Is Miami soon to be the world's fifth fashion capital? With a remarkable pool of local talent, the city has become an incubator for startup luxury labels. Stylist Andy Faerman highlights the style stars of the Magic City.
The Cool Kid: Simonett
Simonett Kinu top and Halapi pants from the spring 2019 collection.
Simonett Pereira is a fashion wunderkind with an uncanny ability to understand—and therefore predict—exactly how the cool kids want to interact with fashion. Her designs (formerly under the name Style Mafia) are unexpected in that you never knew you needed a tangerine blazer with matching hot shorts until you see the set Pereira designed for spring 2019—and then want to wear it every single day, to work, on dates, for brunch with the family. “You can always find something unique, fresh and edgy that will make your outfit stand out,” says stylist and fashion blogger Andy Faerman. ”I am a big fan of her blouses paired with some Levis, the ultimate fashion girl must-have combo.”
The Jeweler With a Cause: Pili Restrepo
Pili Restrepo Aquilo pearl earrings.
“Pili (pilirestrepo.com) is not only an amazing jewelry designer; she is also creating awareness about the damaging effects of artisanal gold mining,” says Faerman. Artisanal gold mining is one of the most substantial causes of global mercury contamination, posing a significant threat to the miners (many of whom are women) and their families. It’s not something most of us think about when we slip on a stack of gold bangles, but Colombian-born Restrepo is working to raise awareness. On top of that, Faerman adds, “Her pieces are effortless and cool, just like Pili herself!”
The Showstopper: Katherine Cordero
Katherine Cordero’s Wynwood boutique.
“Katherine Cordero is the ultimate Latin American designer,” says Faerman. “Everything she does is handmade with materials she collects on her visits to Latin America.” You’ve likely seen Cordero’s statement earrings (woven Frida Kahlo faces with tassels and beads) and head-turning turbans (a riot of colors and textures) on Miami’s fashion set. The designs are bold, creative and incredibly covetable.
The Miami “It” Bag: Ximena Kavalekas
An XK x MM Capri handbag, from Kavalekas’ collaboration with Margherita Missoni.
“It” bags often come to us by way of the runways of Milan and Paris. They are the designer carryalls that capture the zeitgeist of the season. They are not always practical, but they are instantly covetable. We see them, we need them, and we inevitably go on a waitlist for them. They live in the crook of our elbow for a season—and then in their dust bag they go. What makes Ximena Kavalekas’ handmade python bags so unique is that, for starters, they are born in Miami, but they also feel both current and timeless. Or as Faerman says, “Her iconic bags are worth the investment because they are always in style.”
The Swim Star: Antigua Collection
Antigua Collection Flamingo print Hanbar long-sleeved top and bottom.
There are swimsuits that look great in photos but feel like they would disintegrate upon touching water. And there are swimsuits that you could spend all day splashing around in, but wouldn’t think of sharing a pic of on Instagram. Antigua Collection— designed by Silvana Isaacs— is so unique because the pieces are beautifully made, straddle the line between sexy and sophisticated, and look crazy good in your vacation snapshots. “My personal favorites are the one-pieces that can be worn to the beach or to dinner, with the right styling,” says Faerman.
The Art Shoe: Alepel
Rocky Barnes x Alepel Deeper Than the Sea mules.
Founded in 2014 by Adriana Epelboim Levy, Alepel is not your typical footwear brand. The shoes Levy designs in Miami (they are produced in Brazil) exist at the nexus of architecture, art and fashion. The booties, ankle-strap loafers and mules are striking on their own. But they become wearable art after they’ve been customized by artists who hand-paint designs onto the leather. The motifs range from orchids and butterflies to tigers and stars. And every pair is totally unique. “Alepel is the definition of hard-working mombosses who finally have their welldeserved success,” says Faerman.
The Cult Favorite: Soledad Lowe
Soledad Lowe earrings, bracelets and necklaces shown on artist and influencer Danie Gomez-Ortigoza.
Miami girls love a good pair of gold hoops. The bigger, the better. And Scandinavian/Argentine Soledad Lowe is the woman designing the best danglers in town. “Her jewelry has the perfect balance of chic and edgy,” says Faerman. “Her pieces are unique and strong; they are modern and can be worn every day. My personal favorites are the big gold hoops with black South Sea pearls.” In 2018 Lowe was recognized by Fashion Group International, receiving the Accessory Designer of the Year award, And her sculptural designs continue to push boundaries. Case in point: a collection of ear cuffs and drop earrings that are inspiring grown women across Miami to get second, third and even fourth piercings.
SIMONETT PHOTO COURTESY OF SIMONETT; KATHERINE CORDERO PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHERINE CORDERO; PILI RESTREPO PHOTO COURTESY OF PILI RESTREPO; XIMENA KAVALEKAS PHOTO COURTESY OF XIMENA KAVALEKAS; ANTIGUA COLLECTION PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTIGUA COLLECTION; ALEPEL PHOTOS COURTESY OF ALEPEL; SOLEDAD LOWE PHOTOS COURTESY OF SOLEDAD LOWE