By Betsy F. Perry | January 24, 2017 | Style & Beauty
Escada folds four decades of heritage into a modern resort collection that shimmers in shades of water, sun, and sand.
The color-blocked ML40 bag ($1,295).
While many fashion houses change direction with each new in-house designer, Escada is approaching the grand age of forty without losing sight of what makes it special in the eyes of its faithful followers, while simultaneously offering “classic cool” to seduce younger fans. “In fashion, reaching 40 years is a great accomplishment,” says Escada’s fashion director, Daniel Wingate, of the label’s upcoming milestone. “It’s an honor that so many women still love the brand and turn to Escada to make them feel beautiful.” With that in mind, Escada has created a bright, vivacious resort collection laced with modern elements, but which, Wingate adds, translates the brand’s heritage for today.
Wingate turned to David Hockney’s celebrated pool paintings—those modernist emblems of 1960s California cool—for his initial inspiration. Describing the collection as a “wink to the bygone era of famous swans like Babe Paley and Jackie Kennedy and the glamorous days of Hollywood,” he embraced super-fresh colors with names like Melrose pink and Mimosa yellow, along with shades of blue (a particular obsession in Hockney’s aquatic series). Key pieces include pencil-striped coats with matching dresses and cigarette pants worn with fortune cookie-shaped tops tied at the waist with karate-style belts.
Wingate’s other inspiration, of course, is the “Escadettes”—the designer’s name for his loyal clients—who look to the brand to expand their wardrobes as they prepare to winter in toasty, sun-filled resorts. “They’re adding some wonderfully feminine but simple shapes in vivid, fresh colors, the head-to-toe tonal ones and the white and black grouping, along with the striped pieces that bring in all colors of the collection,” he says. “It’s also time to be more playful with your clothes.” To that end, he encourages his clientele to try a jumpsuit, belt the waist over a coat, and even experiment with a top worn back to front.
Daniel Wingate, a 14-year veteran of Escada who has been fashion director since 2013, inflected the 2017 resort collection with mod touches, such as blacks and whites and pencil pants.
The collection, which makes stylish dressing practically foolproof, also borrows from the past—specifically, the custom-made mint cowl-neck gown that Kim Basinger wore when she won the Oscar for best supporting actress for L.A. Confidential in 1998. Wingate has adopted the flattering neckline for a Mimosa yellow dress as well as for hip-length, waist-skimming tops with deep backs that can be worn with conservative white slacks or chic ankle-length pencil pants. And peeking out from both pants and dresses are metallic slides in silver, gold, or bronze that Wingate calls “Frank Gehry buildings for the foot.” Although accessories are minimal, Escada has introduced its chic new ML40 handbag—available in eye-popping colors—to commemorate the company’s upcoming 40th birthday and recognize Escada’s founder, Margaretha Ley.
While the 2017 resort collection has pieces reminiscent of a more unhurried age, when women seemed to have all the time in the world to get themselves together, it’s still as modern and polished as the woman who wears it today—one who needs to keep it stylish but without over-thinking her wardrobe. For Wingate, it amounts to a simple design credo: “Be relevant.” Saks Fifth Avenue, 5555 Wisconsin Ave., 301-657-9000
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF ESCADA