Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Apologies for the radio silence yesterday. The Fashion Junior at Large was having a catch up day off after working several weekends over Fashion Month. I was at Grazia, and upon arrival home, instead of blogging the below story as intended, it dawned on me that we were one week into November already and set about doing the dreaded but necessary admin required when one has a business, a full time member of staff, tax, VAT and all that annoying jazz. Now my To Do list has been tamed, I bring you a new designer name to know.

Meet 25 year old fashion designer Wes Gordon from New York City by way of Atlanta Georgia. I haven't met a young designer like him in a long time. There is a professional assuredness and silky charm about Wes that harks back, I imagine, to Paris in the early 1950s when male fashion designers wore tailored suits for work, called their lady clients Ma'am and were as smooth and smiley as an A-List actor when hosting their trunk shows.

Wes, sans jacket, but in perfectly pressed trousers and a box fresh Gucci shirt, with his Spring/Summer 2012 collection. 

This makes sense when you hear him speak about his personal mentors Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford, and definitely DOESN'T make sense when you hear he trained at Saint Martins. However I definitely put his preternatural confidence down to the combination of his Southern charm and an expensive private education (he attended the swank Lovett Preparatory school). His story is total manna from heaven for American editors and buyers, who, of course, love him. SAKS bought his very first collection in February 2010.

Wes came to London a couple of weeks ago and hosted an editors lunch in the private dining area of The Wolseley, organised by the Finch &  Partners agency.

Wes Gordon SS12 

I reckon it takes balls to tell your parents that "no, even though you want me to be an investment banker, I want to follow a career into fashion and become a designer." Still, they clearly handled it well, enabling Wes to put his career plans into play. "After doing calculus and school homework I would attend the local art institute to develop my drawing and build a folio for Saint Martins," he says. "My mother also helped me get a placement at Oscar de la Renta."   

Wes Gordon's cotton Guipure lace evening jacket

Ah yes, Oscar. He interned there each summer between 2008-2010. Wes loved his time there. "Working with Mr de la Renta was truly inspirational. The atmosphere was so couture. House models wandering around...rolls of couture fabric...," he tails off, lost in the memory which certainly has a Disneyish whiff of The Princess Diaries about it.  "Mr de la Renta always wore a suit for work, so I began to wear a suit to work too. After that I was at this side, holding his pins, assisting him. It was a huge privilege."

If you are beginning to form the notion that Wes Gordon clothes are for a certain kind of rich society lady about town, then you would be partly right. The cotton Guipure evening shrug, aka "Porcelain Embroidered Guipure Lace Sculpted Peplum Top" above, (his capitals) is in place, retail price $4000. The ballroom skirt (below) is also there, or rather the "Prussian Blue with Bone Stripe Organdy Gathered Maxi Skirt."

Indeed much of the perfectly cut, and expensively produced 30 look collection for next season comprises the sort of sparely cut cocktail dresses, generously puffed skirtss and exquisite evening tailoring - think  matt sequins, silk linen, silk organza and oddles of python skin - that are ideal for the round of gala benefits.

However that lady is no frump and she knows fashion. She wears her skirts and trousers high on the waist, and is not averse to a pair of python skin short shorts, or a sheer navy blouse with a leather collar. So, yes while Wes Gordon does lady clothes, this lady could be 20, or 50 and knows hipster style, even if she might not wear it. "I guess my main market is 35 to 50" says Wes, "but her daughter is definitely into my clothes. I sell uptown at Saks Fifth Avenue and downtown at Kirna Zabete in New York."
A Wes Gordon silk and sequin modern prom skirt. aka "Black/White Jacquard Stripe Tweed Drop Waist Pleasted Skirt wioth Degrade Embroidery"

"This is exactly the sort of piece both a chic lady about town or her daughter could wear," says Wes of the skirt above. He is right. I like the way it smooths the waist and hip line before flaring into the pleats. As I said at the start of this post Wes is an anomaly of old-school charm housed in a modern, mannered young man who is comfortable with cool, but who turns it into something palatable for the ladies.  His clothes reflect old school for the new school, ticking the boxes for what is acceptable in high society. Looking at what an excellent start he has made, and the single mindedness with which he has achieved his goals to date I have a feeling  he might just be around as long as Oscar de la Renta...

Catwalk Images: style.com
Images: Fashion Editor at Large

No comments:

Post a Comment