High/low collaborations have become as ubiquitous as celebrity “designed” lines. But Macy’s latest foray in the designer-meets-mass retailer sphere is left-field enough to get our attention. The department store approached the Italian-born, London-based talent Kinder Aggugini (left)—a growing presence in London, but still a relative unknown, internationally speaking—for a capsule collection. “I was 100 percent terrified of the idea at first,” Aggugini admitted at the line’s preview atop the Gramercy Park Hotel last night. “I went and did some research and there were some awful collaboration lines out there—all this polyester. But then I saw how Alber did it for H&M and thought, ‘That’s it. It’s not about creating something cheaper. It’s about creating a new product altogether.’ “
“I was inspired by these British girls who would go to rock ‘n’ roll gigs and Glastonbury in their mother’s old couture dresses that they’d cut into these short minis,” the designer explained. The Versace and Vivienne Westwood alum, who’s known for unconventional prints and tailored little jackets, set out to emphasize natural fibers, including silk chiffons, cottons, and merino wools. For the collection, he imported the spirit—and a few key prints, like his signature polka dots—from his main line. Standout pieces include a black silk chiffon romper ($88), a dip-dyed silk floral frock ($88), and a remarkably well-constructed linen military jacket with metallic tweed trim ($128). The range tops out at $300, with prices starting as low as $50.
Aggugini will have to wait until February 15 to see if the Brit style will translate to American shoppers; the collection will be in Macy’s stores and online for eight weeks before another, yet-to-be-announced designer capsule collection will roll out for the next two months. (Karl Lagerfeld’s buzzy collaboration is slated for September.) But early indicators are good: Preview guests Hilary Rhoda and Parsons’ Simon Collins gave their approval. As Collins pointed out, “The difference between designs from a London designer and what a woman in America might wear aren’t so great. Fashion’s all quite global these days.”
Photo: Ryan McCune / PatrickMcMullan