If you’re unfamiliar with CF. Goldman, we can say with confidence that it’s the emerging brand you didn’t know you were obsessed with. Through an artistic vision that blends high-concept design with laid-back ease, designer Chelsea Goldman has brought a European flavor to New York with her three-year-old brand.
It’s no wonder Goldman is armed with a clever perspective and meticulous craft. With a résumé that includes design roles at Céline, Proenza Schouler, and Narciso Rodriguez combined with an education at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion, an imaginative line was in the cards—though not entirely planned.
“I think I’m someone who doesn’t think about things too much,” Goldman says, with a laugh, of her line’s origins. Joking aside, she explains, “After coming back from Europe, I thought there was a space in New York for this type of aesthetic and ideas and creativity, but done with New York production.”
Voluminous blouses and dresses with a playful ease are signatures of the brand, though the corset is the anchor. It’s an ingenious juxtaposition in which shapes and proportions are challenged with a crafty, always sophisticated spirit. “We like to be defined as thoughtful and smart and artistic,” says Goldman about her brand’s aesthetic. As a result, every CF. Goldman item is distinctive whether worn as a one-off piece or assembled into a head-to-toe look.
It all stems from an innate eccentricity for Goldman and an offbeat style philosophy. “I’ve always had a quirky aesthetic,” the designer says. “I think a cool woman isn’t someone who’s super focused on being sexy. There’s a sexiness in wearing something oversized with a corset on top of it. Covered, but with shape. I think having that balance is important.”
The effect is undoubtedly modern and whimsical, but it also has a bit of utility. Goldman says she achieves this through the materials she uses. “We use a lot of British shirting and this outerwear fabric that’s used for Mackintosh coats to have an easiness rather than something super fussy.”
It’s also about the fit. “Fit is so important to me,” Goldman explains. “I think there are a lot of brands that are coming out now, and to really stand out from them, I want it to be such a great fit on the body and the quality to be so much better.” This led to her fixation with the corset—a core essential of her brand—which, as it turns out, is an item if It rank these days. “I became really obsessed with the idea of how corsets were made and thought, ‘How can we make this modern and cool for today’s woman, but done really well?’ It’s a garment that takes a lot of work to do and is such a cool layering piece.”
When idealizing the woman she designs for, Goldman says she thinks of an independent woman who does cool things, has a strong work ethic, and chooses to add to the discussion with her wardrobe.
As for having CF. Goldman available at Barneys New York, Goldman is elated. “I’ve had the collection three years now, so it’s a nice validation of the work.” Seventies-inspired separates are on offer from the spring and summer collection, including off-the-shoulder gingham prints, micro-florals, and punchy blocks of color. Much more is to come from the brand, too. This summer will mark Goldman’s first pre-fall collection, with resort to follow later in the year. “There’s been a desire for it, so we’re feeding the customer more,” she says.
In the meantime, Goldman will be focusing and homing in on her brand aesthetic: “I think that’s really important for an emerging designer, to really have a specific point of view.” Suffice it to say, she’s done a supreme job thus far.