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The Indie Buying Guide

Twelve new talents to check out for fall

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Benjamin Cho

  • Known for: Exquisite detailing: In previous seasons, entire dresses have been crafted from braided silk fringe.

  • What to buy: Cocktail dresses. Cho's are decorated with bits of ribbon and his signature hand-braiding (from $1,500). Also great this season are leggings that resemble high-top sneakers, lacing all the way to the upper thigh ($750).

  • Where to buy it: Private order (917-606-0683).

Zero
  • Known for: Comfortable separates with eye-catching, avant-garde cuts that call to mind Belgian greats like Anne Demeulemeester.

  • What to buy: Pegged cargo pants and an exceptional collection of deceptively simple capes, jackets, and coats (from $590 to $720).

  • Where to buy it: Zero (225 Mott Street; 212-925-3849); Barneys New York (660 Madison Avenue; 212-826-8900).

Mint
  • Known for: Affordable retro basics that are the slightly grown-up counterparts to what you'll find at Marc by Marc Jacobs -- but they're trickier to get your hands on, so you won't suffer from Attack of the Clones.

  • What to buy: Bright, shrunken jackets, like a tweedy blazer in subtle aqua ($310) and a quilted Chinese-style coat ($310).

  • Where to buy it: Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Avenue; 212-753-7300).

James Thomas
  • Known for: Sophisticated urban clothes with an almost thirties-style drop waist. He's great for lean silhouettes and generous lengths.

  • What to buy: Thomas's draped tuxedo is the ultimate in louche chic (tuxedo jacket, $800, and pants, $520).

  • Where to buy it: Private Order at Greg Mills, Ltd., 212-391-0050.

Behnaz Sarafpour
  • Known for: Sarafpour's collections are polished, chic, and sophisticated. She does suiting well but is best-known for her soft-edged, romantic dresses and ankle-skimming skirts.

  • What to buy: We're wild for the floor-length, periwinkle Grecian gown with the poetry of Herman Melville inscribed in the seams ($1,740).

  • Where to buy it: Barneys New York (660 Madison Avenue; 212-826-8900); Kirna Zabête (96 Greene Street; 212-941-9656).

Peter Som
  • Known for: What Som calls "maximal minimalism": sleek, pared-down designs executed with luxurious fabrics and techniques. Think Calvin Klein meets Helmut Lang meets Michael Kors.

  • What to buy: Wool-jersey pencil skirts with leather finishings ($375) and his sleek knit-and-leather trench ($1120).

  • Where to buy it: Henri Bendel (712 Fifth Avenue; 212-247-1100).

Jean Yu
  • Known for: The softest silk made-to-measure lingerie (she's at work on slips to match every flesh tone) and fancy silk dresses that are incredibly feminine, with subtle Deco touches.

  • What to buy: Invest in a handmade, bias-cut dress. The frocks are dressy, precious, and likely to be in your closet forever ($1,100–$1,800).

  • Where to buy it: 3 7=1 (37 Crosby Street; 212-226-0067).

Martin
  • Known for:Hip and sweet streetwear: fancy T-shirts and rock-star jeans with some of the lowest rises in town.

  • What to buy: Go for the tops. Grecian draping is designer Anne Johnston's specialty, and she applies it to soft jersey T-shirts ($109–$175). Also, try her knee-length skirts in basic fabrics; they're demure, but they have tough, shredded edges ($265).

  • Where to buy it: Martin (206 East 6th Street; 212-358-0011).

Tess Giberson
  • Known for: Handwork. Giberson spends between two and six hours on every garment. For some, she reinvents fabrics by delicately shredding and reworking them; for others, she creates texture with an accumulation of stitches.

  • What to buy: Boiled-wool knit tops. One in ivory has necklines made of lace and is hand-silk-screened with an autumnal scene by Giberson's husband, painter Jon Widman ($400).

  • Where to buy it: Seven (180 Orchard Street; 646-654-0156); Barneys New York.

Michael Soheil
  • Known for: Tailoring. His best pants and jackets are made from the softest calf leather, which he ruches with a delicate precision.

  • What to buy: Go for a narrow leather suit. If you don't have the guts to wear it all at once, there's much mileage to be gotten from the separates ($200–$2,500).

  • Where to buy it: Henri Bendel (712 Fifth Avenue; 212-247-1100).

Lucy Barnes

  • Known for: Sweetly sentimental dresses and skirts that incorporate vintage fabrics and techniques. Barnes's workshop produces some of the most beautiful embroidery in town.

  • What to buy: Delicate, lacy camisoles ($100– $500) and patchwork skirts incorporating vintage fabrics, hand-beading, and embroidery ($1,000–$1,600).

  • Where to buy it: Lucy Barnes (117 Perry Street; 212-647-0149).

Ulla Johnson

  • Known for: Masculine classics -- sailor trousers, henley tees -- shrunken to sexy proportions. Johnson's specialty is her fit.

  • What to buy: "I've spent forever perfecting my pants!" Johnson explains of her slouchy flat-front trousers ($220). Also exceptional are her sweaters: fitted cashmeres with touches like leather-covered duffle buttons ($290–$365).

  • Where to buy it: Hedra Prue (281 Mott Street; 212-343-9205).

PLUS: Sick of seeing your new blouse on every hipster in town? The city's crop of young, independent designers are ready to give you something original, personal, and maybe even meaningful. Read Fashion's New Wave


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