Thursday, May 9, 2013

Candela in the Wind

Candela’s Gabriela Perezutti is a master multitasker. Having been raised on a ranch in Uruguay, Perezutti—a former model, as well as a mother of twins—not only designs her laid-back contemporary clothing range but also runs one of her family’s estancias, maintaining over eighty horses from five thousand miles away. The two aren’t completely disconnected—in fact, the former has a hand in inspiring the latter. 

Perezutti launched Candela (which means “light” in Spanish) in 2004, after seeing a gritty 1971 photograph of her mother riding a bucking bronco. The photo now hangs in Perezutti’s Soho studio, alongside other vintage family snapshots that serve as reminders of her gaucho roots—roots that have a notable influence on her collections. 

“I always do the [gaucho] reference, but not in an obvious way. I balance romantic, soft things with pieces that have a rustic edge to them, so the look isn’t too precious. Styling is important in that sense,” she said at a preview of her new Resort 2014 collection.

Staying true to the brand’s aesthetic, the latest lineup includes pieces such as feminine lace gowns and tiered skirts, hand-beaded jackets, and embroidered tunics based on ones her grandmother used to own. Knits—which were shown in breezy pastels for Resort—are a growing category for Candela, thanks to their reasonable price point (around $300).

 Another popular category for the brand is footwear, which now accounts for 50 percent of Candela’s sales. This season, a pair of zigzagging suede pumps with clear PVC details (read killer toe cleavage) were a definite highlight. It’s refreshing to see someone do the Western-bohemian thing from a completely honest point of view. Perezutti isn’t trying to be trendy—she’s just designing what she knows.

Candela is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Satine, and Shopbop, among other retailers. Visit for more information. 

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