One of the clothing lines in Puerto Rico showing an immense amount of promise in terms of U.S. crossover success is the eclectic brand Ecliptica. This label, which consists of a duo of designer sisters named Norein and Michelle Otero, has an aesthetic similar to many of the lines carried at the New York City boutique Intermix. The unconventional lengths, daring cuts, and plunging necklines seen throughout the collection are subtle enough that they give the clothes an understated glamour – There is enough skin peeking through the delicately tailored gaps to spur interest, but not so much so that the lady wearing the garment feels uncomfortable with the amount of flesh exposed. The large, sturdy zippers seen on most of the dresses provide extra structural support to the outfits, and the tough edges around the seams provide a visual contrast to the femininity of the leopard-printed and brightly-colored fabrics. Simply put, these looks just BEG for Louboutins….and much like black peep-toe Louboutins, these designs are practical additions which will undoubtedly become classic staples in the wardrobes of women everywhere.
Considering how much sisters can differ (and how much they can argue), I asked the sisters if they often disagree about which styles to incorporate in their lines or if they quibble when discussing the vision of their brand. At some point in the design process, the sisters say they ask themselves and each other: “Are these designs viable? Will they survive in a competitive fashion market?” Michelle admits that she is often drawn to designs that are extremely complicated, while Norein thinks more conservatively, and focuses more on functional pieces.
Although Ecliptica has been popular in Puerto Rico since 2001, dressing stars such as Roselyn Sanchez, Adamari Lopez, Dayanara Torres, Millie Corretjer, Denise Quiñones (Miss Universe 2001), Carmen Dominicci, Spanish singer Rosario, and even pop singers Hilary Duff and Nelly Furtado, they are still working on gaining better brand recognition, specifically in the greater U.S. area. In March 2006, the sisters became the first Puerto Ricans to be chosen by the Gen Art Organization to show their Fall 2006 collection in Miami. Later in 2007, they were chosen again as finalists for the international Gen Art Styles competition in New York. Ecliptica has been featured in numerous magazines as well, but the bulk of their business is still done on the Caribbean side of things…. which the ladies hope will change very soon.
As most of the fashion world knows, New York is one of the hardest markets to break into successfully. The Fashion Week in New York, Miami, and San Juan, respectively, all operate in different ways and each have different target audiences. I asked the ladies of Ecliptica what the average Puerto Rican woman looks for in a brand, and how they think it compares to the aesthetic of a NYC woman. They explained that the major difference lies in the fact that the women of Puerto Rico always think of an actual dress first when they are dressing up or going out. They say women in PR are more opposed to combining separates together to construct a look. Norein and Michelle insist that this in no way implies that women in PR are less fashionable, rather, the tropical climate of the area prevents women from choosing separates because separate pieces usually means they will be dressed in hot layers.
Regardless of origin, women are women, and the designs of Ecliptica seem to be satisfying everyone. Their line is available at Cybele Miami in the Miracle Mile, and based on the success that the brand is having in Florida, The Oteros are starting to focus on expanding the brand’s availability within the U.S. as well as internationally. But first, Michelle says: “definitely what’s next is getting to New York Fashion Week!”
To check out their collections in more detail, please visit Ecliptica Fashion online or email Norein or Michelle Otero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fun Facts about Ecliptica:
Style icons: Carine Roitfeld, David Bowie, The Beatles, Jane Birkin, and Audrey Hepburn.
Their designs are influenced by: Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Andy Warhol, Lykke Li, and architect Barragan.
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