Not in Vogue... yet

Three young design stars-about to break into the big time-reveal their inspirations, from novels to country music.

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Fall fashion 2007, up and coming designers

Photo: Tim Soter

Valentine Leung of Valentine


Age: 35
Backstory: Though her parents owned a custom-menswear boutique in Hong Kong, Leung chose paintbrushes over sewing machines and studied fine art at UC Berkeley. The fledgling artist began cobbling together outfits for her videotaped performance art, which ultimately led to taking some fashion design classes at FIT and assisting as a stylist for magazines such as i-D. Last year, she launched a capsule collection of girlishly appealing frocks. Her mod fall line—a complete closet’s worth of swingy jackets, silk blouses, pleated skirts and bubble dresses in a sober palette—supplies ladies with smart, youthful pieces that recall prep-school uniforms, or perhaps what a studious art student would wear to sketching class.

Fall fashion 2007, up and coming designers
Valentine Rose Butterfly dress, $392, at I Heart; Bonny pleated ruffle dress, $365, at Otte.

Photo: Alexander Milligan

Where it’s at: Cantaloup, Otte, Intermix, I Heart and anicaboutique.com

Favorite products


Nymphenbury ceramic birds: “Plain, simple and delicate. I first saw them at Moss.”
Weleda Malva body lotion and Dr. Hauschka’s rose cream, toner and moisturizing day cream: “These products are well made, with good ingredients that I’m comfortable using.”

Fall fashion 2007, up and coming designers
Ted Muehling

Photo: Wenyi Huang

Favorite stores


Ted Muehling in Soho
Rizzoli on West 57th Street
Park Slope Food Coop

Fall fashion 2007, up and coming designers
Chinatown

Photo: Wenyi Huang

Favorite NYC landmarks


Chinatown: “I like to do my food shopping there, and being Chinese from Hong Kong, it is the closest thing to what I know.”
Brooklyn Botanic Garden in April: “I love the cherry blossoms. When they bloom, I know summer is around the corner.”

Favorite design source


Midtown’s Mokuba: “They have a large selection of good-quality trims from Japan. It’s not a deal, but you get what you pay for.”

Favorite bars and restaurants


Amorina in Prospect Heights
Blue Apron and Gen in Park Slope

Fall 2007 inspirations


The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
Thursday Styles section of The New York Times
The Paul Poiret show at the Met
Django Reinhardt and Icky Thump by the White Stripes
Richard Tuttle’s simple lines and shapes and Cy Twombly’s color palette inspired the new collection.”

Fall fashion 2007, up and coming designers

Samantha Pleet


Age: 26
Backstory: Enamored with playing dress-up, this former As Four intern entertained acting as a career before opting for a fashion design degree at Pratt. But dramatic influences still color the Philly native’s works: Pleet’s debut fall 2006 pieces were patterned after kooky characters, including medieval knights and lumberjacks. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about looking like a storybook escapee while wearing her latest creations, which were apparently inspired by chimney sweeps, dandies and jailbirds: The resulting thigh-skimming dresses, curve-hugging vests and natty jackets—rendered in modern silhouettes—aren’t cartoonish or costumey at all.
Where it’s at: Armoire, Honey in the Rough, I Heart, Stuart & Wright, YLLI

Fall fashion 2007, design process Fall fashion 2007, design process
Samantha Pleet Mischief jumper, $275, at Armoire.
Photo: Alexander Milligan
Quest cape, $418, at Stuart & Wright.
Photo: Alexander Milligan

Favorite products


Annick Goutal fragrances
Repetto shoes: “They are so comfortable and look great with everything. I have them in black and white, and I’ve gone through six pairs already.”
Dr. Denim: “It’s made from great fabric, and the fit is amazing. But you can’t find them in New York yet.”

Fall fashion 2007, design processFall fashion 2007, design process Greg Climer wool flannel pants, $430, at Takashimaya
Photo: Alexander Milligan Greg Climer double-breasted cardigan, $620, at Takashimaya
Photo: Alexander Milligan
Fall fashion 2007, up and coming designers

Photo: Alexander Milligan

Favorite products


Kiehl’s Silk Groom: “It was my favorite product until I buzzed my head this summer.”
Proactiv skin care: “Amazing…it actually lives up to the ads.”
Grey Goose vodka
Teuscher truffles
Adidas sneakers: “Comptowns or Superstars. They’re big, wide, cartoonlike shoes.”

Favorite stores


The farmers’ market in Union Square
Live Live in the East Village
Soho’s Matter, Taschen Books and the Adidas store: “I love that they roll up the garage door and have a DJ all day. A security guard on a lawn chair on the sidewalk? Perfect!”

Fall fashion 2007, up and coming designers
Cooper–Hewitt

Photo: Wenyi Huang

Favorite NYC landmarks


Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum: “It’s a secret gem. Just hanging out in the garden all afternoon is inspiring.”
Prospect Park: “I kidnap the neighbors’ dog every once in a while and head over there.”

Favorite design sources


eBay: “It always has the most bizarre special things.”
The Garment District’s Hecht Sewing Machines: “It’s the city’s best used-machine shop.”

Favorite bars and restaurants


Lil’ Frankie’s in the East Village
Park Slope’s Miracle Grill
The East Village’s Wine Bar: “They have heavenly pizza with white truffle oil.”

Fall 2007 inspirations


“Lately, I’ve been listening to Teddy Thompson, Scott Joplin and classic country. This last collection was all about high-school yearbooks. I’ve been collecting them for years.” Evelyn Hofer’s photography influenced me a lot.”

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