If It's Cool, It's Casual

Resort looks are in season at this time of year.

In the dead of winter, when many women in the country are contemplating whether to don a parka or an overcoat, major designers debut collections that are worn in balmy weather.

Traditionally, resort wear has been aimed at the wealthy who winter in temperate climes. But for those of us who live in warm weather year round, resort wear helps us stylishly bridge the gap between fall and spring.

Ken Downing, fashion director for Neiman Marcus, pinpoints resort trends that will last well into spring:

1. Go Nude
A nude shoe is a great way to equalize busy prints and vivid colors.

2. Baby, It’s Blue
“Fashion is in love with the sky and the water,” says Downing. Every season seems to have a pet color and this season it’s blue. From baby to electric, versions of the hue are not only big for resort wear, but will be a huge trend for spring.

3. Short Order
Shorts aren’t just for schlepping around in the summertime; today’s trendier versions are suitable for the office or an evening out. Look for perfect tailoring in a length just above the knee in materials such as gabardine or broadcloth.

4. The Perfect Trench
A lightweight trench is perfect outerwear for cool Florida winters. It also happens to be extremely chic. Safari and military looks are coming on strong, so consider a trench in olive drab, which is trend-on and goes with everything.

Wayne Lee, formerly of Orlando, raises her brand awareness with Vogue finalist honor.

Wayne Lee was 4 years old when her family escaped Vietnam by boat and eventually made their way to the Vietnamese community in Orlando. Today, the Winter Park High School graduate is on the cusp of becoming an internationally recognized fashion designer.

Lee, 35, went to Vassar and then to the University of California, Berkeley, where she spent two years as a medical student before dropping out to pursue a dream of becoming a fashion designer in New York.

In November, four years after starting her own line, Lee was named a finalist for the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund award for best young designer. The prestigious award gives $200,000 and business mentoring help to a promising talent. Past winners include such design darlings as Philip Lim, Proenza Schouler, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.

Lee didn’t win the grand prize, but the honor made her a designer to watch in the fashion world. “Being in Vogue and being recognized as a finalist will certainly elevate my brand,” she says.

“I believe in clothes that are timeless and elegant with sharp tailoring and unconventional designs,” Lee says. “I like to take a classic silhouette and reinterpret it to something new, modern, and futuristic.”

Two accessory designers who make Orlando home are getting national exposure:

Devinder Singh’s party-perfect KC Malhan beaded handbags, ($25-$70) were recently featured in Lucky and O magazine. kcmalhanhandbag.com




Michal Yakar, a recent transplant from New York City, makes beautiful handmade jewelry with delicate gold chains and gorgeous semiprecious stones. Her craftsmanship and signature twists have caught the eye of retailers such as Henri Bendel’s in New York and editors at ELLE magazine. $180, michalyakar.com

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