms worn over a white shirt and khaki trousers, she kept things light, loose, breezy and even dramatic with a few ruched-front dresses.

Kai Kühne

At Kai Kühne minimalist dresses, mostly in white and graphite, were molded closely to the body with plenty of geometric paneling, but what probably hit the strongest nerve was a strong undercurrent of sex, specifically bondage, via strappy bustier-dresses, exposed zippers, cut-outs, fringe and sheer blouses.

G-Star Raw

G-Star Raw’s energetic show for spring 2009 was prefaced with an explanation by actors Alan Cumming and Heather Graham of the brand’s involvement with the United Nations and, in particular, its support of eight Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and inequality. It was a welcome gesture, but also one that could have been G-Star’s strongest channel yet for conveying its soul. This season, it opened the show with its signature raw denim tops and trenches in indigo but mixed it up with ultra-washed, distressed light blue denim bottoms. In a subsequent collection of white denim, silhouettes were baggy with even asymmetrical fastenings. Moving to non-denim separates there were shirt-jackets, trench coats and trousers in light gray, as well as blazers, articulated sweat pants and synthetic biker-style jackets. Pushing the envelope even further were box-pleated culottes for guys and embroidered trims on smart coats. The overall feeling, however, was that the brand had created its most rounded collection to date and was on course to greater things.