A few weeks ago, over Indian food and a bottle of wine, John Saldivar – a talented designer who released his self-named line in 2007 – talked New York fashion with me. John’s line taps into the subtleties of women’s power and playfulness, and if you haven’t had a chance to see his work, check him out at www.johnsaldivar.com. Keep an eye out for online shopping and the placement of his line in major retailers…Bergdorf Goodman being at the top of the list.
Recently featured in ElleJapan, Women’s Wear Daily, and the New York Post, his looks have been scouted by stylists for celebrity starlets like Scarlett Johansson and Sarah Jessica Parker, even showing up at the filming of the recently released Sex and the City movie. Kristen Davis wore a dress from his Spring/Summer ’08 collection in one scene, but the editing department – in an act of absolute insanity – left it on the cutting room floor. Perhaps it will reappear on the DVD’s extras?
John has an unerring sense of beauty and a passion for textures and details that take your breath away. Inspired first by the color palette, then working out the design, he is about to release his third commercial line, with the fourth already making the transition from sketches to mannequins.
For the Fall/Winter ’07 collection, John produced classic cardigans and 3/4 sleeve pullover sweaters in muted tones of brown, blue, and cream. His suit with a pencil skirt and two-button jacket was effortlessly chic, and the crisp, structured, multi-layered collar of his blouses reminded me of old-world glamour. The highlight of this collection was definitely a rich blue satin dress, sleeveless with a fitted bodice, and a full, A-line skirt that ended just below the knee. And peeking out from underneath the blue satin was four layers of peacock feathers. Divine.
The Spring/Summer ’08 collection captured the playful attitude of the season. Sleeveless bubble dresses are rendered in tie-dyed pink or purple; classic white sundresses end in miniskirts with horizontal bands in bright blue, magenta, and yellow; and his light 3/4 sleeve cardigans are perfect for cool summer evenings. One of my favorite pieces is a 3/4 sleeve cropped and quilted jacket in seafoam green. Another favorite is the one-shouldered, floor length evening dress in muted grey floral with an uneven hemline above a layer of crinoline.
The keyword for his Fall/Winter ’08 collection is texture, texture, texture. Perfectly capturing adult sophistication and a more refined tone, John’s palette consists of rich reds, purples, and blacks. Primarily evening dresses, this collection of 1950-esque elegance fits the bill for this season’s social engagements. Fitted tops nipped in at the waist by belts or luxurious lengths of fabric fall away from the body in A-line skirts that will flatter any figure. Once again, the details and the texture of the collection are breathtaking. Jewels grace necklines, waistbands, and shirtfronts. Collars are ruffled, fabric is draped, and his suit pants are cuffed. One dress is made of purple satin rosettes, each with a tiny jewel hand-sewn into the center. A sheer sleeveless top is overlaid with black beaded daisy suspenders, the full skirt descending in layers of black feathers.
John hinted at his plans for his Spring/Summer ’09 collection. The palette will be mustard yellow and a deep coral with taupe undertones. His vision is a tea party, wistful and whimsical. It promises to fulfill all of the expectations he has been building through the last three collections.
*After studying fashion, John started out as an intern with Oscar de la Renta, before moving over to Vogue to serve as the guardian of the accessories closet and as a personal assistant to André Leon Talley. He then worked as the public relations director for Catherine Malandrino and Lucien Pellat-Finet. He currently works out of his Chelsea apartment.