I first caught a glimpse of this head-turning print from Zinke‘s debut swim collection at a trade show last summer and, as JLo would say, got instant goosies.
Bright, busy and colorful, Zinke’s chevron pattern is a magnet for eyeballs; I was probably 50 feet away when I spotted it on a rack crowded with other Z-goodies.
I had two questions: where did it come from, and would women (especially American women) go for something so startlingly showy?
Well, let’s put that second one to rest first. Zinke‘s chevron is the coolest (and hottest) print of the summer, and not just for the beach crowd. It’s selling like crazy and some styles are disappearing fast.
The reason for its instant success? The NYC indie label was smart enough to use the print on a number of casualwear pieces suitable for a variety of occasions and locations. By the end of summer 2012, you will have likely seen this everywhere.
In addition to one-piece and bikini swimsuits, variations of the print are featured in the Port cover-up/dress, the Saturdays sleeveless dress and the adorable Daytripper romper available at Anthropologie. And the colorways come in a few variations that emphasize one of the several competing hues in the print’s palette — go for the lobster red for a bold statement, or the powdery blue or popsicle pink for something softer.
Where it comes from is another, less obvious, question. It’s not like other isometric chevron prints (widely seen in apparel and lingerie fashions this year), but it has some familiar echoes.
Although Zinke likely didn’t mean it, this print immediately reminded me of early-century stained glass, when multi-colored chevron panels were used oh-so-sparingly as accents (right).
But that’s just one of many reference points here.
Zinke’s approach to chevrons is a hypnotic mashup of art deco color strips, Missoni-esque zig-zags and even a bit of geeky fractals. You can see a hint of Frank Lloyd Wright in there, but the distressed edging on the color strips is purely post-modern. I would suggest they hang this in MoMA, but I’m afraid it would trigger seizures.
For her part, designer Jessie Zinke offers a simpler explanation: “I wanted to do a print that was modern and graphic but nothing too symmetrical,” she said. “If a pattern is too perfect, I tend to get a little bored with it.”
Zinke likes to take inspiration from real Americana, and the swim collection is no different from their lingerie collections in that respect. The styles (especially the flounce bikini top) are meant to evoke 60s California while the creamy palette “has a bit of a Palm Springs feel to it.”
Here’s a look at how Zinke has put its groovy chevron pattern to use in this collection. The range is reportedly flying off the shelves and some styles are no longer available on the Zinke webshop, so check with their retail partners.
Arin Robinson remembers her first kiss .. at least most of it.
It happened, as these things sometimes do, at a summer camp in Vail, Colo., where Arin and sister Jessie stayed in imitation teepees like the one above.
“I don’t even remember his name,” recalls the co-founder of lingerie label Zinke Intimates, “but it was really sweet.”
The boy’s name may have faded from memory, but the moment left behind a mental snapshot that would be put to use years later when the Zinke sisters were developing themes for their Spring 2012 collection, American Summer.
The sunny new collection is achingly pretty and draws from the Zinke girls’ unabashedly fond memories of long, hot summer days spent growing up in Tulsa.
“We probably have this nostalgic view of American summer,” Arin said. “We lived in a big neighborhood full of kids and we spent the summers slipping and sliding.”
If Zinke’s earlier collection, the widely admired Souvenirs from last fall, was a salute to American landscapes, this one is a companion range that seeks to capture the carefree spirit of youthful summer romances.
Style ranges help get that message across, with names like First Kiss, Summer Crush, Montauk, Scout, Fireside and XOXO. And the photo campaign to accompany the collection was shot at the iconic Ruschmeyer’s Hotel on Long Island, which no doubt triggers romantic memories for countless summertime visitors.
American Summer is filled with soft, breezy, comfortable pieces in lace, chiffon and stretch charmeuse. Highlights include airy crop tops, a gently ruched boyshort style that Zinke calls flutter briefs, and a Swiss dot ensemble that manages to be both elegant and casual.
It’s also a bit less technical than Zinke’s last collection. Gone are the hook-and-eye bras and ribbon-tie playsuits, although you’ll find one new Zinke innovation that embodies the collection’s playful spirit — reversible bralets. There’s also the beginnings of a Zinke “basics” collection, involving a simple lace bralet and matching slip in ivory and nude crinkle chiffon.
And, as with all Zinke collections, color is a central feature and selling point of American Summer, which offers a vibrant palette of hues with names like orchid, lemonade and spice.
Many pieces in this collection are a bit too stylish to stay under clothing, and are meant to work as layering pieces in any number of looks. So you can expect to see a lot of Zinke — especially those short crop toplets — on beaches, at festivals, and in hipster clubs and cafes this summer.
American Summer will begin arriving in stores early next month. And it comes at an important time in the evolution of this rapidly growing label.
This week, Zinke takes its catalog of fashionable Americana on the road when their team visits the Salon Internationale de la Lingerie expo in Paris. The label is currently available in Hong Kong and Australia and through Anthropologie’s UK operation, but the huge Paris exhibition will be Zinke’s first attempt to woo European retailers.
“The response we’ve received over and over is that (our styles) have a European aesthetic, so we hope this will be appealing to them,” Arin told Lingerie Talk. “Jessie (the designer) has such a wonderful take on color and creates unique designs that really are not there at the moment. So it will be something unique for everyone to see.”
(American retailers who are visiting Salon Internationale from Jan. 21-23 can find Zinke in Booth H76 in Hall 1.).
As for that lucky boy who left such an indelible — if incomplete — impression on Arin all those years ago: he may never know about his own small contribution to the American fashion scene. But don’t be surprised if, years from now, a lot of women look back on the summer of 2012 and fondly recall their own first kiss, thinking: “I can’t remember the boy’s name, but I do know I was wearing Zinke!”.
Here are some looks from Zinke’s Spring 2012 collection, American Summer.
If fashion labels have a honeymoon period — that golden time when people are besotted with everything you create, the media fawns obligingly, and you can’t keep up with new orders — then Zinke Intimates is in the middle of a glorious honeymoon.
The hip indie label’s summer set of bra tops and bloomers for Free People was a huge success and Zinke’s fall collection, the roadtrip-inspired Souvenirs (which we previewed earlier), is such a triumph of style and color that it’ll be near the top of everyone’s best-of list at year’s end.
Founder/sisters Arin Robinson and Jessie Zinke were profiled recently in Women’s Wear Daily — always an important rite of passage! — and Zinke items have been featured this summer in such fashion bibles as Brides, Marie Claire and InStyle.
At the CurvExpo trade show in New York last month, it was hard to have a decent chat with the Zinkettes because their booth was always swarmed with buyers gushing over next year’s spring collection and Zinke’s colorful upcoming swim line. And how’s this for a compliment? When I asked Nikki and Maayan of The Lake and Stars — arguably New York’s most admired designer lingerie label — what they had seen at Curve that appealed to them, they blurted out in unison: “Zinke!”
One look at the distinctive Souvenir collection proves that the accolades are well-earned. It’s fun, romantic and simple enough to appeal to a broad audience of trend-conscious fashionistas who want stylish but wearable intimates.
Two things set this collection apart. First, the color palette is risky — no blacks, no nudes! — but perfect for fall. Designer Jessie Zinke is fearlessly creative with color, and gives us a seasonal array of hues like gravel, spice, lake, lilac and harvest gold that seem borrowed from the American landscape itself. There is nothing on the market that looks like this collection.
And there’s one item in the collection that has the hallmark of a classic: the Bright Lights stretch silk bralette (above), with its contrasting colorways and three front hook-and-eye closures anchored by an elasticized band. Zinke isn’t the first label to use this kind of hardware or fabric, but their design has such a timeless contemporary feel that it should be a favorite for years to come.
(Interestingly, most people I’ve talked to point to either the very sexy All Things Nice lace jumper or the cute and comfy Chelsea romper as their favorites in the Souvenir collection, proving only that tastes vary … and that this collection is filled with gems.)
Zinke is one of a handful of young labels (still barely two years old!) that is redefining contemporary American fashion lingerie. We’ve seen next year’s line and the very surprising Zinke Swim collection, and all we can say at this point is: if you thought the honeymoon was sweet, wait till you see what comes next!
Here are some of the nicest looks in Zinke’s fall collection:
One of America’s hottest independent lingerie labels will find a much broader audience this summer after teaming up with one of the country’s favorite streetwear retailers.
“It’s a perfect match, really,” Free People spokesperson Leighanne Jones told Lingerie Talk. “Zinke is very bohemian, very much like the Free People girl. We’re very, very excited.”
The new line, called Zinke for Free People, will consist of 6 styles and will reach stores in July. The collection includes two swiss dot halters (in navy and ivory), lace bloomers and lace cropped bra in Zinke’s familiar sugar and spice colorway, and a bloomer and cropped bra in a new floral print exclusive to Free People. Pieces will be priced from $48-98.
The move is reminiscent of last summer’s partnership between The Lake & Stars and Urban Outfitters, which put the indie cult label’s compelling signature look in front of the retailer’s large and carefully cultivated target audience of trend-conscious young women.
For Zinke, a New York label run by Tulsa natives (and sisters) Arin Robinson and Jesse Zinke, the Free People partnership marks another leap forward. Launched in 2009, Zinke quickly attracted attention for its brightly colored monochrome styles and street-friendly silhouettes that worked well as both intimates and layering pieces. (You can learn more about them here.)
“The girls feel really connected to the Free People brand,” said Zinke spokesperson Allison Beale. “Their aesthetic is perfect for Zinke.”
The new FP collection originated last winter, when Free People added Zinke’s Boho halter bra to its January catalogue. “We had a fantastic reaction,” said Jones, “so we reached out to the girls.”
Free People typically designs and produces many of the items in its Intimately FP catalogue, and does a lot of private label commissions with outside companies. But the branded Zinke line is something new for the company and is “the only one we’re doing,” Jones said.
Beale said the Philadelphia-based chain gave the Zinke team free reign over the ensuing design process, with FP choosing its favorites from a collection presented to them by Zinke. “They already loved what Zinke had done so they let them own this collection,” she said. “It was a fairly wrinkle-free process.”
Product images for the Zinke for Free People line aren’t ready yet, but the collection sketches above will give you an idea of what you can look forward to!
Spring lingerie collections are just making their way into stores, but designers are already busy getting their fall 2011 lines into production and showcasing them for retail buyers.
Zinke’s fall collection is called Souvenir and was inspired by impressions from a cross-country road trip. Hence the harvest gold hues of the Chelsea romper (above), or the soft longline bra and panty style (in two colors below) named Tulsa. Who else but the Zinke sisters Jessie and Arin would think to put their home town on the lingerie map?
Zinke will officially unveil the Souvenir line next week at the Curve Expo trade show in New York. Expect to see some very creative styling and colorways, and pieces you simply won’t find anywhere else.
Meanwhile, Zinke’s spring collection, Collins Avenue, arrives in stores later this month. The last photo below offers a glimpse of the bright and colorful range, but be warned: those pool-friendly bra-brief sets in the top row will disappear quickly!
You can see lots more from the Collins Avenue collection in our recent profile of this very exciting young brand.