SPACE

Kicking Off SPACE LAB from Fashion Week

The SPACE team‘s fashion week spreadsheet had five new names on it this season: Eric Schlösberg, Eckhaus Latta, Dilara Findikoglu, A.W.A.K.E, and Vejas. Together, they represent our new shop-in-shop, SPACE LAB.

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Details from Dilara Findikoglu’s London Fashion Week presentation.

Debuting today in Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto and online, SPACE LAB is a fashion incubator; it’s a way for Olivia and her team to pay special attention to brands that are operating just a little bit outside the lines, and also just breaking their stride. It’s a way to nurture them and stand by them as their careers make important pivots.

And we do mean stand by them: Even though SPACE LAB is set up to stock and mentor five designers at a time for just one season starting this spring, we met with designers during New York and London Fashion Weeks (we’ll catch up with Vejas in Paris in about a week) to see what they’re presenting for next fall.

It seems like ages ago now that we had coffee with Eric Schlösberg in the West Village—unfortunately we missed his show, but Vogue.com didn’t. He nonetheless charmed us with pictures of his mom wearing our favorite off-the-shoulder top. She’s a total babe—and she makes for a really good metaphor.

“A lot of what I do can be seen as outrageous, but that’s really all in the styling,” he said. The proof was there on his iPhone screen, on his chic and polished model. He also had good stories about his grandma in Miami, and how she lit him up with big ideas about fashion at any early age.

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Eric Schlösberg; working on this dream since kindergarten. 

“When did you know” … his answer was out before we finished the question. “When I was like, five,” he said, with a seriously straight face.

A few days later we caught the Eckhaus Latta show in midtown Manhattan—the location alone was a wrench thrown in the game. The area around Penn Station just isn’t known for its fashion, but then this bi-coastal, two-designer team isn’t known for being predictable, or hewing to anyone else’s ideas about style.

Inside what seemed to be an abandoned nail parlor (think mauve formica and harsh florescent lights) they showed a collection of padded, felted and otherwise softly rendered yet embellished armor. But there were pretty, spare dresses, too—maybe countering the thick, quilt-like skirts. The show seemed to suggest a post-modern society that needs to lay it all bare while protecting itself at the same time.

And then, in London, inside a gleaming skyscraper, we caught up with Natalia Alaverdian’s latest animal-inspired thoughts. The A.W.A.K.E designer draws from the animal kingdom each season, and fall is all about the octopus. We sort of dare you to glimpse a tangible reference to cephalopod molluscs, though. She doesn’t let her fans wear her creatures on their sleeves.

The next day, inside an architect’s historic house that was left to the city to use as a museum, Dilara Findikoglu showed us her version of the new world order.

“I’m not happy with the way things are right now.” The Turkish-born designer just learned that she was short-listed for the fashion industry’s LVMH Awards, but she was referring to a much broader world-view. Her small but intricately detailed collection contained Edwardian sleeves, tartan plaids, and sequined suits with dazzling Turkish and Egyptian symbols.

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It felt both alien and glam-rock; she said the point was to outfit an imaginary colony where “everyone is equal.” Here’s hoping SPACE LAB is really tapped into the future.

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Raul and Olivia with the designer Dilara Findikoglu

EXPLORE: SPACE LAB | all emerging designers

Go where we go, see what we see. Stay up to date with all our Fashion Week coverage and shop curated collections of our favorite designers at Nordstrom’s Fashion Week Central.

—Laura Cassidy