The Designer to Watch in Every Major Fashion City

Fashion


Four must-know designers who are setting fashion’s capital cities abuzz.


London: Matty Bovan

A recent Central Saint Martins grad pulled off one of the most stunning London Fashion Week debuts in recent memory. For the past three seasons, Matty Bovan has presented in the Fashion East group shows, but fall 2018 marked his first stand-alone outing and featured some serious British star power. The over-the-top balloon headpieces that put one in mind of both Up and It were the handiwork of master milliner Stephen Jones. The model line-up? Adwoa Aboah opened, with Winnie Harlow and Lily (daughter of Kristen) McMenamy walking as well. It was styled by none other than Katie Grand, the founding editor-in-chief of Love magazine and Marc Jacobs’s longtime collaborator.

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This many heavy hitters could easily sink a nascent collection, but Bovan pulled off the rare feat of making the clothes live up to the hype. The roughhewn tweeds and houndstooths were inspired by his grandmother but deconstructed with tulle and tie-dye touches that felt more Brick Lane than Balmoral. (Bonus for DIYers: He’s partnered with the brand Wool and the Gang to release a kit that will allow you to knit your own runway creations at home.) Bovan’s star is rising about as fast as those balloons.—V.H.

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Up, Up, and Away: Backstage at Bovan’s Fall 2018 Fashion Show

Rebecca Maynes


New York: Snow Xue Gao

Chinatown’s Jing Fong Restaurant is an unconventional choice for a fashion show. But for Snow Xue Gao, the chandelier-studded institution (known as New York City’s largest Chinese restaurant) was the ideal venue to showcase her collection inspired by the neighborhood’s denizens. Think business suits, traditional Chinese attire, and practical ugly-chic touches (galoshes, shower shoes with socks). For one night only, dim sum carts were replaced by rolling racks of the Parsons alum’s designs. The standout item: her blazers (Rihanna has worn one of Gao’s pinstriped styles onstage).

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This season brought oversize Prince of Wales–check versions, styled to look as though they had adhered to tailored shirting via static cling. Boldly printed blouses were Gao’s take on the traditional Chinese gown called the qipao. And Jing Fong’s own plastic takeout bags were a witty runway prop. We’ll get it all to go, thanks. —V.H.

snow xue gao

GETTY IMAGES+KEVIN MAZUR + COURTESY OF THE DESIGNER


Milan: Palm Angels

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A deep fascination with L.A.’s skateboarding culture infuses Francesco Ragazzi’s Palm Angels label. The line was actually born from a coffee-table book the Moncler artistic director published in 2014, featuring shots of the skater scene (Pharrell Williams wrote the foreword). Ragazzi’s debut ready- to-wear collection followed shortly after, and his candy-colored racing-stripe track- suits were soon snapped up by Rihanna and A$AP Rocky. For fall, the Italian designer looked to the Midwest, delivering a hearty dose of plaid and denim workwear, coupled with bolo ties and western belt buckles. The centerpiece: Grant Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic, splashed across dresses and skirts. Throwing things into distinctly avant-garde territory were spiked balaclavas perfect for the brand’s provocative—and paparazzi-dodging—celebrity fans.—N.R.

francesco ragazzi’s palm angels

IVAN LATTUADA + COURTESY OF THE DESIGNER


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Paris: Noir Kei Ninomiya

In 2008, Japanese designer Kei Ninomiya dropped out of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts to take a job as a pattern cutter at Comme des Garçons. It was under the CDG umbrella that he launched Noir Kei Ninomiya, holding small-scale presentations at the Comme des Garçons HQ in Paris for the last several seasons. For fall 2018, Ninomiya officially flew the coop, staging his show at the Faculté de pharmacie de Paris instead. While Ninomiya’s all-black palette is the height of restraint, his silhouettes are wildly inventive. Yards of tulle— pleated, twisted, and otherwise bent into submission—and heavy, chainlike knits defied gravity as they made their way down the runway. Orchid-covered headpieces by floral artist Makoto Azuma added to the overall surrealist effect. Much like his mentor, Rei Kawakubo, the designer is elusive when it comes to the press, but that’s just fine. His designs have tout le monde talking. —N.R.

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Melanie Rey


Choice Pieces

Boost your wardrobe with these eminently wearable items from our quartet of up-and-comers.

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1. Wool-blend and silk jacket, Snow Xue Gao, $1,550, snowxuegao.com; 2. Cotton Pleated Skirt, Palm Angels, $989, palmangels.com; 3. Faux-leather jacket, Noir Kei Ninomiya, $995, comme-des-garcons.com; 4. Bouclé, satin, suede, and calfskin boot, Gina for Matty Bovan, $1,350, gina.com

KEVIN SWEENEY

This article originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of ELLE.

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