Alena Fede, who launched her U.S. line in Charleston, is engaged by modern eclecticism. After launching herself in Russia, with the line Fede Grada, Fede came to the United States intending to settle in New York, but instead was drawn to Charleston's smaller, more welcoming fashion community. "It's easier to get known here," she says. "It's a good place to try to translate some of my Russian ideas."
Fede has clearly made the most of the opportunities presented by Charleston's growing fashion scene. Her self-named line earned her a spot as one of three finalists in Charleston Fashion Week's 2009 Emerging Designers competition.
The driving principle in her design is contrast. Her clothes combine different fabrics and textures in unexpected ways. A high tulle collar on a ruffled blouse paired with satin shorts takes on the edginess of a punk rocker's spiked leather. Elsewhere, a cocktail dress offers an unexpected twist on the bubble skirt with a skirt constructed of black tulle stuffed with white tulle. The ethereal effect lends a feminine innocence to the dress that offsets the more overt sexuality of the black lace bodice.
Throughout the collection, ruffles, tulle, and lace combine with softly draped dresses and tops to create a softer, more romantic silhouette punctuated by harder edges. She tries, in her work, to create clothes that project a modern sexuality and confidence.
For Fede, the "now" element is color. She sees fashion developing in the direction of a minimalist aesthetic, combining more somber colors with bright details and little jolts of color.
This winter is all about classic lines, elegant simplicity, and that "touch of avant garde." Tailored pieces that evoke the enduring style of Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly combine with modern touches to create an undeniably contemporary, but enduring, style.
The essential pieces for this season are classic stand-bys. Fede insists on the absolute necessity of, as Fede puts it, a "great" coat.
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