Daniel Wingate: The Man Behind Escada
Introducing the new and improved—but still classic—house of Escada.
Designer Daniel Wingate is the man that makes Escada look like Escada.
Born in Tallahassee, Florida, this small-town man has journeyed a long way from home. Attending Parsons and later working for J. Crew, Jeffrey Bean, Marco Polo, and Huge Boss, Wingate now lives full-time in Munich, Germany and has been the creative genius behind Escada for the last eight years.
Under its very smart and very beautiful new owner Megha Mittal, Escada has taken a turn toward the savvy and sent their top designer on the road to raise awareness.
I recently caught up with Wingate at Neiman Marcus Fashion Valley where he was promoting Escada’s spring collection and the exclusive designs for the store.
R.S.: What’s the inspiration for your line this spring?
D.W.: Mostly the colors in nature—earth, wind, fire, and water—the desert and the sea. The palates are subtle and somewhat muted and other items bursting with color…but I love brown as an alternative to black. The style is utilitarian—meaning pockets, shirt collars, snaps, and lots and lots of function. I was also looking to the work of photographer and activist Peter Beard as inspiration.
R.S.: Which designers are you following these days?
D.W.: I love jewelry and furniture designer Hervé van der Straeten. His work is very Art Deco, but done in a more modern way. Lots of gold, with very bold architectural shapes. (Straeten is known for his intensity and eclecticism in jewelry, cosmetics, and furniture design).
R.S.: How would you describe the look of Escada?
D.W.: The trouser is our bread and butter. We design an essential and classic style—function, form, and longevity. My goal is to design a classic blazer or a pair of trousers that will grow with you. We’re known for making clothing that women always want to wear.
R.S.: How do you design for the modern woman?
D.W.: The modern woman is a very educated consumer. She watches TV shows like Project Runway and lives on the Internet. My 79-year-old mother wants denim. She knows she wants to roll up the cuffs and she wants them in a dark wash. Women always want to look hip and cool no matter what age.
R.S.: How should women look at the higher price tag of Escada or any luxury designer brand? How do you compete with all the knock-offs?
D.W.: Buying luxury is the difference between being driven and being chauffeured. Also, luxury is ultimately about saving you time. If you buy something right the first time, you’ll have more time to enjoy life, and not waste time always trying to find something to wear. People easily tire of impractical fashion. Like our red carpet gowns, I believe less is more. I shop at H&M, but I know that it may not stand the test of time.