This is one of these The Row collections that are just… perfect. And extremely relevant. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have never been the type to discuss the deeper meaning of their collections, and they’re not about to start now, but the opening look of their pre-fall 2022 offering definitely meets the turbulence of our current moment. It’s a grain de poudre jacket worn backwards, its single button fastened mid-spine and its lapels framing the shoulder blades. “Adaptability” is definitely one of their running themes here. Other tailored jackets can be worn inside-out, and on the accessories front there are reversible tote bags and cotton voile “protectors” for leather styles. After a season of more oversized, relaxed shapes, the waist has come back into focus for the Olsens. Their elongated and slightly nipped jackets cut an elegant line, and many of the looks are accessorized with leather belts featuring useful add-ons for cell phones and ear buds. Elsewhere, there are generous, pillowing volumes, as in the red nylon cellophane top and skirt of look two, which are cut with bubble hems to accentuate their material’s airy lightness. Extending a newfound interest in color, they showed metallic viscose knit separates in bright lilac or red worn layered and even wrapped around the head like scarves, and a trench in a crimped aqua tulle, shown with a matching bag. They also embraced humor. A couple of shrunken T-shirts (paired with excellent boned-waist trousers) are scribbled with children’s drawings; officially they’re part of The Row’s kid’s line, but they’ll be sold in women’s sizes too. The final look is the other side of that reversed jacket. It’s a back-to-front world, but The Row can help you hold it together.
Rosie Assoulin is back. Well, not that she was actually absent – her delicious wine project, Vivanterre, keeps on growing, and her clothing line continuously keeps on delivering the wittiest eveningwear in New York – but spring-summer 2022 line-up is the first full-blown collection coming from the designer since the pandemic has started. Assoulin hasn’t shown a new collection since the eeriest March of 2020. That brilliant autumn-winter 2020 collection made it to Paris, but she and her husband Max, the brand’s CEO, made the wise choice to stay in New York as the virus descended on Europe. Eighteen months later, she was back in Paris working double-duty: taking IRL appointments in a courtyard showroom and Zooming with editors. She and her husband have been busy on the business side of things, too: In May, they formed a partnership with HIM Co. to scale the label in Europe and Asia. The most noticeable change for spring 2022 was the expansion into vegan leather shoes, like a preppy new sneaker, and new unisex sweaters intarsia’d with the brand’s graphic logo. What stands out most is the collection’s surprising anchor motif – a timeless symbol. Several looks feature bandeau tops hand-knitted in the curvy shape of an anchor, while a crisp white dress had one cut away at the ribcage. Other pieces came in watercolor anchor prints or with beaded fishing lures dangling from the sleeves; in a subtler twist, a white cotton gown had an oversized sailor collar fanning down the back. These summer-perfect pieces felt light and charming, delicate yet quirky, polished but with plenty of humor. There’s always a story behind Rosie’s curiosities, too: the sailing idea came from her kids’ favorite book, Amos and Boris. It got her thinking about going on a far-flung, care-free adventure again. The looks that captured that feeling best had a DIY feeling about them, in that you could twist and style them multiple ways. An ivory evening coat was cut with sashes in the front, to be left loose or tied in a bow, while a glittery one-shouldered gown was shown over black trousers, Assoulin’s signature twist on black tie. Other looks got more inventive: for instance, the skirt of that white cotton gown could be removed to become a shorter day dress. A shimmery coral bustier dress came with an attached matching shirt, inspired by the best-selling “one thousand ways” sweater Assoulin launched last year, which merged a cable-knit camisole and shrug. As for the dress, you could wear the shirt open, tie the sleeves around your waist or loop them around your shoulders, or remove the shirt entirely. It’s at least five looks in one. As the pandemic situation seems to calm down, smaller labels start to gradually re-emerge. Rosie Assoulin takes us on a dreamy sea cruise – I’m hopping in!