Until fairly recently, Escada didn't make much of a splash on the red carpet. But under the direction of design director Daniel Wingate and some astute marketing savvy, the German fashion label has became an awards show favorite.
At the Emmy Awards, Viola Davis won raves for a violet-blue paillette-embellished gown from the Escada resort collection, while Edie Falco dazzled in a long draped royal blue silk dress with a train from the label's fall collection. Audra McDonald picked up her sixth Tony Award in an Escada red flower print gown, while young Hollywood types like Camila Alves, Kat Graham and Miranda Kerr have gravitated to the label.
Wingate has infused a youthful spirit into the venerable brand that launched in the 1970s as a knitwear business and gained wide popularity with flashy prints, bold colors, structured jackets and fitted skirts. The worldwide recession plunged the company into bankruptcy in 2009, but now it's back with a flourish.
Wingate has concentrated on versatile, statement pieces that a woman can personalize with other favorites already in her closet, as well as entrance-making evening gowns. During my stop at the showroom during New York Fashion Week, Escada exec Rebecca Evans showed me highlights of the spring 2015 collection, along with some resort looks.
The resort collection has an LA vibe inspired by the iconic photo of Faye Dunaway lounging around a hotel pool the morning after she won a Best Actress Oscar for the 1976 movie Network. It features an Oscar-worthy gold gown and navy-and-white daywear in nautical patterns and hand-painted paisley prints. Leather jackets and skirts with intricate laser-cut details are also standouts.
For next spring, Wingate is in a floral mood — one of the season's biggest trends. He describes the collection as "fashion floriculture — with flowers in all forms, from exotic to romantic." Dresses in lush tropical prints and jackets with 3-D floral blooms dot the collection, along with short shorts in bold orange, body-hugging silk pants in a raspberry shade and a jumpsuit in royal purple.