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New York Fashion Week's designers to watch

These three up-and-comers need to be on your radar. Your wardrobe can thank us later.

Ji Oh

“It’s the lifestyle I’m seeing for the future,” Ji Oh says about her vision for Fall 2015. But before you imagine sleek Barbarella getups, the Korean-born, New York City-based designer’s latest collection is actually quite the opposite.

“I focused on lounge-y looks, because a lot of people work from home,” explains the 31-year-old Parsons and Central Saint Martins grad. Her ideal outfit for the self-employed: a cozy mohair or cashmere sweater, strappy structured tank and soft cable knit pencil skirt.

Sound like your dream pajamas? (“Exactly, I make sure you can go to sleep in it!” Oh jokes.) Actually, these minimalistic basics, grounded in the designer’s signature boyish attitude, take you right from the couch to the bar. And with androgyny and sweatpants trending on the runway, we’re predicting that this line — already stocked at Barneys and Intermix — will be your go-to in the very near future

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Charles Youssef

Charles Youssef creates clothes for #girlbosses.

“She’s more of a CEO or director,” says the Lebanese-born designer about his ideal customer. “She’ll wear a chic tailored dress in wool crepe with a blazer when she’s working, and then she’ll take it off and wear the same dress out for dinner — she doesn’t have time to go home.”

It’s no surprise, then, that powerful women gravitate toward the Parsons and Central Saint Martins alum. Lady Gaga bought pieces from Youssef’s graduate collection for her 2010 concert tour. Former Opening Ceremony buyer Kate Foley styled his NYFW debut last season (pairing Youssef’s deftly cut midi dresses with edgy Doc Martens was her idea). And consultant and street-style star Yasmin Sewell just signed on to head up his sales.

But the most validating moment yet for the 33-year-old — who held design positions at Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren before launching his own label last year? When Barneys placed an order for his spring line the day after his show. Exactly where Youssef’s power woman buys her armor.

Katie Ermilio

Elegant dressing is in Katie Ermilio’s blood. Her grandfather served as Grace Kelly’s clothier, and her father owns a bespoke menswear business in Philadelphia.

“I grew up around smart tailored suits and equestrian apparel,” says the 29-year-old.
The unofficial home-schooling has informed her own clean, polished design aesthetic.

But while it was her feminine party dresses that first attracted editors’ attention in 2010, Ermilio is now proving she has the chops to create functional, everyday clothes for women, too. To wit, her chic gray- and white-striped trousers, which we could definitely see ourselves living in.

And while stars such as Michelle Williams and Kate Bosworth have graced the red carpet in Ermilio’s lady-like creations, the designer’s muse stays in the family.

“At the risk of sounding cliché, everything Grace Kelly stands for is the kind of woman I’m designing for,” she says. “Her era was a time when women dressed, and my collection very much speaks to that.”

 
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