City Warrior. Isabel Marant SS23

It’s one of those Isabel Marant collections which she might have designed with her eyes closed. And there’s nothing bad about it. This super chic, super Parisian, super effortless Marant look is eternal. For spring-summer 2023, she doubled down on that approach, with a look that was abbreviated, exuberant, and went from soft to tough – often in the same outfit. The designer clearly went back to basics, as it were, revisiting the moment when she started her label in the mid-’90s through to the dawn of the 2000s. There was a new mood in the air then, streetwise and raw, but also with a kind of world-weary, knowing charm. It was a moment when a different kind of woman – a little grunge, a little boho, a whole lot cool – made herself known. “I wanted to go back to a certain fragility of femininity, but still keeping in mind the Isabel Marant woman, who is a bit of a city warrior,” said the designer. She referenced the work of the brilliant late photographer Corinne Day, who pretty much photographed Kate Moss before anyone else, but who also, importantly, spent her sadly all too brief career photographing women as they would like to be seen themselves. You could also say that that’s quintessential Marant: a label where women can see themselves in it. The very personal era that Marant revisited was writ large in this collection. Racer cut tanks and swingy little dresses in patchwork configurations of metallic-threaded floral silk chiffon came with zippered leather minis and moto pants that had been washed and washed to get the perfect lived-in patina. Laser-cut suede jackets were as long as the shorts and fluttery skirts they were worn with. Camo looked as if it had been sun-bleached, cut into an oversized jacket or cargo pants, another from the Marant arsenal of killer trousers. And to underscore what makes Isabel Marant, the woman and the label, tick, there was a profusion of artisanal detailing, from the tiny seed pearls sprinkled across an organdy camisole, to the macramé threaded across an organza blouse.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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