Raquel Allegra: Distressed Designer

Raquel Allegra became an instant “It girl in the fall of ’08 when she launched her debut line of one-of-a-kind t-shirts reclaimed from the LA County Jail. Now the provocative designer, who formerly worked for Barneys New York and Issey Miyake, has launched her spring ’09 collection, which features vintage pieces redesigned with a modern interpretation.

The flowy, asymmetrical designs are feminine yet edgy, nostalgic yet futuristic. The lineup of deconstructed cotton kaftans, distressed tunics, shredded tanks, tasseled dresses, basic tees and tie-dyed gowns accentuate the body in a fresh, flirtatious way, that has an underlying grungy rock vibe. In subtle hues of black, gray, brown, beige and white, the garments fall into the chic, never-before-seen, utterly wearable, must-have genre. It’s no wonder celebrities and fashionistas from coast to coast, including Heidi Klum, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Richie and Mary-Kate Olsen are clamoring to get their hands on the them.

Every stitch, hemline, fold, tuck and twirl of the fabric is meticulously thought out. One must view the capsule collection up close to truly appreciate the distressing process, which can take up to 10 hours for one garment. The resulting fabrics offer different looks depending on how you wear and drape each piece. This ethereal look isn’t quite as modern in the men’s collection, and it definitely takes a guy with a strong rocker sensibility to pull off the look.

Overall, the ease and unobtrusiveness of this collection captured a lot of what LA fashion could and should be—and what distinguishes it from the rest of the world. We predict that Allegra and her designs are going to make a big splash this s/s ’09 and will be around for a long time to come.

The range is available at Curve, Maxfield and Switch in Los Angeles, and Assembly and Curve in New York. Online it’s available exclusively at www.shopflick.com.

—Candice Rafferty

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