Not to brag, but we like to think we have an eye for star quality. After all, we routinely sleuth out on-trend items with that certain sparkle, pick celebrity ensembles that truly luminesce, and call out cutting-edge fashion labels that dazzle with their unique point of view. Today's story concerns itself with the latter, as we bring the latest Line We Love¬--Rika¬--in all its cool-and-feminine sartorial glory, to your attention. Launched in 2005, Rika is the brainchild of Swedish-born sophisticate, Ulrika Lundgren. A former stylist and set decorator for such illustrious mastheads like Italy's Casa Vogue and the United Kingdom's Elle Decoration, the savvy Swede has always had a well-curated and design-driven eye. But it wasn't until the soaring popularity of her first handbag¬--imprinted with what was to become her trademark star design¬--that she decided to embark on the next adventure: apparel. Lundgren immediately expanded her brand's reach to include effortlessly chic clothing and started a number of exclusive collaborations with important partners like Opening Ceremony, Surface to Air, and currently Uslu Airlines. Additionally, Lundgren created a bi-yearly editorial magazine that features such style icons as Irina Lazareanu, Anouk Lepere, and Clemence Poesy in Rika's incandescent, unfussy designs and a few select pieces from other labels.
While Lundgren's casual-yet-refined pieces¬--all with a touch of witty romance¬--have been on our radar for some time, this season's "What happens in Paris stays in Paris!" collection is notably radiant. Dedicated to the elegant simplicity of la Parisienne, all of the line's F/W 10 pieces are marked by sophisticated textures (think: leather, silk, and faux fur), which Lundgren manipulated into must-have jackets, dresses, and buttons-downs. Of course, that's not all; the designer also peppered the collection with cozy knits and created a slew of amazing handcrafted bags and silk scarves in cheeky prints. The result is an effortlessly sexy, eclectic aesthetic that conjures up images of the quintessentially chic French girl. In other words, a label that offers every trendsetter that certain je ne sais quoi.
While the entire collection clearly has us dying to book a one-way ticket to the City of Light and wander leisurely around the Marais, today we're bringing you a few select pieces with serious star power. The items below radiate with Lundgren's brand of modern romance as well as being wardrobe essentials that will help you seamlessly transition into fall. So now without further ado, we shall leave you with a little bit of leather and lace, and hope that this introduction to Rika leaves you just as enchante as we are!
Lips Scarf ($162, 212.229.9424)
A patterned scarf is one of our favorite ways to inject an ensemble with a bit of intrigue, and Rika's version provides the perfect hit of kitschy delight. The scarf's French Kiss pattern¬--the collection's signature print this fall¬--is absolutely adorable, and the mushroom hue is smartly understated. Use it to punch up your all-weather leather dress or tie it on your chain-strap purse for a daily dose of Parisian flair.
Tasmin Jacket ($799, 212.219.2688)
Faux fur is at the top of our trend list this fall and it also happens to be one of the hottest materials for our favorite designers. But while there are many amazing options out there, we love how Rika's outerwear iteration ups the ante by combining a shaggy torso with sleek leather arms, not to mention the lively touch of a rich purple lining. Wear this jacket to the Hotel Costes with dark denim and suede over-the-knee boots for a seriously luxe winter-worthy look.
Jamie Shirt ($192, 212.229.9424)
Whether it's silk, chambray, denim, or otherwise, button-down blouses are an indisputable wardrobe staple, so we were thrilled to come across Rika's blush-colored version. The nude hue has a feminine quality that contrasts nicely with the boyish silhouette, while the uneven hem radiates a sense of off-duty chic. Whether you wear it loose over a sheath-like mini, paired with leggings and wedge booties, or tucked into a pleated leather skirt, the shirt gives you an endless variety of cool city-girl outfits.
Suzette Dress ($309)
One of the more overtly sexy pieces featured today, this lace dress is ideal for taking your look from day to night. Wear it with a camel coat, tights, and kitten heels for a Giambattista Valli-inspired daytime look and then pair it with metallic strappy stilettos for a festive cocktail ensemble. Either way, we suggest wearing a black lace bra or camisole underneath to assure your outfit stays sophisticated amidst its peek-a-boo allure.
Liv Bag ($609) in Black Metallic
One of the unique traits of Lundgren's labels is that all her bags are handcrafted and chemical free, including this boxy leather option. The oversized rectangle shape is excellent for daytime, while the metallic sheen makes it suitable for night. Additionally, we appreciate the thick silver chain strap, which toughens up the slouchy shape, and the kitschy buckle detailing that is embossed with the season's French kiss seal! We could see Kate Bosworth using it to accent a rich-hued leather skirt and diaphanous silk button-down for a refined look that's spot on for fall.
Olivia Leather Dress ($715)
Leather dresses have been one of our favorite minimalist staples ever since we spotted Celine's bonded leather version on the S/S 10 runway, and Rika's black metallic take is ideal for recreating this look for fall. We love the contrast of a longer, ladylike sleeve with a youthful metallic sheen, and we'd opt to pair this intriguing LBD with a leopard print coat and opaque black tights for a directional, transitional weather look.¬--Liza Kaplan