NILI LOTAN

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NILI LOTAN
   
r u n way
NILI LOTAN
Rhapsody’s monthly look at what’s currently inspiring a top designer
Photograph by LIMOR GARFINKLE
“
I
THINK the fact that I work in TriBeCa and grew up in
Tel Aviv has contributed to it,” says Israeli-American
designer Nili Lotan of her signature worldly style, which
blends expert tailoring with earthy fabrics like silk, linen and
wool. The New York–based Lotan, a onetime senior designer
at Ralph Lauren who launched her own line in 2003, draws
inspiration from destinations as diverse as Antarctica, Africa
—
and Ireland. As one would expect, the mood boards for her
pre-fall 2014 collection and first-ever jewelry line (due out
this summer) match her passport-stamped sensibility. Yet
while her influences are largely pastoral, the end result is
unequivocally cosmopolitan. “My customer is a city customer,”
she says. “It’s women who live in big cities and lead a hectic
life. So I always try to be very functional.” —ERIN BRADY
1. ON THE TRAVEL PHOTO: This is a village of maybe five or six houses.
People live the nomadic way. In these houses, there are women
who are actually helping me execute my jewelry.
2. ON THE ANGELA FISHER IMAGE: I was really inspired by two beautiful
photography books. One of them is a book by Angela Fisher, who
kind of made it her life mission to photograph jewelry in Africa.
3. ON THE CORN COB: This is the shape of a necklace that I’m doing,
but a little rounder. [The beads] look like they’re repetitive, but
they’re not really the same.
4. ON THE JEWELRY SKETCHES: [These necklaces] have different sizes of
beads and different lengths. They come in gold and silver and
then at the end there’s a signature coin with my initials on it.
5. ON THE PRINTED CLOTH: These are prints that I developed that I’m
going to use for dresses and tops. It will come in sheer and shiny
opaque silk. The bigger one I call “frost print,” and the smaller
one I call “winter night.” To me, it’s like the night in Alaska.
6. ON THE SWEATERS: These are all the textures that I was inspired
by—very Nordic, Irish, all these Aran [Islands] sweaters.
7. ON THE DENIM SAMPLES: I develop my own colors for jeans, so I buy
the fabric and then work on different shades of black, different
shades of white—everything.
8. ON THE SLEEVES: Before I start tailoring coats, I take the fabric and
make a sleeve and try different linings and different fusings to see
which one I like the most, and then I go into making a full coat.
9. ON THE COATS: Some of these coats are very structural, some of
them are more like a cocoon, like a wrap. It all goes back to
Antarctica. A lot of them have hoods, and they kind of wrap you
inside and cover you.
march 2014
— 

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