Sparks Joy. Zankov SS23

Founded in 2019, Zankov is known for its graphic sweaters in bold color combinations and easy-to-wear silhouettes that the designer Henry Zankov has been slowly building upon and expanding season after season. He seemed most excited about a collaboration with his friend painter Philippine de Richemont. Zankov took de Richemont’s gestural paintings of “the human nongender form” and transformed them into a pattern that appeared in an easy yellow dress made from a high-twist cotton fabric with a light weight perfect for summer. De Richemont’s faces also appeared as embroidery on a couple of woven button-down shirts, done in colorful yarns. “Last season I started experimenting with woven material, and this season we wanted something a bit more hand-done,” Zankov said. Also new was a great pair of wide-leg chinos. For spring-summer 2023, Zankov was also inspired by Ukrainian Jewish artists who share his heritage, like Sonia Delaunay, Louise Nevelson, Kazimir Malevich, and Aleksei Kruchenykh. “I never want to be literal; instead I pulled from what’s inspiring about the visual language of each artist,” he said. That resulted in a fantastic geometric pattern done in shades of aquamarine and indigo that was digitally printed on a very fine rib and turned into a swingy button-down shirt and skirt. “I want everything to feel really, really light but also be strong visually,” said Zankov. A knit tank and matching long shorts in an orange terry with thin red and white stripes achieved that goal, as did a horizontal short-sleeve top with a zipper at the neck and banded sleeves in shades of bright green, canary yellow, orchid, black, and white. Zankov’s signature blocks of color appeared on an oversized sweater, a pair of shorts, and a short-sleeve maxidress whose secret seemed to lie in the orchid color that appeared on half the ribbed neckline. “I know the color’s right when it feels joyful,” he said, and there was no shortage of joy to be found in this collection.

As the festive season is approaching, I will be sharing curated selections of my favourite brands’ items here and there. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, Henry Zankov launched his eponymous label to inject a sense of playfulness and fun into knitwear. The way he juxtaposes natural fibers with highly technical yarns to create a clean, minimal surface is something to behold. Here are my three favourite knits from the label’s current collection, all perfect for a present under the Christmas tree. Or just wear a Zankov piece while decorating one!

Zankov jacquard-knit tank made from organic cotton.

Zankov striped merino wool midi dress in forest green.

Zankov – Kevin Paneled Jacquard-knit Organic Cotton T-shirt – Red

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.
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Chic Distress. Interior SS23

For spring-summer 2023, Lily Miesmer and Jack Miner presented a lesson in perfect imperfections at Interior, balancing delicate femininity with their signature perverse edge. Barring the occasional pop of red in for of a ripped indie-sleazy t-shirt, the neutral palette puts the focus on the duo’s masterful drapery and eye for sensual fits. Alongside raw-edged slinky netting and covetable suiting, fall in love with amply ruffled going-out tops and a stunning ivory skirt whose full, twirl-worthy volume is cleverly offset by a mud-dipped hem (obsessed). “She probably just has anxiety, and they’re like ‘You’re hysterical, go live in the attic.’” Miesmer said backstage. Distress – both mental and physical – was a driving force in the show, down to the Pixies hit “Where Is My Mind” playing during the finale. True to their ironic take on elegance, Miesmer and Miner found plenty of ways to riff on the staples of Park Avenue princesses: shirt dresses (but with voluminous trains), cozy cashmere knits (but with an unraveling crop), double breasted suits (with raw edges) and ballet flats (but actual ones used by ballerinas, sourced from Miesmer’s favorite dance store). Classic, almost preppy affluence is at the core of Miesmer and Miner’s designs, but this season there was something rotting underneath – and they’d take that as a compliment. “There’s an audacity in destroying the most beautiful cotton fiber, yarn, cashmere, and layers of chiffon and lace,” Miesmer added, referring to how she and Miner took power tools and horse brushes to the textiles to give them the exact right effect. The fun of Interior is how they distort the prissy, the stuffy, and the basic. Their first collection was filled with clothes that would look at home at a dinner party, but since then, Miner and Miesmer have incrementally added a sinister undercurrent. A pink strapless ruched cotton jersey top with a swishy cotton gauze skirt is a prime example. It could have been worn by one of Degas’s models, but the hem is more muted than the top, suggesting frequent wear, and the waistband is folded down. She’s not a prima ballerina; she’s the last one standing in a horror movie.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Dancecore. Judy Turner Pre-Fall 2023

Judy Turner is one of those small, elusive New York-based brands that fashion insiders gravitate towards. Conley Averett has grown his menswear label into a full-blown womenswear collection, creating absolute wonders with knitwear. It might be difficult to sum up Judy Turner’s brand ethos with just one word, but maybe the fact that its name is a cross-over of Old Hollywood actors, Lana Turner and Judy Garland, might give you an idea for what it stands for. For pre-fall 2023, Averett turned towards the idea of evocative performance-wear. Dance-core, ballet-core, you name it – the entire collection can be easily pictured in a modern-day Suspiria-like academy, or worn on the daily basis by an Aronofsky-esque Black Swan character. The intricately spun dresses that slinkily hug the body with strategic peekaboos are standout pieces. Cleverly, the designer added knit underwear and a bandeau top to the mix for wearing underneath the body-baring pieces. Flipping through the lookbook, there’s a killer pair of knit leggings, a regal take on the fishnet that is now thicker and more chaotically webbed. It’s all so good. Toi, toi, toi, as they say on the stage!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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The Society Archive

New collections come and go, but in the end, nothing feels as good as the timelessness of vintage. The Society Archive, a stylist-curated retailer of rare vintage finds from fashion and accessories to books and art, opened its by-appointment showroom during New York Fashion Week, and it seemed to be the most truly exciting event during these hectic couple of days. But The Society Archive isn’t just about selling vintage. The brainchild of the runway and editorial stylist Marcus Allen, the brand weaves a complex narrative capturing moments of past youth – the result being an extremely covetable time capsule of seasonally curated selections of vintage and ephemera paired with a curated edit of must-haves from The Society Archive’s capsule collection of designs. Hard-to-find pieces from pretty much every decade are hand-selected and styled together with a couple of in-house designed essentials, creating a cohesive collection. According to this Vogue feature, Allen especially has a long history with Abercrombie & Fitch. The stylist estimates he has more than 1,000 items, some of which date back to the 1960s. Allen worked at the infamous “all-American” mall brand when he was in high school in a small town outside of Boston. But his obsession boils down to the quality of yesteryear Abercrombie & Fitch, not its ethos that’s promoted today. “The technical and fleece vests are all Patagonia-level quality,” he says. “All of the distressing and vintage details are super authentic and not contrived-feeling at all.” Allen is not the only collector; there is a community of Abercrombie & Fitch archivists in Japan, which is primarily where he gets his pieces. “While runways were informing what mall brands were doing design-wise, they – A&F, etc. – were not skimping on the quality of the pieces.” He makes the comparison with a pair of jeans. “I have 5-pocket leather Gap bootcut jeans that are the same exact quality and cut of a pair of Tom Ford-era Gucci ones,” he says. And as a testament to the quality, currently, Allen keeps the first piece he ever bought, a multi-color striped Shetland wool sweater in his freezer.

So, what can you get from The Society Archive’s current capsule? First of all, some big styling ideas for autumn season – the look-book photos are just too inspiring! There’s The Face’s iconic issue 22 featuring Kate Moss photographed by Corinne Day. A vintage Banana Republic t-shirt which has the best imaginable fit. A couple of 1960s flannel shirts – to die for. Maybe a classic, over-sized A&F hoodie? I certainly need these beige snow pants, like now.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Affection. Bode AW22

For autumn-wineter 2022, Emily Adams Bode-Aujla pushes her signature style even further, delivering a collection that showed a more daring and experimental side of her blooming menswear brand. Each Bode collection is like a lesson in history of both, America’s culture, and the designer’s personal one. Last season, the she sought inspiration in her wedding to her longtime partner Aaron Aujla, so it’s not surprising that this season the designer was thinking back to where it all began: the former apartment-studio on Clinton Street in the Lower East Side. “I lived there over seven years, and it was the place in which I started Bode,” the designer recalled. “A lot of my friends called it ‘the treehouse’ because it was seven flights up, and then it had another staircase up even further, and then this funny little makeshift roof deck also had another level.” The most obvious way that youthful inspiration was reflected in the collection was the skeleton suit onesie, which was a nod to the costume parties she threw at the apartment back in the day. But what Adams Bode-Aujla does best is capture history through objects, and for this collection, she revisited her archive as well as things she had done as one-offs for her first collection. “There were pieces that I had collected that I felt I couldn’t reproduce in the way that I have always wanted to do until now,” she explained. Out of all the collections she has done until now, this is the richest one in materials, embroidery, techniques, borne of supreme confidence in one’s abilities and an innate love of craft. A shirt embroidered with teeny beads in bold colors in a mid-century modern floral pattern seemed precious enough to live underneath glass in a museum, but here it was worn casually underneath a patchworked blue and white suit. Delicate openwork crocheted lace was used in long sleeve button down blouses in cream or in a multi-color offering that would be finely suited for any number of formal occasions. It’s this season’s outerwear that made the strongest initial impression: a cream “teddy bear” coat with three buttons and a beaded rope tied around the waist was based on a children’s coat Adams Bode-Aujla kept along with the rest of the childrenswear in her special collection, in an aluminum box possibly used during WWII to store film. A boxy jacket covered in shiny black sequins with long fringe detail at the bottom had origins as part of a woman’s evening skirt suit from the 1970s or ’80s that the designer often wore around the apartment. Two red fringed jackets, one short and one long, were the poster children for the sort of circularity that only exists in Bode’s collections. “I had this 1920s-ish dress with fringe, but it was actually made from upholstery fringe, like someone had made the dress as a costume in the 1960s,” she explained. In her hands it became an elegant take on a duster coat in 2022. It’s this wonderful circle of life that keeps Adams Bode-Aujla – and her loyal fans – excited.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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