“Do one thing and do it well” is a maxim that resonates with Julien David. The 31-year-old Paris-born, Tokyo-based designer worked at Narciso Rodriguez and Ralph Lauren, and freelanced for Surface to Air Japan, but didn’t start his own label until two years ago, after a stay in Tokyo exposed him to the possibilities of Japanese textiles. “They love softness here,” he says from his Aoyama office. Also impressed by the Japanese approach to streetwear merchandising—“you only do T-shirts or hats or sneakers, not a whole collection,” he says—David started off with just silk scarves. Made of extrasoft twill in shawl proportions, his first run was full of graphic Pop prints inspired by free-style skateboarding.
After growing account by account (Barneys New York and the Webster in Miami were early buyers), David was able to turn his attention last year to his first love, tailoring. His debut collection of black coats is a meditation on the form. Each of the eight styles, now available at Colette in Paris, Mameg in Los Angeles, and boutiques throughout East Asia, is made of cashmere-soft black wool and lined in featherlight silk satin. Silhouettes range from elongated and sleek to full volume, and all of them come with cheeky references. David’s best-seller so far—a slim, low-slung, double-breasted topcoat with extended tapered sleeves—was inspired by sagging work pants; a rounded shoulder was modeled on the perfect curve of a prescription pill. No wonder we’re hooked. —Alexandra Marshall
It’s hard to imagine calling a 20-year-old designer a fashion veteran. And yet that’s exactly what Pedro Lourenço is. Like many kids who eventually grow up to join the profession, he spent his childhood sketching and playing with fabric; unlike most, he also learned how to cut, sew, and produce clothes. At age 12 he became the designer for Carlota Joakina, a diffusion label owned by his mother, São Paulo–based avant-garde designer Glória Coelho. While Coelho wished that her son would maintain some normalcy for his age—“I always told him, ‘Pedro! Come on, go out, have fun!’”—she had known since he was a toddler that standing between him and a pair of pinking shears would be dangerous.
The local press subsequently turned Lourenço into a star, and by 2005 he had started creating high-end capsule collections for private clients. The next stop: Paris. A few months ago Lourenço staged his first show totally independent from his parents, at the Westin hotel. (Okay, his father, Reinaldo Lourenço, another highly respected Brazilian designer, was backstage helping stylist Brana Wolf steam the coats.) Lourenço’s 25 looks were graphic and sleek, using stiff, vertically suspended plastic and leather panels to create structured dresses inspired by Oscar Niemeyer’s sculptural buildings. Flashes of transparency sexed up the cerebral.