Before Caycee Black's splashy, painterly prints make it onto the folds of a silk dress or drapey skirt, they first overtake her apartment. "I have seventeen-foot ceilings and I fill the walls," she says. "Right now, my inspiration wall is covered with fabric swatches, old pictures from the forties, photos I've taken, and all my paintings." The Houston native has been painting since childhood, and her brushstrokes dictate the color palette and prints each season. Her visceral connection to the prints also affects the luxurious feel (and alas, price) of her clothes. "I’m kind of a purist," she admits. "Maybe it's because I'm so close to the artwork, but I gravitate toward really beautiful fabrics; no synthetics."
Black interned for Anna Sui while studying at Parsons. After graduating in 2003, she worked as a designer for Club Monaco, then Tibi, specializing in knitwear. She launched her own line in February of last year, drawing influences from sixties-era French films and ballet, evidenced in the clothes' soft ruffles and graceful draping (not to mention the flouncy-cool leotard on slide five. Despite her line's obvious femininity, Black scales back the sweetness with asymmetrical silhouettes and coy cutouts. As she puts it, "The highs and lows are unexpected." Black's spring 2010 line is stocked at Duo in the East Village; click ahead to see more from the collection.