Friday, April 15, 2011

Project Alabama and Morgane Le Fay

When reading NYT's Thursday Styles yesterday, I lingered over one fact: Morgane Le Fay was the new design director of Project Alabama.

Morgane Le Fay (see above) is a favorite design label of mine. It's primarly designed by Liliana Casabal, who's known for her ethereal, floaty, assymetrical, knotty dreses as well as her architecturally interesting outerwear. I try to visit her shop in Soho (Is it there any more?  Something tells me it's gone . . .) when I go to the city. 

NB:  The lovely designer herself emailed to say that the Soho shop is indeed there.  I am very glad and will visit this summer encore une fois. 

Project Alabama was the brainchild of Natalie Chanin. She employed seamstresses in Alabama to handmake pieces that involved traditional stitchwork, like rough-hewn applique or quilt-inspired topstitching. Each piece was collectible.

 [Circa 2005, when Natalie Chanin was in charge.]

(But then, when production was outsourced to China and India, Chanin left and started another label, Alabama Chanin, to her specifications.)

[Natalie and a model; Alabama Chanin was a finalist in the Vogue CFDA/Fashion Fund awards.]

I thought it was rather curious that Morgane Le Fay would be directing Project Alabama, as their aesthetic is quite different (light v. heavy, for instance).

And so today I found a correction in the NYT: Charlotte Greenough is the new creative director of Project Alabama and will reinvent the label as a more moderately priced brand. Plus, she has designed for Morgane Le Fay, so perhaps we may expect a winning blend of homespun and ethereal.

[This is the new Project Alabama.]

Except that, alas, the clothes continue not to be "spun" at "home."


Jennifer said...

Morgane Le Fay still has a shop on Madison in the upper 60s or lower 70s... I used to gaze in the window when I worked in the neighborhood. Lovely.

Toby Wollin said...

Hunh. When I read the Project Alabama web site, there is this 'feel' that somehow this is Alabama based, a sort of dancing around the issue. They claim they learned all of this from seamstresses in Alabama and No good.

Miss Cavendish said...

Agreed, Toby. I was shocked when Natalie had to walk away from her company, because its very foundation--community-based sewing in Alabama--was going to be outsourced.

But she maintains that tradition in her new label, Alabama Chanin.