An extension of her Central Saint Martens graduate collection, ‘Sex Wax’, Louisa Ballou debuted her eponymous beach and swimwear label in 2019. Born in South Carolina, the young designer finds inspiration in her coastal upbringing, utilising her line to explore the rich subculture of surfing. The sensuality of water and its relationship to the body finds expression in Ballou’s dynamic collection, with her colourful one-of-a-kind prints making reference to the tropical environment in which she grew up.
Known for her vibrant prints and innovative silhouettes, Ballou creates bold, eye-catching statement pieces: nylon one-piece swimsuits and bikinis feature unexpected cut-out detailing, asymmetric constructions, and O-ring hardware embellishments while alluring mesh bodycon dresses offer an alternative to the more beachwear-inspired pieces in the collection. With a focus on quality and fit, Ballou’s line of versatile elevated swimwear staples strikes the perfect balance between functionality and seductive appeal. Offering an alternative line of contemporary beachwear, Ballou adds an exciting new voice to the world of luxury swimwear design.
The Kanye Co-Signed Label Is Building a Wardrobe of Wild Cards
Watch any home tour with a high profile designer and expect to find lavish rugs, coffee table art books, and mid-century modern credenzas. 27-year-old Maisie Schloss' pink Los Feliz apartment (which doubles as a studio for her newly-established womenswear label, Maisie Wilen), is unusually magical: a fashion funhouse packed with stretchy contortionist-like uniforms and circus animal figurines. Space Jam paraphernalia, ceramic swans, and baby-sized Yeezy Boosts coexist in perfect harmony. The atmosphere is a reflection of the Chicago-born designer's ethos: “One thing I struggle with when I get dressed is feeling like there’s this dichotomy between looks that are more pretty or flattering, and looks that are cool,” Schloss says. “I like to hit both of those worlds with my clothes.”
Today, Schloss is wearing a vintage blue 70s dress with puffy sleeves, multi-colored chunky sneakers, and a butterfly hair clip tucked into her long, beachy hair. Her two cats, Tina and Zoe (who appear in portraits both pinned to her wall and tattooed on her arm), join us in the living room, where Tina is showing off a custom, bright yellow Maisie Wilen neck scarf. Zoe helps herself to a drink of my water and Schloss giggles sheepishly, offering a fresh glass along with a slew of apologies. Her loud, over-the-top aesthetics contradict her shy demeanour and quiet creative process—she prefers to work in silence while the rest of the city sleeps.
Maisie Schloss, the designer behind the euphoric L.A.-based label, Maisie Wilen, is the first recipient of Kanye West’s Incubator grant for emerging designers. The Chicago native, who holds a degree from New York’s Parsons School of Design, spent three years working as womenswear designer for West’s coveted brand Yeezy, refining her craft, before launching her own line in 2019. Maisie Wilen’s singular aesthetic, one which has garnered industry-wide attention for its playful mix of sportswear with 90s-inspired eveningwear, has quickly established itself as a Kardashian-Jenner favorite. Inspired by rhythmic gymnastics and robots, Schloss’ collection is fluid yet calculated: ergonomic mini skirts, blazers, leggings, tops, and dresses feature nostalgia-inducing CPU-like graphic patterns. Constructed out of technical fabrics, Schloss’ form-fitting garments reveal sophistication in their subtle detailing: ruching, low back constructions, and cut-outs make for a collection that is equally irreverent in spirit as it is elegant in execution. Admist discreet references to her Yeezy past, Schloss has truly established Maisie Wilen as a one-of-a-kind label to watch.
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