2009 April 27
Catching Up With...Christian Cota
(NEW YORK) Designer Christian Cota has only produced 4 collections, but he has emerged as one of New York's buzziest young designers. The native of Mexico City, who studied painting in Paris before pursuing a degree in fashion design at Parsons, was named the 2009 winner of the FGI's Rising Star award last month. His Fall 2009 collection was widely praised by the fashion press for its incorporation of hand-painted fabric treatments and a renewed focus on seperates. Accordingly, it landed him several department stores--namely Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue.
"I really wanted to take in what was going on not just with the economy, but in the world," he said during an interview at his gleaming studio in the Garment District. "It was really all about explosion. I imagined this world crackling, and opening from the inside-out to reveal all these gems, minerals and stones. If a dress didn't look explosive enough, it had to be almost destroyed, in a way. Usually, in the past I was a little bit more prim and proper, so this season I wanted to go a little bit younger, which I thought was strategic."
Cota has also lowered his price point; wholesale prices range from $215 for a sleeveless crew-neck blouse in silk georgette to $2,520 for a transparent poly pleated sleeveless gown. Most prices for the daywear looks fall below $1,000 at retail. "We really worked on the pricing this season," said Cota. "I think this was very helpful to all the stores who couldn’t afford it when it was more expensive."
The designer is also increasingly moving his business away from the evening looks in order to offer retailers more shopper-friendly seperates. "A lot of the stores said that they are not buying evening, so we had to beg them to come back by promising that we really did some sportswear! I added this little sports detail, which in the past I haven’t done, but I think that is direction I want to pursue." On that note, Cota plans to debut his first knitwear pieces for Spring 2010. "I've never done it before, but I'm working with an amazing knit designer, so the collection will have plenty of options," he said.
And Cota continues to gain an increased presence on the events circut. He works closely with show stylist Lauren Santo Domingo, whom he has dressed for several events and will outfit for the American Ballet Theater's Spring Gala on May 18. "I would like to do a lot more with red carpet, but the clothes are the focus right now," he explained. "I really want to expand the brand to Europe and Latin America. I think it is important to stay focused until it really takes off, and then you can do other things--without becoming distracted."
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