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The New Luxury: 12 Labels Redefining Fashion

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    At the dawn of a new year, it's not just our nutritional regimes getting a once-over. Every corner of our lives is, once again, under the microscope...and, yes, that includes the labels that fill our closets. If you're like us, financial freedom and sartorial satisfaction hold plenty of value in the canon of an independent woman's desires, which is why, at this turning of the calendar, we're so fixated on fashion's ongoing shift toward a new kind of luxury.

    What was once defined as decadent and exclusive (think a $50,000 monogrammed Kelly bag), is now being re-imagined by a vibrant influx of designers and labels creating fashion that possesses the same stylish impact as a pricier luxe of yore. Thanks to designers and brands like Alexander Wang, Raoul, Acne, Sandro, and Maje, luxury is no longer simply about rarity, workmanship, and exorbitant cost. In the modern world, it is about individuality, quality standards, a powerful eye for progressive design, and yes, functionality, too. Moreso, the New Luxury is made for real women — women with strong opinions about their personal style and the pieces they purchase, not to mention how those pieces make them feel: confident, beautiful, and unique. And back to that functionality mention, real women want to wear their clothes, not just moon over them hanging in their closets.

    Yes, the thing of luxury will always mean the fancy floor at Bergdorf Goodman or the latest It bag bejeweled with canary diamonds (we're sure it's on the way). But the fundamental idea of Luxury in 2013 is so much more than that. And, now, add to that another trend emerging: Contemporary designers being tapped to lead historically luxe labels — including Wang's new post at Balenciaga and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim's glorious revival of Kenzo. These brands are not just becoming an integral part of the luxury fashion world at large, but they're setting new standards for what true sartorial satisfaction can be. And we say, amen to that!

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