Kokler's Summer Spring 2016


Coterie New York: Ones to Watch

Fresh faces and new lines to check out at the Coterie trade show in New York, Sept. 19 to 21 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.


From Disney star to TV producer to fashion blogger — Ashley Tisdale has accumulated many of the buzziest job titles for this millennium. She now can add another: creative director for Signorelli.

The new venture for the former “High School Musical” actress entails overseeing the development of a sportswear line launching next fall to complement the $39 graphic T-shirts that the 10-year-old brand sells at Nordstrom, Fred Segal, Von Maur and Lord & Taylor. Along with Meredith Garrett, who passed the creative direction duties to Tisdale but retains the position of president and chief executive officer at the Huntington Park, Calif., company, Tisdale is envisioning the addition of layering pieces and bottoms that can be dressed up or down, with retail prices capped at $120. In the meantime, she led the charge to finding the photographer, casting the models and styling the jetsetter-themed look book for the 70-piece spring collection.

I love being creative,” Tisdale said. “I love to mix high-end and low-end.”

Despite her lack of formal education in design, Tisdale grew up as the daughter of a fashion college graduate turned boutique owner. “I’m one who shops all the time,” she confessed. “My knowledge comes from being a fan of fashion.”

Garrett is an advocate of celebrity collaborations. She’s partnered in the past with Nicole Richie to create T-shirts for charity. Although Garrett met Tisdale a couple of years ago, the two reconnected recently when Tisdale started floating an idea to start her own clothing line. By taking on the role of creative director, the 30-year-old actress joins other famous fashion-loving personalities, including Russell Westbrook, Kerry Washington and Cameron Diaz, who all aim to do more than lend their names and faces to clothing, beauty and accessories lines in exchange for hefty fees.

I like that this is long-term,” Tisdale said. “Every product I do is a piece of me. For a long time, I wanted a clothing line.”

Not that Tisdale has much time to spare. Besides contributing to her two-month-old fashion site called The Haute Mess, she also serves as executive producer on the ABC Family comedy “Young & Hungry” and stars in “Clipped” on TBS and “Truth Be Told” on NBC.

She wants to work for it,” Garrett said. “It’s not about her ego. She’s really passionate about creating something that expresses herself.”

— Khanh T.L. Tran

Michael Maven

Established in South Africa by sisters Nadia and Natasha Michael just 18 months ago, Michael Maven makes its second appearance at Coterie this year, exhibiting in the New Designers Section, aiming to build traction in the U.S.

We’ve been in retail in South Africa, and it’s a much smaller market, not as developed,” Nadia said. “It tends to be risk-averse in terms of accepting and welcoming new brands.”

The retail scene at home is dominated by mid- to mass-market chain stores, so it made strategic sense to target the U.S. market. Nadia and Natasha, who are in their mid-20s, described their working relationship as being a joint effort.

“We basically do everything together,” Nadia said. “We decide what theme we want to go with in the design process, what our inspiration is and where we want to go with the line. We have our mood boards, then we go off on our own, but there’s a point when we meet to conceptualize, then put everything together. We also edit together. We basically see the process through together.”

Pared down classics with a sexy edge is this young brand’s signature.

“The Michael Maven woman is very much strong and confident,” Nadia added. “She’s astutely aware of her presence. Our aesthetic is effortless and we tend toward minimalism. With this upcoming collection, we decided to be a bit more adventurous, so we will be showing prints this time, whereas previously we had more muted tones, we had more clean lines. This time, it’s still the same Michael Maven, but with a slight departure.”

Nadia handles the marketing aspect of the business, while Natasha takes the lead with regard to production. The line is produced in Italy.

After its debut at Coterie last year, the line, which retails from $200 to $850, was picked up by the Dash retail network, in addition to a smattering of independent boutiques in Brooklyn and the Dominican Republic. Kendall Jenner and Zendaya are among the celebrities who have been spotted wearing Michael Maven.

We always like to give our wholesalers a good margin to play around with, so we normally give them a 2.7 mark-up to work with,” Natasha said. “I think it’s quite an accessible price point.

— Bambina Wise

Les Cinq

An Italian living in Paris, Les Cinq designer Lisa Traverso decided to start her own company after working for such fashion houses as Diesel, right after completing school in 2007, and Emanuel Ungaro, where she started after moving to Paris from her hometown near Venice, in 2009. She then spent two years working for Faith Connexion and has been a freelance consultant with Balmain and currently for Acne Studios.

Traverso started making gloves before expanding into a more varied sportswear collection. Living in Paris and regularly traveling gave her perspective on the contemporary women she saw around the world. Her customer is “looking for comfort and performance pieces, yet she’s carrying sophisticated and fashionable gear that she adopts in her everyday looks.

With an interest in extreme sports, street trends and manga, her collection features performance fabrics and high-quality leathers for an on-the-go customer, who is “a leader in everyday life…an adventurous explorer with a sharp, curious mind.”

Already selling at 10 stores in Italy and France, she aims to build global distribution through trade shows such as Coterie. Retail prices run from about $100 to $1,200.

Along with high-performance outerwear, Les Cinq offers base layers such as leggings, short-sleeve tops, zip-front jackets, dresses and jogging pants.

The collection addresses the growing desire for a wardrobe that mixes and matches fashion with activewear and performance pieces that offer contemporary urban silhouettes,” she said.

— Rosemary Feitelberg

Betro Simone

Stefanie Betro brings her early training as a ballerina and painter to bear when she designs her Betro Simone collection. Spaghetti straps and pieces with wrap closures that are typically worn by dancers feature in the line, along with painterly prints similar to Betro’s own works in watercolors.

The Los Angeles-based brand, begun in late 2014, interprets the city’s casual vibe with a decidedly contemporary spin. “L.A. has this typical Bohemian connotation,” Betro said, “but there’s a side that’s modern and forward.”

Betro favors simple, sexy cuts like halters and jumpsuits. “I was a ballerina for 15 years,” said the designer, who was a member of the California Riverside Ballet. “I also have a painting background. I’m inspired by sculpture and art and organic textures and shapes.”

Betro Simone in May was picked up by Nordstrom for 20 doors. “The collection sold out in the first two weeks,” Betro said. “Now it will be carried in all Nordstrom stores.”

Spring nods to the Seventies, but not the “Birkenstock Seventies,” she said. “It’s more of the late Seventies or early Eighties period of Polaroids and color saturation and Studio 54.”

At her first job, Betro found that she had an affinity for working with novelty dyes. A coworker suggested that she take some art classes and she enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. “It really helped me learn what colors will bleed and how they react to one another,” she said.

Betro’s foray in apparel design was for a company that made yoga and loungewear. She designed private label for Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, then launched the Tina + Jo label in 2012. She left that brand to strike out on her own with Betro Simone.

Daniel Guez of Blvd Brands, who in 2004 introduced the premium William Rast denim line with Justin Timberlake, reps Betro Simone.

Betro keeps pieces light and breezy with modal spandex, crepes and rayon spandex. Shorts retail for $58; tunics, $88; minidresses, $78, and maxidresses, $135.

— Sharon Edelson


Kökler is a cross-cultural melting pot.

Kokler Summer Spring

The collection’s name, which means “roots” in Turkish, is designed by the multinational triumvirate of Emine and Hatice Sagdic, sisters of Turkish descent who were raised in Germany, and Kleant Stasa, an Albanian. The collection is manufactured in Italy using Italian fabrics.

The Sagdics met Stasa while the three were studying fashion design at AFOL Moda in Milan. After cutting their teeth at various design houses — Stasa at G.C.C Studio, Ports 1961 and Mila Schön, and the Sagdic sisters at Class Cavalli —  they launched Kökler in 2013.

Hatice works on the collection full time, while her partners devote about 25 percent of their time to the brand, she said. Emine lives in Switzerland and works for her boyfriend’s jeans company, while Milan-based Stasa does tailoring for men’s suits.

They start planning a collection by Skyping, but always meet in Como, Italy, where Hatice lives, to finalize the line.

For spring, the team focused almost entirely on shirts. For their theme, they chose Nur Banu, the influential wife of Selim II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Born in Italy, Nur Banu was abducted and taken to the royal harem where she became the favorite of Selim II. She eventually became a cultural bridge between the Ottoman Empire, the Venetian republic and the duchy of Verona.

She was very strong and intelligent. She influenced the harem, the military and the system of education,” Hatice said, adding that Kökler created three shirt lines, each influenced by one of Nur Banu’s strengths, naming them Harem, Nizam and Ilim. “We like a woman with strength, but we also like some fragility.

She said the interplay between a woman’s two sides is achieved with fabrics such as cotton organza, satin and Egyptian cotton.

Kökler’s fall 2014 collection was shown at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York as part of the Italian emerging talents show. The label will present its Nur Banu line at Coterie, followed by the Pizzini Showroom in Milan.

 Source: WWD

Culture can be viewed as the customs, arts and social interactions of a particular nation, people, or other social group. It can also be defined as an appreciation of the arts and human intellectual achievement. In both views of culture, examples can provide a good way to get a quick understanding of culture.

Identifying the Cultures Around You…

Corporate Culture. Culture at work can be shown in a variety of ways including how people dress, how the offices are designed, how the employees are treated and the way the company interjects its culture into its products services and how it projects itself to its customers. The attitudes and ways in which people act are an example of the corporate culture at your office.

Culture of Diversity. You may live in a town that is very accepting of people of different races, genders, sexual orientations and national origins.

Popular Culture. The activities of the citizens generate the popular culture. What you listen to, what you read, what you wear and how you speak are all examples of your popular culture.

Foreign Culture. You might visit a new country and marvel at the way in which people in that country talk, think or act.

Recognizing Examples of Culture. You may not think about being exposed to these different examples of culture every day, but you intuitively know that there are certain attitudes, feelings and ideas that exist when you go to a certain place.

attitudes, feelings, ideas and things that you perceive as you go about your day are all examples of culture. These examples relate to the type of culture defined simply as shared attitudes, values and beliefs of a people.

This type of culture is important because it helps you to learn how to think, act and feel if you want to fit in with the mainstream. It also explains why you might experience culture shock when you suddenly move to a new country or start interacting with a new group of people who have very different attitudes and beliefs from the ones you are used to.

High Culture and Sophisticated Taste. While one definition of culture relates to the attitudes and beliefs of a group of people as a whole, there is also another definition of culture as well. This definition refers to high culture – culture, in this sense, refers to having what has come to be known as “sophisticated” taste in the fine arts or humanities.

Ironically, people who embrace “culture” of this type might tend to look down their noses at popular culture. The so-called “cultural elite,” therefore, often like to separate themselves from the culture as a whole.

Understanding Culture. Understanding the different meanings and types of culture is important. When you think about different examples of culture, it helps to give you a better understanding of the world around you and of the ideas, beliefs and values that you experience every day.

You can’t possibly be successful in business if you’re not deeply curious about other people.

Being successful at business requires many things: courage, creativity, people skills, and so forth.  However, there is one character trait whose importance is sometimes neglected: curiosity.

Curiosity is like one a Swiss Army Knife with all the attachments. It gets the job done in nearly every situation and is easy to access once you’ve got it in your tool kit. Curiosity helps you in:

Building customer relationships.  People are drawn to those who show interest in them.

Increasing your business acumen. Being curious about your own industry and the industries of your prospects drives you to learn more.  As you satisfy your curiosity, you’re augmenting your ability to add value to your customers’ business.

Solving customer problems.  It’s only possible to create a meaningful solution is you’re motivated by true curiosity about what’s actually going on and why those problems recur.

Negotiating win/win contracts.  Your ability to understand the positions of the other party are directly dependent upon your ability to feel true curiosity about them.

Correcting sales errors.  When a customer buys from somebody else (or doesn’t buy from anyone at all), if you’re not curious about what that happened, you won’t bother to find out why, and therefore can’t learn from your failures.

Creating great products.  Would-be innovators who aren’t curious about what makes people tick and why technology works (or doesn’t) can’t possibly create workable products or services that people want buy.

Motivating your employees. If you want to get the best out of people, you must be curious about their dreams and desires.

In short, curiosity at the core of every successful business effort.  If you don’t have curiosity, you can’t expect to be successful as an entrepreneur, a salesperson or as an engineer.

In any event, the relative complexity of different eras is of little matter to the person who is simply struggling to cope with it in everyday life. So perhaps the right question is not “Is this era more complex?” but “Why are some people more able to manage complexity?” Although complexity is context-dependent, it is also determined by a person’s disposition. In particular, there are three key psychological qualities that enhance our ability to manage complexity:

IQ: As most people know, IQ stands for intellectual quotient and refers to mental ability. What fewer people know, or like to accept, is that IQ does affect a wide range of real-world outcomes, such as job performance and objective career success. The main reason is that higher levels of IQ enable people to learn and solve novel problems faster. At face value, IQ tests seem quite abstract, mathematical, and disconnected from everyday life problems, yet they are a powerful tool to predict our ability to manage complexity. In fact, IQ is a much stronger predictor of performance on complex tasks than on simple ones.

EQ: EQ stands for emotional quotient and concerns our ability to perceive, control, and express emotions. EQ relates to complexity management in three main ways. First, individuals with higher EQ are less susceptible to stress and anxiety. Since complex situations are resourceful and demanding, they are likely to induce pressure and stress, but high EQ acts as a buffer. Second, EQ is a key ingredient of interpersonal skills, which means that people with higher EQ are better equipped to navigate complex organizational politics and advance in their careers. Indeed, even in today’s hyper-connected world what most employers look for is not technical expertise, but soft skills, especially when it comes to management and leadership roles. Third, people with higher EQ tend to be more entrepreneurial, so they are more proactive at exploiting opportunities, taking risks, and turning creative ideas into actual innovations. All this makes EQ an important quality for adapting to uncertain, unpredictable, and complex environments.

CQ: CQ stands for curiosity quotient and concerns having a hungry mind. People with higher CQ are more inquisitive and open to new experiences. They find novelty exciting and are quickly bored with routine. They tend to generate many original ideas and are counter-conformist. It has not been as deeply studied as EQ and IQ, but there’s some evidence to suggest it is just as important when it comes to managing complexity in two major ways. First, individuals with higher CQ are generally more tolerant of ambiguity. This nuanced, sophisticated, subtle thinking style defines the very essence of complexity. Second, CQ leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art (note: this is of course different from IQ’s measurement of raw intellectual horsepower). Knowledge and expertise, much like experience, translate complex situations into familiar ones, so CQ is the ultimate tool to produce simple solutions for complex problems.

Although IQ is hard to coach, EQ and CQ can be developed. As Albert Einstein famously said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Netflix FilmsWith season two of Netflix’s breakout hit Orange is the New Black now airing, I’m struck by a profound change in the psychological calculus of entertainment. Netflix has changed the game, and I don’t just mean the game of how shows are served to hungry eyes. I mean the game going on behind our eyes – the dynamics of restraint and gratification that our brains have for decades been trained to tacitly obey.

In case you haven’t watched the show, or other shows original to Netflix (like House of Cards), let me briefly explain. Netflix films an entire season of the show and then—against every convention inscribed onto the holy tablets of television—releases the entire season…all at once. When season two of Orange is the New Black aired on Friday, June 6, the whole season aired, front to back.

Hundreds of thousands if not millions of fans waiting for the new season were free to binge on every episode—and I’m willing to bet that by now a hefty percentage of those fans have re-binged, with many warming up for a third gorging.

Before Netflix introduced this format, we were still in the mode of weekly allotments of entertainment. HBO long ago christened Sunday nights as the time to receive our weekly dose of quality, commercial-free shows of choice, whether it’s The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Sex in the City, or more recently Game of Thrones (to name just a few of many legendary shows). All of the major cable and traditional networks offer something similar, but only the premium channels can offer the premium prize of hour-long, commercial free entertainment.

For all of those shows, we were (and largely still are) forced by the format to exercise delayed gratification. Even if you pirate episodes of the shows online, you are still, for the most part, restricted to imbibing only the shows that have already aired. Is that because HBO and Showtime and other networks are busy shooting the shows as the season rolls along? No. With few exceptions, seasons of those shows have already been shot from start to finish. The imposed restraint all of us viewers must obey is exactly that—imposed.

Think about that for a moment in terms of a laboratory experiment. If researchers wanted to test ways of increasing rats’ ability to delay gratification, they would place the rats in some sort of observational lab environment and provide them with disincentives for charging after a treat. Since all rats like a good treat, they would start with virtually zero ability to resist the urge to pounce on whatever tasty morsel is within eye or scent shot. But, with time, and with the right combination of disincentives (like slowly convincing the rats that the longer they wait to pounce, the more of the treat they’ll receive), even hungry rats can be trained to delay gratification.

In a sense, that’s what the Sunday night entertainment dosing model is for humans: delayed gratification linked to quality. We wait for the best shows on our weekly docket because we’ve come to believe that they are worth waiting for. An hour of well-written, well-acted, commercial-free entertainment is our weekly prize, and we’ve been trained to steady our appetite until it arrives.

For the sake of argument, I’ll submit that the standard delayed gratification model is a good thing for a few reasons. First, it provides us with something to look forward to each week, thus injecting a little more light into each of our days by knowing we’ll see our favorite shows come Sunday. That sense of anticipation provides a neurochemical boost—a sort of naturally occurring antidepressant.

Our continued desire for scheduled servings also keeps us involved—and it keeps us talking to others about the shows. As a catalyst for social interaction, the weekly dose brings us together. We are communally caught up in the narratives, and I think a sound argument could be made that even though the topics are fictional, we feed from the communal energy of knowing that thousands of people are thinking through the same plot lines we are.

Then there’s the more basic upside of not spending hours linked together like sausages watching every episode of the season (but on that point I’ll concede that whether we spend the hours all at once or once a week, we’re still spending them in front of the screen).

So what happens when Netflix releases an entire season of shows every bit as good as anything on premium cable channels? It’s as if all of the disincentives enforcing delayed gratification in our hypothetical lab rats have suddenly disappeared. The boundaries are cast to oblivion. The tasty treat is right there for the taking, and in a quantity that hardly any rat can resist.

Let me be clear: I love Orange is the New Black, and I’m nearly as big a fan of House of Cards. And to be frank, I’m personally struggling with the desire to binge on season two of Piper’s compelling travails. This is where I’m torn. Am I merely reacting to my years upon years of training to wait for my weekly reward, or is there something valuable lost in the binge?

For me, this is an intriguing if not troubling psychological spot. So let’s open the floor to opinions. Is entertainment binging a liberating break with decades of delayed gratification training, or are we giving up something worthwhile by dispensing with the restraint structure that dominated television until only recently? Is having it all upfront the way it ought to be, or a little too good for our own good?

By David DiSalvo
Source: Forbes

The culturally subversive content of Boccaccio’s Decameron continues to unnerve and divide scholars. What would inspire, in the middle of the 13th century, a work so marvelously anomalous, groundbreaking and alive? What would cause it to spread into an area in which religious forces continued to convey and control the ideas of authors such as Petrarch; indicating that the fourteenth century willed predominately to identify itself as a journey filled with tension regarding the renewal of Christianity and the attacks of Catholics who would eventually participate in the Scisma[1]?

Patrizia de Santis scrittirce regista acting coach miglior agente vip d'italia
Patrizia de Santis

The cultural and not ideological flaws, from which this identity derived, are revealed in the Decameron. The liberating and vital spirit that fill its’ pages appear almost heretical compared to the works of its contemporaries; and the Decameron has played against this since the time of its publication, as the fame immediately achieved by the work made Boccaccio an affirmed name. What did Boccaccio do then? He included an encrypted message in his 100th Novella through the creation of his character Griselda, one of the works’ most anomalous characters.

Griselda endures all of the abuse and insults, which a destiny of unhappy marriage reserved for her, by the hand of her cruel husband with humility. When the reader meets this character he does not perceive her to be a “Boccaccian” woman.

The reader who is aware of the correspondence between Boccaccio and Petrarch often asks why Boccaccio seems to be seeking through his Griselda a type of validation of the Decameron; a validation that would grant a pre-absolution from the severe judgment that that Church could have given his work.

mappa stellare enigma centesima novella Decameron Bocaccio Patrizia de Santis
Astral map

In her book, Boccaccio, L’Enigma della Centesima Novella, Patrizia de Santis attempts to answer these difficult questions. She reveals that Griselda, the most mild and resigned Character of the Decameron is actually an allegory meant to be interpreted in the exact opposite manner. According to de Santis, this is revealed through a series of hints and references which Boccaccio in a hidden but profound manner, spread throughout his Novella. These same references contain a message that might refer to the brotherhood of Girolami, which Boccaccio may have belonged to, (as was speculated by the scholar Renzo Moretti in 2005) having been appointed in 1334 to prevent the loss of the knowledge acquired by the order before their suppression twenty-two years beforehand. These theories are confirmed by a cycle of alfresco, related to the novella, in a Northern Italian castle. Twenty four paintings contain a map of the stars which serve to preserve the symbolic value of Griselda as an icon, according to de Santis, of the Graal; which would allude to the name chosen for her.

[1] Scisma- Italian word referring to a movement in the earlier centuries of the church by Catholics who due to a difference in opinion of the Catholic doctrine, broke away from the church to form their own religious communities.

By Giovanni d’Alessandro

Source: Il Centro