Home 2012 April

Fashion By Design

Kaufman Franco’s Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco preview their fall 2012 collection with SaksPOV and talk about their fashion industry marathon

For Kaufman Franco fashion isn’t simply about great clothes, it’s a dialogue with their dream girl — a woman who is confident, sophisticated and has just a touch of sass. “She’s kind of good girl/bad girl,” says Ken Kaufman, who along with co-creative director Isaac Franco invited SaksPOV to their 57th Street atelier for a chat about fashion and a preview of the fall 2012 collection. If the house’s celebrity fans are any indication, Kaufman is right on target with his description. Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift have all worn Kaufman Franco on the red carpet and then some. “It’s not really sexy,” says Franco of the collection. “It’s sensual, seductive. It’s not precious.” As if on cue, the two routinely finish each…

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For Kaufman Franco fashion isn’t simply about great clothes, it’s a dialogue with their dream girl — a woman who is confident, sophisticated and has just a touch of sass.

“She’s kind of good girl/bad girl,” says Ken Kaufman, who along with co-creative director Isaac Franco invited SaksPOV to their 57th Street atelier for a chat about fashion and a preview of the fall 2012 collection.

If the house’s celebrity fans are any indication, Kaufman is right on target with his description. Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift have all worn Kaufman Franco on the red carpet and then some. “It’s not really sexy,” says Franco of the collection. “It’s sensual, seductive. It’s not precious.” As if on cue, the two routinely finish each other’s sentences.

Founded in 2004, by the fashion industry alums who first met as students at Parsons in the 1980’s, Kaufman Franco embodies a perfect blend of streamlined designs, body conscious tailoring and couture-level details like embroidery and intricate hand beadwork to their ready-to-wear and evening looks.

Such finery, however wasn’t created overnight. Kaufman and Franco have spent the better part of 25 years toiling as designer at fashion houses from the Bob Mackie  — whom under they learned how, with the help of gravity and corsetry hold a  beaded dress up (not to mention the many brushes with fame they had outfitting Mackie’s arguably most famous client, Cher) — to Valentino in Rome, where they worked under the legendary Valentino Garavani and immersed themselves in extreme luxury (“We lined dresses with sable!” exclaims Franco). The duo were also behind the resurgence of Anne Klein in 2001, where they got to learn branding,  creating accessories, eyewear and all the toppings that make for a jaw-dropping look.

“We learned each of these businesses from furs to shoes , sunglasses,” says Kaufman who, along with Franco credits their vast and deep experience as designers to the execution of their pristine garments. “We navigated our way through China and India on rickshaw bicycles to work with the best embroiderers.”

All of this research and real-world experience has resulted in a fall 2012 collection that is nothing short of breathtaking. Anatomical seaming  is based on the musculature of a woman’s body, delicate lace is rubberized for a futuristic feel a beaded cocktail dress took hundreds of hours to create. The good girl/bad girl persona is articulated in a ladylike  three-quarter coat with a floral applique executed in  smooth black leather.

While the road has been long, the designers usher each new project with gusto and are proud to be self-funded. Their advice for young designers who want to follow in their footsteps today? Buck up. “It’s nothing like Project Runway,” laughs Kaufman.




Prim and Prommer

Erin Fetherston and Saks style one lucky high school senior for prom!

When high school senior, Susan Menashe, won our latest Facebook contest, she was ecstatic. You see, the 18 year old doesn’t have a date for prom, so she needed a bit of a confidence boost in order to ask the boy of choice to be her date. SaksPOV had just the thing. After telling us her story on our Facebook profile, Susan was chosen by designer Erin Fetherston to be styled head-to-toe for her prom. “I’m the oldest in my family, so there’s no big sister to help me pick out which style dress looks best on me,” she wrote. “With your help, I know I will look and feel AMAZING!!! Please, please, please pick me!” So, the day finally came last week when Menashe…

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When high school senior, Susan Menashe, won our latest Facebook contest, she was ecstatic. You see, the 18 year old doesn’t have a date for prom, so she needed a bit of a confidence boost in order to ask the boy of choice to be her date. SaksPOV had just the thing. After telling us her story on our Facebook profile, Susan was chosen by designer Erin Fetherston to be styled head-to-toe for her prom.

“I’m the oldest in my family, so there’s no big sister to help me pick out which style dress looks best on me,” she wrote. “With your help, I know I will look and feel AMAZING!!! Please, please, please pick me!”

So, the day finally came last week when Menashe (with her mom and grandmas in tow) met Fetherston in the VIP suite at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.

“After meeting Erin, I didn’t look at her as just a designer, I looked up to her as a friend,” Menashe said. “She was so sweet and down to earth, and had no problem connecting with me.”

Menashe and Fetherston started going through the vast selection of ERIN by Erin Fetherston dresses, trying on a bunch before she chose the perfect dress — the Bow Bodice Dress in Turquoise.

“The bright color looked great with her skin tone and hair color and the bow ruching across the bust line is really flattering,” Fetherston raved. “Plus, the circle skirt and butterfly hemline are perfect for dancing! What I love is that she’ll be able to wear this dress again, even after her prom. It’s a great transitional style that she can pair back to sandals or wedge heels for the rest of the summer.”

Next up it was a stop at the shoe department for the perfect pair of heels to go with the dress. Fetherston saw the perfect pair, a nude patent platform heel by Brian Atwood, almost right away. Menashe was game.

“I love a nude patent platform heel because it instantly elongates the leg and is a great investment piece as it’s a classic that can be paired back to almost everything in your closet,” Fetherston commented.

While Menashe had her makeup done on the Saks beauty floor, Fetherston headed over to the jewelry counter to choose the perfect pair of earrings to top off the whole look. In the end, it was a pair of Kenneth Jay Lane crystal bow earrings that added that final playful and touch of sparkle.

In the end, Susan went home with the prom look of her dreams and a memory of a day with Fetherston that she will not soon forget.

“I knew that on my own I would never be able to make these decisions. Thanks to Erin, I will now look my best,” Susan said. “My idea of prom was so over the top, with her help I saw that simple and playful could be even more beautiful.”

So, will she be asking this boy to prom after all?

“Confidence wasn’t such a sure thing as I walked in,” she explained. “But now when I see how beautiful I looked in my dress and make up, I feel that there’s nothing that can stop me. I know exactly who to ask as a date, and now I’m sure to do it.”


Love It: 3.1 Phillip Lim

Love It: 3.1 Phillip Lim Men’s Trousers

The Limsanity continues at Saks! And it’s not just for the ladies. Take for example these 3.1 Phillip Lim pants from his Spring 2012 men’s collection. They start out as simple ivory cotton trousers with a tab waist, but Lim dip-dyes them to create an ombré effect that begins blow the knees and gradations to solid black. Lim took inspiration for the collection from California’s skateboarding culture. It’s not a far cry from his Huntington Beach upbringing.

Learn more about Phillip Lim on SaksPOV and check out pictures from his shop-in-shop opening event at Saks with W Magazine.

The Limsanity continues at Saks! And it’s not just for the ladies. Take for example these 3.1 Phillip Lim pants from his Spring 2012 men’s collection. They start out as simple ivory cotton trousers with a tab waist, but Lim dip-dyes them to create an ombré effect that begins blow the knees and gradations to solid black. Lim took inspiration for the collection from California’s skateboarding culture. It’s not a far cry from his Huntington Beach upbringing.

Learn more about Phillip Lim on SaksPOV and check out pictures from his shop-in-shop opening event at Saks with W Magazine.