"The key is our relationship with the customer," says Wilkerson. "I listen to what she wants: more color, longer jackets, sleeves rather than sleeveless." He does what makes sense for women. Which doesn't mean his work is untouched by his passion for travel and photography—his signature "global mix" evokes other cultures, but subtly: "Nothing costumey."
Why You'll Like His Look
He's good at figures The clothes come in regular, petite, and plus sizes. Gayle King raves about the way his dresses fit her small waist and flare over the hips.
His pieces mix and match It's no accident the pieces work together. "Often I do the same fabric in different colors so that things coordinate more easily," Wilkerson says. "It's like packing for a trip."
Nice surprises There's a sense of discovery. "Incredible beadwork, sumptuous fabrics—you end up petting yourself," says Lucy Noland.
Controlled bareness The degree of exposure is up to you. "You can do a lot of layering—a summer dress with a shrug or shawl, cape or jacket, depending on your comfort zone," Noland says.
It's worth a splurge "Lafayette 148 isn't everybody's idea of affordable," King says. "But it's rare to find clothes so upscale and chic whose prices aren't out of the ballpark."