Multicultural Brands to Hit Summer Colony Living

Owner Debra Carrington discusses her vision for stocking international looks.
Story By: Aleesha Lange
Breeze Talumba swimsuit by Taibo Bacar. Photography courtesy Summer Colony Living

A wedding gown and eveningwear destination for the desert since 2017, Summer Colony Living plans to expand its inventory with exciting brands from Africa, Canada, South America, and Europe.

Among them: Taibo Bacar, a fusion fashion brand launched in 2008 in Maputo, Mozambique. Summer Colony Living is the first business in the United States to carry the brand, whose mix of high fashion and ready-to-wear fits into the store’s wedding collection, providing something to wear for honorary guests that can be reworn for other events.

“We’ve expanded the whole wedding category,” says Debra Carrington, owner of Summer Colony Living. “We try to [encourage shoppers] to go for pieces that, later, after the wedding, they can shorten to make an evening dress.”

Upscale jackets and streetwear for men from Taibo Bacar are also on the way.

Bringing in merchants based in Africa is a necessity for Carrington. “I’ve always wanted to work with African designers as an African American,” she says. “It’s one of my bucket-list goals.”

Brazilian luxury resort wear brand Yukio specializes in hand-drawn prints on versatile fabrics. Their airy silhouettes and expertly placed finishes — budding staples for the average El Paseo shopper — promise high fashion for the modern woman. You can find this brand in-store now.

Also from Brazil, new hand-woven skirts and tote bags arrive soon from Catarina Mina, revered globally for its celebration of craft and design.

Taibo Bacar

Taibo Bacar. 

White Talumba dress by Taibo Bacar

New jewelry also promises to spice up wedding and party outfits. Coomi, a favorite at Summer Colony Living, serves showstopping accessories, combining gemstones with a rich palette of textured gold. Lulu B’s incoming collection binds sweetness and sass onto every bracelet, necklace, and pair of earrings.

Carrington’s membership to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, an invite-only trade association driven by creative excellence in the fashion industry, demonstrates her ability to command the next generation of style. Further, her collaborations with designers help her influence local trends. “Debra has such a creative spirit and such a love for the customer, as I do,” says Ken Downing, creative director of Halston.

A collaboration between Halston and Summer Colony Living will feature archival pieces based on forms from the 1950s and ’60s. “How do you know where fashion is going if you don’t know where fashion has been?” Downing muses. Fabrics from the collab that desert clients will love are set to make an appearance at a future spring trunk show, pushing chiffon and lightweight jersey in wonderful shades of pinks and blues.

Other new brands coming to Summer Colony Living include Amsterdam-based LeonLeon, who marked his U.S. runway debut at Fashion Week El Paseo earlier this year, and Andrew Kwon, who projects his vision of femininity onto designer wedding gowns.

The excitement never ends at Summer Colony Living, thriving off the thrill of introducing new designers to El Paseo that complement offerings at nearby stores. “I think that’s what’s unique about El Paseo,” Carrington says. “Everybody has a different eye.”