Writer: Seth Friedermann
Photographer: Adrianna Favero
Joel Diaz and Christina La Pens’ Fall 2011 collection continued the striking new direction they forged last season. While they continue to maintain their trademark of manipulating fabric through imaginative construction and technique into unique and stunning shapes, they now do so in garments that are very easy to wear and integrate into your existing wardrobe. The challenge of the marketplace is sometimes very good for designers. It doesn’t always force them into some sort of hackneyed compromise, designers can use their imagination to re-envision how they express their own core design principles while still maintaining integrity and finding expressions that are retail-friendly, yet still very much their own.
With their Fall 2011 collection, presented at the CFDA Incubator, Mr. Diaz. and Mrs. La Pens have created a tight capsule-sized collection wherein each piece performs beautifully, functionally, and practically, but is a striking and unique design. Jackets and coats, dresses and separates, each beautifully made and bewitchingly distinctive. Particular favorites were a gold wrap-around jacket and an astonishing red dress. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, wore a Jolibe piece on her Christmas vacation and it created a nice buzz for the brand. However, it is the couple’s imagination, talent, and business savvy that have the best chance of carrying Jolibe deep into the future of American fashion.