Chopova Lowena‘ cult carabiner skirts are a runaway success, worn the world over by Fashion Week guests, pop stars, and Real Housewives. The brand’s monogram chain necklaces and upcycled jewellery sell out instantly, and their growing blouse and bag categories have set the business up well for the future. But Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena aren’t the type to take it easy. As Chopova says, “Every season we’re trying to do new things, things that don’t feel like us. It’s interesting to see how we can make new categories our own.” For autumn-winter 2022 they have tackled suiting. “Skirt suits felt the most Chopova Lowena, obviously,” says Lowena. Theirs are made with a rounded double breasted jacket and pleated miniskirt, in deadstock orange plaid or deadstock silky synthetic. Necklaces and bracelets are laced into the collars and cuffs so that the pieces jingle and sparkle. The integration of metal chains into their clothing comes from their research into medieval dress. Each season, the designers clash a folk reference with a sport one – this time they’ve landed on ice hockey versus Renaissance Faire, extrapolating tying and knitting details and armor-like finishes and titling the collection “kiss the hare’s foot,” a medieval expression used, per Chopova, “for when you miss dinner but savor the leftover scraps.” A witty reference to their deadstock practice. The romantic-meets-brutal spirit of their collection works well, the CL boys and girls existing in an in-between. They are not pretty in their laced-together flocked dress with a white slip. They are not strange in a taffeta skirt made of 8 plaid panels, each knotted at the hem, worn with a fuzzy floral cardigan, the brand’s first earnest foray into knitwear. They are not silly either, even if rabbit-ear hoods and cartoon-print tops telegraph childlike humor. Standing boldly in their velvet tops and hardcore metal-trimmed trousers, they are something else, a new aesthetic, a new spirit of furious eclecticism that could only be Chopova Lowena. That’s the genius of their work: it simply cannot be mistaken for anything else.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.