Designer spotlight

Brooklyn talents Mina Stone and Caycee Black turn making women's clothing into an art form.



Who she is: After graduating from the Pratt Institute in 2004, Stone started her eponymous line while moonlighting as a personal chef. “Personally, I didn’t really want to [design] unless I could just do it myself,” she explains. “I didn’t want to work under anybody.” Though her collection was well received, the Fort Greene--based designer took a hiatus from both fashion and cooking after just four seasons to live in Greece. When she returned from her travels a year later, “it felt like I had to pick [cooking or designing] at a certain point, because I couldn’t keep dividing my time,” says Stone. Thankfully for us, the clothes won out, and she relaunched her label this spring.

About the line: Stone’s comeback collection ($300--$450) is full of breezy tunic dresses and one-pieces—like an elongating, voluminous jumpsuit—in simple, relaxed silhouettes that are perfect for throwing on during sticky summer days. “I like clothes to be something you can just put on and finish quickly,” explains Stone, who hand-dyes many of her one-of-kind items (hence the steep price tags). “It was really about physically applying my hands to the actual garment before it would go out to the stores, which was sort of a nightmare but also really fun,” she laughs. For her fall collection, which hits stores at the end of August, Stone says she was inspired by Greek opera singer Maria Callas and her tempestuous love affair with Aristotle Onassis. “I was really fascinated that she died of a broken heart; she sort of killed herself for her art,” says Stone. “So there’s one dress where I didn’t finish the seams, and it’s sort of falling apart at the edges.” Expect the same muted color palette punctuated by Stone’s signature cobalt blue, which she admits “just always makes its way in there.”

Where to buy: Stuart & Wright (85 Lafayette Ave between South Elliott Pl and South Portland Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-797-0011, and Steven Alan Annex (103 Franklin St between Church St and West Broadway; 212-343-0692,
TONY deal: Enter code “TONY15” when shopping online at to receive 15 percent off Mina Stone dresses through July 14.

MINA STONE | CAYCEE BLACK</a></p><p>See more Designer spotlight</p><p><a href="">More in Shopping



Who she is: The multitalented 29-year-old Parsons grad interned at Anna Sui and designed for Club Monaco, Tibi and Reed Krakoff before launching her own line in fall 2009. Since then, the Texas transplant has dressed rockers Regina Spektor and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Peggy Wang in her feminine garb, which she dreams up in her Greenpoint studio and fabricates in a midtown factory. “I like the idea of them in a pretty dress onstage with their guitar and little booties,” she says. “There’s always this element of playfulness.”

About the line: We can’t stop drooling over Black’s delicate draping, asymmetrical silhouettes and artistic prints, which stem from the photographs, drawings and watercolor paintings she creates. “It’s a very organic process,” she says. “It starts with [my paintings] and then I decide what canvas I want them to be put on with the fabric.” You’ll pay a pretty penny ($200--$800) for such wearable art, but Black’s timeless designs ensure you’ll get good mileage out of the pieces. In contrast to her menswear-inspired debut collection, which was inspired by film noir, spring’s assemblage of dresses, skirts, bodysuits and rompers are utterly girly and bright, taking cues from the 1965 Agnes Varda flick Le Bonheur, shot in Kodachrome film. “The story line is that it’s a dark fairy tale, so that’s really what my vision was,” the old-movie buff says. “I like playing with these juxtapositions of beautiful silks, but then the painting is kind of drippy and dark and there are cutouts in the back.” Black’s fall collection is headed in an even darker direction, full of jewel tones and velvet, and is expected to hit shelves in late August.

Where to buy: duo (337 E 9th St between First and Second Aves; 212-777-7044,
TONY deal: Mention TONY to receive 10 percent off Caycee Black’s pieces through July 15.

MINA STONE</a> | CAYCEE BLACK</p><p>See more Designer spotlight</p><p><a href="">More in Shopping