The meteoric rise of fledgling label Monse, from conception to iconic in three short seasons, is nothing short of a real life fashion fairy tale, complete with hard work, romance and a fairy godfather named Oscar de la Renta.
Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia met almost a decade ago while working for de la Renta. While both started their fashion careers as interns for the illustrious brand, Kim worked her way up to be appointed as studio director and head daywear designer, while Garcia worked as an evening wear designer for the brand, communicating with celebrity clients and stylists. When Peter Copping was named the successor to de la Renta, the couple, who had been briefly engaged, branched out and combined their years of design experience together to create their own label, Monse. Having been in the fashion industry for many years, the duo relied on their extensive rolodex of connections, and before their first show even debuted at NYFW, fashion influencers such as Amal Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker had already been photographed wearing the new Monse collection.
When Monse finally took to the runway during New York Fashion Week in the fall of 2015, there was already much buzz surrounding the brand. The cornerstone of their DNA fell in the reimagining of a classic menswear shirt, reworked in imaginative ways to be both feminine and fashion forward at the same time. Creating a recognizable staple piece in their debut collection was a crucial element for the future success of Monse. It allowed buyers to recognize their work and design esthetic (as seen on Selena Gomez almost immediately after the runway took place). As the brand evolved throughout their follow up collections, so did their celebrity client list. Oscar winner Brie Larson wore Monse on the red carpet; Sienna Miller wore a pin striped shirt dress on the Tonight Show and Blake Lively owned her baby bump in a navy blue Monse mini dress.
Less than a year after Monse debuted, it was announced that Copping would be parting ways with de la Renta. The news broke soon after that Kim and Garcia were heading home, back to the design studio where they first met, and were taught by de la Renta himself, as co-creative directors for the house. The placement was an obvious and strategic decision, as the success of Monse and the youthful, modern esthetic of the two designers will no doubt breath fresh air into the Oscar de la Renta brand. Monse devotees need not fear however, the duo plan to continue the label, this time backed by the de la Renta house, which will provide support and funding. Kim and Garcia’s first collection for Oscar de la Renta will debut in the Fall/Winer 2017 season, and the fashion industry is eager to see what new life they will bring to the brand as their fairy tale careers continue to grow.
Written by LIZ KRAMSKY
Photos courtesey of elle.com, telegraph.co.uk, nytimes.com, vogue.com, teenvogue.com, monse.com
Visual editor MARIA JOSE GONZALVEZ