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HOLLYWOOD STYLE

Actress Sienna Miller steps into a new role: fashion designer.

September 30, 2007|Emili Vesilind | Times Staff Writer

ACTRESS Sienna Miller's knack for assembling outfits that inspire imitation is on par with fellow Brit Kate Moss' innate ability to make jeans and a T-shirt look revolutionary. And like Moss, who debuted an apparel collection through the fast-fashion chain Topshop in May, Miller is bringing her edgy-cum-classic sensibilities to the masses.

Moss may have only been dabbling, but Miller hopes to establish a foothold. Twenty8Twelve, a new apparel collection designed by the actress and her older sister, Savanah Miller (a graduate of London's Central St. Martins College of Art & Design), debuted in stores this month. A private trunk show at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills recently launched the collection in Los Angeles.

At the event, Sienna, dressed in a gray-and-white pinstripe sundress from the collection and snakeskin Jimmy Choo heels, said the idea for Twenty8Twelve came about when Spanish entrepreneur Carlos Ortega approached her with an offer to design her own line. She was, at the time, the spokeswoman for Pepe Jeans, one of Ortega's many companies.

"I think he wanted to do something that was young and was a smaller, boutique-y brand," she said. "And we don't want [the brand] to be this enormous global thing. We want it to be quite small."

The first collection from the duo is quintessential Sienna, as we've seen her captured through thousands of paparazzi camera lenses, wearing classic, well-made pieces, marked by subtle artistic details inspired by the pomp of military uniforms.

A gray cropped leather jacket ($550) gets a mini Edwardian ruffle in the back, while a cotton-cashmere tank ($230) and skinny scarf ($150) feature bands of fabrics running horizontally, marching-band style. There are also basic skinny black jeans ($260), which she helped popularize, with military-inspired detailing on the back pockets. Tunic-length T-shirts are printed with watercolor-like black splatters ($290), and jaunty tuxedo jackets feature silk lapels and a slightly cropped silhouette ($600).

"The collection isn't trying to reinvent the wheel," said Savanah, though there are some standout pieces in the first offering, notably a trench coat-like dress with a wrapped bodice that's inset with a surprising mock-turtleneck swath of fabric ($690).

Sienna expects to catch some flack as an actress entering the fashion world, but she said the feedback has been kind for the most part. "If I was on my own, people might just think it was a quick fix, but because Savanah's a designer, it sort of makes sense. I know what I like, and I can describe it, but she's the genius."

Though Sienna's involvement is mainly in the conceptualization of pieces, Savanah said her sister's untrained eye will be integral to the label's success.

"She comes up with crazy ideas that I never would because your [formal design] training limits you," Savanah said -- like jeans that zip up the back. "The factory will say, 'No, we can't do that.' But they do, and of course they're fantastic. She's good at pushing things a little further."

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emili.vesilind@latimes.com

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