PILSEN — Designer Chelsey Carter’s new line has nothing against Peter Pan.
Just his collar.
Carter’s Fall 2013 line for Alex Carter Fashion (her middle name is Alexandrea) features dresses and shirts with empty space where the shape of a Peter Pan collar would be.
Partly inspired by another Disney character — Alice in Wonderland — Carter said the positive-negative collar conveys a kind of whimsy that captures her line’s style.
“I’ve seen a Peter Pan collar, but I’ve personally never seen it cut out in a pattern form where the skin creates that shape,” she said.
The 24-year-old designer just debuted the anti-Peter Pan collar in her Fall 2013 line at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in February.
Immediately after the show, Carter began getting inquiries from New York boutiques interested in carrying her line, she said.
Carter, originally from St. Louis, received her bachelor's of fine arts in fashion design from the School of the Art Institute in 2009.
Since graduating, Carter has worked solo to produce four lines. Her fabrics range from wool to crepe, and corduroy with a little taffeta and mesh thrown in for good measure. Tops and dresses have exposed zippers, and there’s relatively little color outside of blacks, whites and grays.
“I still have one of her dresses from three years ago,” said makeup artist Henrí Michelle, who’s worked before with Carter on shoots. “That’s still my staple dress, especially for somebody who’s not super-duper tall. It fits all body types, for real.”
And size is one thing Carter doesn’t mess with.
All her clothes are designed for medium body types, with the option to customize the piece as needed.
Felicia Mosley, who got Carter to the New York show, started her Cynique Evoule Runway Series in 2011 as a way to give emerging Midwest designers the chance to show their work in larger fashion shows.
Mosley, who’s based in St. Louis, said she started the series as a way to get those designers and models “one step closer to that big spotlight of what they want.”
So far, Mosley has done 11 shows, including Fashion Week in New York, Atlanta and St. Louis, with plans to attend London’s Fashion Week in 2014.
Having originally met Carter in St. Louis, Mosley said she’s had the chance to watch her style develop.
“Over the years I’ve watched her blossom,” Mosley said. “She has a unique flair that’s kind of retro and outside the box. It’s always different.”
Carter said her styles tend to appeal to women ages 19 to 40 who aren’t shy about the statement they make.
“I feel like most of my friends would wear my stuff,” she said. “And they are confident and care less about what others think and more about how they feel when they wear my things.”