As awards season is gearing up, Variety looks at emerging designers that will make their mark on the many red carpets ahead:
For the guys, Emily Bode’s eponymous line of one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted clothing cut from antique fabrics and Victorian quilts has earned a following that includes Donald Glover, Dyllón Burnside, Ezra Miller, Leon Bridges, Jordan Peele and Henry Golding. “I particularly love how each piece has a sense of nostalgia and uniqueness, sure to stand out from the standard suit and tie,” says Ian Bradley, who dressed Lamar Johnson in a Bode jacket and shirt for a Toronto fest event last year after learning about the Atlanta-born designer through friends. “Once I saw one of her signature quilted/patchwork jackets, I was fully invested.” Bradley also works with Indya Moore and Sky Ferreira. The 3-year-old New York-based label has had a big year; Bode won Emerging Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards, was a finalist for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers and it’s making its runway debut at Paris Fashion Week next February.
The Vampire’s Wife
In 2014, Susie Bick, wife of Nick Cave, former model and collaborator with Philip Treacy, Vivienne Westwood and Bella Freud, started making dresses for her friends. Today, The Vampire’s Wife — named for her husband’s unfinished novel — has become a global red carpet go-to. The growing list of Bick’s celebrity fans already includes Sienna Miller, Ruth Negga, Rachel Weisz, Elisabeth Moss, Dakota Johnson, Salma Hayek, Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss and Florence Welch. Stylist Kate Young, too, is a fan of the brand’s “modest yet sexy gowns.” She first heard of the London label through a mutual friend. “I’d heard Susie was designing a line and DM’ed her on Instagram to ask about it,” says Young, whose clients include Margot Robbie, Rachel Weisz, Sophie Turner and Michelle Williams.
“Teresa has been a favorite of mine for a few years now,” says stylist Lindsay Flores of the Spanish up-and-comer. Long a favorite of Spain’s A-listers and royals — Queen Letizia stepped out in a flapper-style look from the label in November 2018 — Helbig is fast becoming a regular on international red carpets. Saoirse Ronan, Zendaya, Berry, Olivia Wilde, Olivia Munn and Stefani have all worn the brand. “Teresa has a unique approach
to design — she has a cool spin on street and formal wear.” Flores has dressed Halle Berry in the label several times, including “a little black leather-and-lace look” for the ESPY Awards. “With Teresa Helbig, I find a look I love for every occasion I’m pulling for.”
Elle Macpherson and Cate Blanchett are both fans of fellow Australian, designer Esber. The label is one to watch, says stylist Danielle Nachmani Goldberg, who found Esber on Instagram and “just fell in love with the imagery and the brand’s overall aesthetic.”
“Christopher Esber is a designer who, I feel, has a great deal of strength in his designs, but also are incredibly sexy without being overt,” says Goldberg. Her clients include Zendaya, Laura Harrier, Emma Greenwell, Greta Lee, Olivia Cooke, Julia Garner, Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale and Adam Driver. The Sydney-based designer, known for his precision tailoring, made his New York Fashion Week debut in February 2017. “He has a really fresh approach to fashion,” says Goldberg, who styled Lily Collins in the label for the cover of the Observer in the U.K.
“I love his use of color, beaded texture and asymmetrical shapes,” says stylist Christina Pacelli of L.A.-based Vietnamese designer Nguyen, known for creating custom red-carpet gowns for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Juliette Lewis. “He is incredibly talented, and I love how he infuses Vietnamese patterns into some of his designs.” Pacelli has dressed Laverne Cox and Ilfenesh Hadera in the designer’s creations since discovering him through a showroom in L.A. “I have worked with him on several custom projects and he is incredibly talented.” Nguyen’s parents owned a private sewing school in South Vietnam. Other celebrity fans of the rising star include Elizabeth Banks, Samira Wiley, Leona Lewis, Kristen Bell, Kate Beckinsale and Katy Perry.
Another emerging name on Goldberg’s radar is one-year-old New York label Commission. “It’s a brand that I feel has an incredibly thoughtful approach to fashion,” she says of the brainchild of three Asia-born Parsons graduates. Jin Kay moved to New York City from South Korea, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong from Vietnam; Commission is inspired by the trio’s memories of their mothers from the ’80s and ’90s. “They are focusing on elevating classic pieces with incredible prints and silhouettes,” says Goldberg, who found them on Net-a-Porter. “I just loved every piece. It was exactly what I wanted for myself, so I knew I needed to bring it to my clients.” Indeed, Laura Harrier wore a Commission dress to an event the night before the Oscars.
Beyoncé, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Nina Dobrev, Julia Garner and Katy Perry are just some of the famous faces who have already discovered Vietnamese label Cong Tri. “It’s an exciting evening wear brand that feels young and cool,” says Young, who dressed Dobrev in a look from the spring-summer 2020 collection for the InStyle Awards in October. Young — who also works with Margot Robbie, Dakota Johnson, Selena Gomez, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Sienna Miller and Sophie Turner — met the designer, Cong Tri Nguyen, through makeup artist Hung Vanngo.
“Cong Tri feels like the lovechild of Cushnie, Oscar de la Renta and Prabal Gurung, and his color palette is always on trend,” says Pacelli, who learned of the label through publicist Bryan Smith in L.A. “Every stylist was grappling for pieces.” Pacelli’s clients include Trace Lysette, Laverne Cox and Britney Young.
Flores is also a huge fan. “He has a very cool, modern, exclusive approach,” says Flores. While she’s yet to dress such clients as Halle Berry, Leslie Mann and Christina Applegate in Cong Tri, she was floored by the look Beyoncé wore to the London premiere of “The Lion King.” “It was definitely a great moment,” she says.