The New York juggernaut for the next generation of design talent has reached a fever pitch in recent seasons. Characters from Lars Nilsson, formerly creative director at Bill Blass to Heatherette, have been touted as the next wave of talent, but a recent viewing of an off fashion week, (off all conventional fashion calendar scheduling for that matter) unveiled an underreported-on, meta-gifted star waiting in the wings. The name is Shelly Steffee. A designer of the seasoned variety, Steffee has held senior design posts at a variety of American fashion companies. Her namesake line is building an image around a sprawling salon type space in NYC’s Meat Packing District and crafting a decidedly American design language easily suitable for the European stage. Fall played with juxtapositions: structural and fluid (detailed leather jackets and wispy silk skirts), utility and ethereal (heavily pocketed and seamed coats and clingy jersey dresses) and aggressive and sweet (tough girl boots paired with drop dead gorgeous flowing satin dresses). Colors? A strong suit runs the gamut from steel gray to chocolate brown and even a chilled blue and white. So while the masses go ga-ga for Jeffrey and stylists are sweating Stella, slip around the corner to Gansevoort Street, where Steffee sells her line exclusively.
- Jason Campbell