Fashion’s Best-Kept Secrets

© Zachary Handley

Three unsung brands that excel in exceptional, wearable clothes.


Formerly a private atelier supplying suiting to every- one from Hardy Amies to Balenciaga, Pallas hung out its shingle in the boho Ninth Arron­dissement as a maker of razor-sharp tuxedos for women in late 2012. But the brand really took off at the most recent Cannes Film Festival, when model-actress Aymeline Valade wore a Pallas smoking to the premiere of Saint Laurent. (She plays Betty Catroux.) A collaboration for spring with the ladies behind the must-go Paris Fashion Week party Cicciolina includes tuxedos in disco-appropriate, shiny lightweight wool and Lurex linings. At 5 Rue Rougemont, 75009.


Milan-based Ed Buchanan established his bona fides in 1995 as the first ready-to-wear designer of Bottega Veneta, then went on to create the now-defunct cult label Leflesh. Today, as Sansovino 6, Buchanan continues his commitment to wearable chic with denim-dyed “jeans” that are actually super-pliant 100 percent cotton jersey, as well as jackets and work shirts. Reaching beyond the blues this spring, there are graphic trapeze tops and bibbed dresses for women and slinky outerwear and the world’s most luxurious sweatshirts for men (left).


Understated, beautifully fitted and minimalist, Protagonist joins a growing list of indie fashion lines aiming to give women a core wardrobe of smart, sophisticated basics. Spring includes a long collarless topcoat, poor-boy knits, a beau­tifully simple pencil shift in stretch satin and a pin-striped wrap dress in silk twill that recalls the lining of a jacket. Designer Kate Wendelborn, who worked for years at Victoria Bartlett’s VPL, got her start as a pattern­maker and it shows, as fits and silhouettes are rigorous but not painful and color is subdued with nary a print to distract (right).