New York designer spotlight: Office-appropriate women’s dresses

NYC clothing labels Carrie Hammer, emploi New York and M.M.LaFleur are dedicated to outfitting professional women in stylish, unstuffy dresses.

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  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Felisa faux wrap dress, $295

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Sarah 2.0 shift dress, $245

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Peche blouse-skirt combination dress, $285

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Narie three-quarter-sleeve dress, $275

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Sophia blouse-skirt combination dress, $275

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Sarah LaFleur and Miyako Nakamura

Photograph: Alvina Lai

The Felisa faux wrap dress, $295


Sarah LaFleur and Miyako Nakamura of M.M.LaFleur (mmlafleur.com)

Who they are: After hosting a series of successful trunk shows in 2012, Sarah LaFleur officially launched her dress line M.M.LaFleur—inspired by her upbringing in fashion capitals Paris and Tokyo, and her mother’s impeccable sense of style—this past January. “I started to get the itch to do something a little more creative,” says the Harvard graduate and former Bain & Company management consultant. Although fashion is in her DNA, LaFleur never formally studied it, so she sought help from former Jason Wu head designer Miyako Nakamura to create her vision. “[Together], we have a good balance of art and function,” says Nakamura.

About the line: LaFleur’s focus is on creating well-priced contemporary women’s work wear, and her classic tailored dresses ($225–$295) are made in the Garment District using a neutral palette and fabrics such as crepe de chine, stretch wool and double-knit jersey, sourced from Italy and Japan. Every frock the duo designs must pass three important tests: Women must be able to bend over without revealing any cleavage, exit a taxi without ripping a seam and wear it without visible panty lines or bra straps. “We specifically think of different body types so any shape can find a dress that fits,” notes Nakamura. “At the end of the day, we really want the woman to shine,” adds La Fleur. “It’s really about the clothes supporting whoever’s wearing it.”

Where to buy: Online at mmlafleur.com

  1. Marina Ufaeva of emploi New York
  2. Carrie Hammer
  3. Sarah LaFleur and Miyako Nakamura of M.M. LaFleur

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