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The new guard of red carpet designers aren’t just dazzling us with inspired shapes, innovative embellishments and fresh aesthetics. They’re also sending powerful sartorial messages through their original visions, leaving anticipation for what they’ll do next. Perhaps at this year’s Met Gala?
From theatrical creations to sculptural pieces and red carpet moments with an edge, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at three designer brands to watch.
“Honestly, I think it’s better to be on the worst-dressed list than have a boring look,” says wunderkind designer Jackson Wiederhoeft of eponymous line Wiederhoeft. “Life is short and I would love to see people embracing the moment.”
The genre-redefining bridal designer made waves in 2021 with his theatrical creations. The 28-year-old’s debut ready-to-wear collection was seen on Gossip Girl’s Jordan Alexander, reinterpreting subversive wedding trousers, and Anne Boleyn’s Jodie Turner-Smith in harlequin-patterned corsetry. “I hope we can keep collaborating for some silly, gorgeous moments,” says Wiederhoeft, about working with Turner-Smith’s stylists Wayman + Micah, whom he met during his early days at Thom Browne.
Wiederhoeft’s 2022 is off to a great start. For the return of the Vanity Fair Oscars party in March, Saturday Night Live’s Chloe Fineman glowed in another bridal-meets-red-carpet confection: a powder blue, quilted corset gown, complete with a flowing chapel train.
“Let’s take a moment to manifest,” says Wiederhoeft for his 2023 wishlist. “Rachel Brosnahan, Awkwafina, Lil Nas X, Frances McDormand. … It’s also my dream to dress [Oscar-winning costume designer] Sandy Powell. She’s one of the most talented designers on the planet and I love the ideas of designers dressing designers.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute included an exaggerated Peter Pan collar mini-dress from Wiederhoeft’s fall/winter 2020 collection in this year’s In America: A Lexicon of Fashion exhibit.
On April 26, Wiederhoeft was named as one of 10 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund finalists.
Eternals star Gemma Chan commanded the 2021 Rome Film Fest red carpet in an out-of-this world, Swarovski-encrusted stunner by Seoul-raised and London-based Sohee Park, founder of Miss Sohee.
“It’s widely known that Gemma has been incredibly supportive of emerging designers, with a particular interest in amplifying Asian voices, so for us it was a no brainer,” says Chan’s stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray, who discovered the Central Saint Martins grad on Instagram. “Miss Sohee is unusual as a young designer because you don’t see many young designers coming through specializing in evening wear with an eye for couture detailing. She’s incredibly talented.”
Park was most recently invited by Dolce & Gabbana to show a full debut collection at Milan Fashion Week. Inspired by Minhwa, a traditional Korean folk art, the brilliant creations awed the most stoic of fashion arbiters. Cardi B, Blackpink’s Lisa and Bella Hadid are also fans of Mis Sohee’s sculptural, sustainably made red carpet custom-designs, while Rita Ora wore an embellished fall 2022 gown by the designer to the Vanity Fair Oscar party in March.
Celebrities have embraced the late Alber Elbaz’s tech-innovative and body-positive line AZ Factory since its 2020 debut. The Parisian house, following Elbaz’s death last year, recently unveiled a guest designer program inviting young global talent to create one-off ready-to-wear collections, starting with South African designer and 2019 LVMH Prize emerging talent winner Thebe Magugu.
For the red carpet, design director Norman Rene De Vera continues the beloved Elbaz’s joyful, welcoming legacy through bespoke reimaginings of signature silhouettes, like Jennifer Hudson’s and Alicia Keys’s triumphant 2021 Met Gala gowns.
He also created a fully-custom look — that channeled ’70s-era Cher — for Bridgerton breakout Simone Ashley at last year’s British Fashion Awards. “Norman brought the extra ‘wow’ factor with his suggestion that we use a fabric which had a liquid quality to it,” says Ashley’s stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray. “He is definitely one to watch for more beautiful red carpet moments with an edge.”
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