- Edited by Vivian Kelly
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009
KRELWEAR: Designer KARELLE LEVY invites you to “come get your thread on!”
Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images of KRELwear, courtesy of Edite
Portrait of Karelle Levy, from the official website
Unfortunately, due to an overscheduled Fashion Week, we missed out on Karelle’s Bryant Park Hotel event, but caught-up with her one-on one while waiting for the WILLIAM RAST show to go off.
The “Come Get your thread on!” event is about Karelle’s quickie couture service [ KREL-2-GO]for women, men, kids and pets.
HOW IT WORKS
Clients choose their favorite fabric to be fitted into a variety of options based upon the company’s signature tubular construction. You’ve the option of going glamorous and glittery or luxuriously matte. Pieces and silhouettes range from Tank tops, sweaters, dresses- sleeveless or not, boatneck or turtleneck. Whichever you choose, KRELwear will custom fit the fabric to flatter your shape. Each KREL-2-GO piece is one-of-a-kind, and takes an hour or less to create.
KRELwear was launched as an innovative knitwear brand in 2004, at the GenArt Fresh Faces of Fashion, debuting its first collection of one-of-a-kind, hand-knit “deconstructed” dresses and separates made with tubular knitting techniques. We met Karelle not long afterwards, while attending a round of Miami FUNKSHION Fashion Shows. The highlights of the week were Brad Batory and his INDASHION line [he’s gone on to win MTV’s “GLAM GOD” contest] and Karelle Levy.
A PRIVATE TOUR
We were delighted at how far Karelle has come and reflected on the time we spent with her a few years ago while in Miami for FUNKSHION.
Karelle took us to her Miami workrooms/studio in her red Mini Cooper and showed us the machines she creates her unique knit pieces with. The closest thing to a KREL design that we can think of is the lovely French PIERROT collection of hand knits and crochets that stopped showing in New York several years ago.
These days, Krel’s line is more polished and the garments better finished, but the tone is still bohemian. Although this “free spirit” vibe may not SOUND commercial, it has gotten a lot of play in fashion, starting with the iconic photograph of Talitha & Jean Paul Getty Patrick Lichfield took in the 1960's on a Marrakech rooftop. The couple were the embodiment of a certain kind of 1960s glamour, a hippie-de-luxe look, which you can see in today's Marni collections.
While we liked the concept Karelle was putting across in our Miami studio visit, as well as how comfy the clothes felt, the clothes did not yet possess enough commercial appeal. We guessed that back then, KREL was targeting a small niche market that wanted that deconstructed Martin Margiela –like look in their closets.
This season there was a lot of talk amongst retailers and press about “survival” and “Darwinism”. When we went up to EDITE, co-owner Rachel Paletsky showed us a collection that has clearly evolved and is finding a stronger direction. Karelle has stayed true to herself, but moved forward. She’s still combining minimal cuts with unique textiles, creative construction, and a mixture of fibers.
There are still those original distressed KREL knits, but there are also some patently saleable pieces in the simple yet sophisticated silhouettes that make for perfect casual dressing. These will appeal to a wide range of women – from working women [Casual Fridays] to women in the arts, to soccer Moms striving for a fashionable yet comfortable look.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Karelle Levy (1975) was born in Paris, and raised in Miami by a Swedish mother and Tunisian father. As a child she was surrounded by arts and crafts, music, dance, and fashion which all play a role in her design. She studied textile design at Rhode Island School of Design. This led to the beginning of knitting fabrics as wearable garments and costumes. As a performance artist, making costumes for her progressive performances cultivated into the first fashion forward pieces of couture and ready to wear lines. She’s had editorial mentions in all the top publications including The New York Times, Ocean Drive, Women’s Wear Daily, Lucky, The Miami Herald. KRELwear is available in over 40 boutiques in the US, Europe, Russia, and Japan. Add to that, the 3rd prong in her strategy – excellent PR, via Rachel Paletsky and the gang at the Edite Showroom in New York.
As we told Karelle at RAST, we had recently re-discovered arm warmers. A week later, we got a pair of red and black KRELwear ones in the mail. They’ve made a stylish addition to our Nanuc of the North winter in the country wardrobe!
KREL Studio: 180 NW 25th St., Miami, FL
For Sales Inquiries contact Nalini Periasamy via email email@example.com or 212.967.0202
For Press Inquiries contact Rachel Paletsky via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.967.0202
The official website, www.krelwear.com