Man of the Hour

Local designer Luke Aaron debuts his new fall collection.


Designer Luke Aaron sits among his masterful wedding gowns. / Photograph by Toan Trinh

In Luke Aaron’s monastic new South End showroom this past May, women swarmed about, eager to get a look at the designer’s newest collection. The pieces had been inspired by the “strong women leaders” who came before them, including Joan of Arc and Cleopatra—figures who might appreciate, say, a form-fitting bodice and full, tea-length skirting.

Aaron’s newest collection runs “darker, more romantic,” and certainly more historical than his previous work, he explained as he pointed out the 18th-century skirt patterns, smartly placed seams in lieu of corsets, and tightly belted waistlines, mixed with Edwardian solemnity. Sheer bateau necklines and pewter-and-coffee-hued palettes were paired with heavy accents—metal-and-pearl leaf necklaces, brooches, and flower drop earrings—from Miriam Haskell, America’s oldest costume-jewelry house (available at Patch NYC next door).

Aaron said that this new collection had “the strongest connection yet” to his theatrical background: The Tufts grad attended the Yale School of Drama and cut his teeth with Broadway costume designers. All of which means his clients will need “strength of personality to pull off these looks,” he said.

Those personalities were certainly in abundance at Aaron’s launch party, sipping on cocktails and admiring the duds. The fashions generated a constant stream of admirers, who cooed congratulations to Aaron while he talked to me about his influences, his lithe limbs draped over the showroom’s couch. One devotee leaned down to give the pale, poised designer a quick double air kiss before excusing herself with a couldn’t-help-myself sign-off. “Sorry, it’s just—he’s amazing,” she said.

“I don’t mean to interrupt, but—look what he did for me!” gushed another prim and pearl-necklaced fan as she fished for an iPhone, which she used to show me a slide show of her Aaron-designed wedding dress. “He makes you feel so special,” she said, notably of Aaron, not her groom.

Clearly Aaron loves his ladies and they love him right back. So I asked the Boston designer the one question every gentleman would, if he could: What do women want? That’s easy, Aaron says: “Boston has educated consumers who want to invest in an experience. They’re interested in building a connection with their maker. This market can’t compete on sheer quantity. What we can do is nurture relationships.”

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