Cali native Alexandra Groover hops the pond and stirs up two new lines worth talking about. By Erin Wylie
Although she intended to have a very quiet launch of her eponymous collection last fall, we find it amazing that no one has caught wind yet of 27-year-old Alexandra Groover.
A hyper-articulate RISD graduate from San Diego, Groover found life in Rhode Island to be "very detached from the actual world of fashion." So, she did what any precocious fashion-didact would: She decided to see what all the fuss was about at Central St. Martin's College in London (graduates, to name a few, include Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Hussein Chalayan). Discovering a new kind of risk-taking at school—and more of the same in the London fashion scene—Groover decided to set up shop across the pond.
Broken into a Gray (lower-priced and more casual) and a Black label (higher price points, verging on couture), the two lines work in tandem to fill every woman's need. "With Black Label, I noticed that most formal dresses followed the same traditional silhouette formula, and I wanted to challenge this." Based on the seashells that Groover collected as a child in California, the Black label features elegant gowns with articulated detail meant to mimic the inner structure of shells—such as a hood that functions much like the canvas top of a convertible.
The aesthetic is strikingly Japanese—a minimal black-and-white palette enacted with architectural precision—and modern yet timeless, making it no big surprise that Groover cites Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto as big influences. The Gray label also taps into the designer's Cali roots, with meditations on the ubiquitous black hoodie. "When I moved to Rhode Island with a suitcase full of California clothing, I found myself layering up several hoodies in order to keep warm during the nasty New England winters." Enter the sequitur 5-hooded hoody equipped with five faux hoods. Like the rest of the Gray label, it's edgy in a grungy way but still avant-garde and pulled together…all rather surprising from a California native who listens to WFMU and loves ferns—surprising and welcome, just the same.
Cali native Alexandra Groover hops the pond and stirs up two new lines worth talking about.