Masculine Feminine

NathanJendenOpen by Ranjani Gopalarathinam
In fashion, "it's important to have a reason to be," says designer Nathan Jenden, whose day job as creative director at Diane von Furstenberg left him with enough inspiration for his own womenswear collection. For fall 2006, Jenden demonstrates how everyday pieces can be bold and beautifully finished.
With full bows blossoming at blouse necks, and sleek beaded jackets cut like chromed, made-to-measure pieces, clothes to wear to work become dramatic and elegant. Elsewhere, blouse and dress sleeves arc up in circles, or descend gracefully down the arm like pagoda steps. "I'm into everything about architecture and sculpture," he says. "The clothes play with shape and proportion, and making a woman's shape better and stronger." This includes exploring a masculine/feminine silhouette in tie-waist jodphur pants and a tuxedo suit. Other shapes in the collection are futuristic but minimal, such as cut-out sleeves, wide, upright collars, and tight, spare vests.

I'm thinking beyond the season, when 25 years from now, your daughter [might] take out the same dress to wear.

Rattling off Galliano, Kenzo, and Daryl K as formative influences, Jenden says of his current employer, "Diane is a really interesting person who had lived this amazing life. Her office is chaos. Warhols, plastic palm trees. I thought, interesting room, interesting person." Just as he creates DVF collections that evoke different times in Furstenberg's life, he hopes that women will live with his clothes, too. "I'm thinking beyond the season," he says. "When 25 years from now, your daughter [might] take out the same dress to wear."
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He is better known as Diane von Furstenberg's right-hand man, but with an impressive—and expressive—fall debut, Nathan Jenden introduces us to a new kind of working girl.

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