Oh I do love discovering new designers. Not that I actually discovered Alexander Lewis (or anyone else for that matter) in the traditional sense, but I’ve only just recently introduced to the label and considering how incredibly covetable his designs are, it only seems fair to pass the introduction along. I was lucky enough to hear about Lewis a few weeks ago during a trip to KCD Publicity’s London HQ. Given that KCD’s clients include some of the world’s most in-demand brands – think 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang and Prabal Gurung – any designer on their roster is bound to be pretty damn good. One glance at the Alexander Lewis lookbook confirmed that “good” doesn’t even begin to describe his work.
The American-Brazilian designer was born in Chicago and schooled at prestigious English public school, Harrow before heading back stateside to study Business & Communications at the University of California where he indulged his lifelong fascination with fashion by writing a thesis on gender and sexuality in the work of John Galliano. After stints at legendary Los Angeles vintage store, Decades and assisting the even more legendary Vogue Editor-at-Large, André Leon Talley. Next Alexander returned to London to work as a personal shopper at Harrods before going on to apprentice at London tailors, Norton & Sons. In between his trans-Atlantic education and diverse induction into the world of fashion, Lewis spent holidays at his family’s home in Bahia, an experience which, along with his time on Saville Row would go on to greatly inform his design aesthetic. Immaculate English tailoring with a Brazilian twist… Cross cultural sartorial fusions don’t come much sexier than that and Lewis’ debut womenswear collection for Resort 2013 served up elegant seduction in spades. It was, however, the Pre Fall 2013 lookbook that I was introduced to at KCD the other week. Don’t hate me for saying this but some of those ensembles had me yearning for September to just hurry up and get here already. Featuring delicate pastels, subtly shimmering metallics, sleek suiting and several truly fantastic knits, Alexander Lewis’ next (pre) season offerings strike the perfect balance between androgyny and girlish prettiness. The years spent learning the fashion industry inside out have evidently left the designer well equipped to provide fashion forward females exactly what their wardrobes need.
One of the things I find most intriguing about Lewis – aside from his clothes which are, for want of a better word, awesome – is the designer’s business acumen. While reading up on him to write this piece, I stumbled across an article on Business of Fashion in which he explained that despite having a pretty solid vision of what his debut collection “was going to be about (he) put that on the shelf and spent a lot of time working on pure business research and building (a) business plan.” In the light of the ever more strongly articulated emphasis on commerce as an essential counterpart to creativity within London fashion circles, I thought this was interesting. With no formal training or Central Saint Martins degree, Lewis has launched his brand on the back of practical work experiences in areas of the industry ranging from buying to styling and several years carefully calculated commercial planning. Of course that’s not to say inspiration and innovation don’t come into Alexander Lewis’ collections, one need only glance at those mesmerising prints and ingenious textural compositions to know the man’s got serious talent. But in many ways it seems that Lewis perhaps encapsulates the young designer of tomorrow; a designer every bit as comfortable handling fiscal reports as fabric swatches. I suspect, and sincerely hope that these qualities will leave us lusting after his label in thirty plus years time.
As per usual, Avenue 32 spotted an exciting new label and snapped it up tout suite! Shop the current Alexander Lewis collection here.
Love Ella. X