Rising design stars from across the West

Fashion Designer to Watch: Lara Presber

If you’ve seen Lara Presber’s womenswear collection, you might not be surprised to hear she’s an architect by trade: her smartly designed pieces take their inspiration from the structures Presber loves. Her Spring 2010 collection illustrates illusory layering inspired by Chicago’s Aqua Tower, while dresses from Spring 2011 take inspiration from the metallic and organic essence of the Alberta Gallery of Art. For Presber, translating the philosophies of architecture to fashion allows her to explore creativity without sacrificing functionality. “I think the skills that I use to build buildings help me really understand the properties of the textile, the structure of the fabric itself, and how they all work together,” she says. Her latest creation, the Commute skirt, may not be inspired by a specific structure, but it is evidence of Presber’s beautiful mix of analytics and artistry: a fastening mechanism keeps the flowy skirt together during bike rides. For judge Danielle Wilmore, Presber’s merging of function and fashion is most impressive: “The Commute skirt is not only smart and solves a problem, it looks great while doing it… and that’s a difficult thing to achieve.”—Carlo Javier