And The Living’s Easy. Rosie Assoulin Resort 2023

Rosie Assoulin has you packed for the resort season. What’s in the luggage? The whimsical blue striped taffeta gown with awning-details will do the work in Hamptons. The collection’s hero piece, the transformable rainbow silk gown, is ready for a trip to sun-drenched Capri. Separated into four components, it is, in its full form, a racerback striped dress with a mermaid skirt, but it can also be worn as a bra top and mini skirt, a mini dress, and a bra top and maxi skirt. Assoulin loves convertibility, and says that you can go to a party dressed in the full look and slowly change outfits throughout the evening. The resort 2023 collection was presented just a couple of days ago in Paris – in a flower shop, where else! Watercolour blooms appeared on Rosie’s incredible silk kaftan dress, a lovely pyjama shirt and an unfussy day-dress. Sweet polka-dots covered the red dress with a bustier bodice – this one can be easily pictured worn around Sevilla. Assoulin doesn’t do themes, she rather focuses on instincts and what feels right at the moment. In a troublesome world, a care-free wardrobe of summer-perfect clothes sparks joy.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited

We Have Art Not To Die Of The Truth. Marc Jacobs AW22

We have art not to die of the truth.Marc Jacobs quoted Friedrich Nietzsche in his show notes. Confronted with a rogue Supreme Court determined to strip women of their reproductive rights, with Clarence Thomas threatening to attack gay marriage next and even to make contraception illegal, fury may give way to despair. But that’s not where Jacobs is at. “Creativity is essential to living,” his statement read. A year ago, most of us were looking ahead to a brighter 2022. Last June, Jacobs channeled that energy into a dynamic collection. That brighter future hasn’t really materialized, as we’re all too aware. Covid keeps coming back in successive waves, Russia continues its atrocious invasion in Ukraine, and in America the will of the majority has been hijacked by the minority. Nevertheless, Jacobs persists. Supersizing jeans and jean jackets, or treating denim to surface treatments that made the all-American classic look more like French couture. Adding so much stuffing to ribbed knit sweaters they could double as pillows. Toying with Gilded Age bustles – evoking them by wrapping jackets around the waist. And cutting ball gowns of exuberant volume in unexpected, even strange fabrics. His materials list included, but wasn’t limited to, foil, glass, paper, plaster, plastic, rubber, and vinyl. Interspersed with that excess, however, there was spareness. Jacobs lowered the waistlines of column skirts and cropped flares to bumster levels and accessorized them with barely-there bejeweled bikinis or the sparest of bustier tops. A pair of suited looks in black weren’t quite minimal, but they came close, a reminder of his talents as a tailor. As for the three matching looks at the beginning of the show in gray, hospital green, and lavender – were they Jacobs’s version of scrubs? Given the recent moves by the Supreme Court, it was hard to think otherwise. Adding to the dystopian vibe: the models’ hairdos, which were “shaved” on the sides with bumper bangs in a style that called to mind Sean Young’s Blade Runner replicant. And yet. All this was paraded out in the Public Library with opera gloves and sky-high white or black mary jane platforms. Dressed up in spite of the circumstances. Or maybe because of them? Definitely because of them. Marc Jacobs is a fighter, whose medium happens to be fashion. Knock-out F-A-S-H-I-O-N.

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Texture & Shape. Proenza Schouler Resort 2023

In the pre-seasons, the Proenza Schouler duo leans into experimentation. A scroll through Resort 2023 images makes it clear that Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough are strongly attracted to texture and hand-feel. In addition to the innovative spongy sequin knit (“The sequins are baked into the actual yarn itself, so when you knit it up, they’re all embedded. It looks like Lurex, but it’s a beautiful, piece of knitwear“), they used silk velvet for slip dresses and matching sets, a three-dimensional ribbed knit for coordinating cardigans and flares, and a short hair shearling on a belted coat. The saturated colors of the velvet and shearling especially added to their appeal. After texture, their other preoccupation here was shape. It’s tempting to see 1940s proportions in nipped-waist jackets and full skirts whose sculptural hems were reinforced with horsehair. The track pants and frilly ankle socks paired with a different nipped jacket are another, cheekier way to go about it. On the subject of shape, they revisited the corset tops that were the building blocks of their earliest collection. “Old Proenza vibes,” Hernandez said, but updated in suiting fabric for a touch of surprise. And that’s the direction the designers should continue to embrace.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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CJR And The City. Christopher John Rogers Resort 2023

Joy, pleasure, exuberance. As the world has turned back on post-pandemic, designers have strived to channel those sensations in their clothes. For Christopher John Rogers, all that seems to come quite naturally. He sprang down the New York runway, leaping and pirouetting and soaking up his standing ovation. This was Rogers’s first IRL show in over two years. So backstage after the show there was a feeling of making up for lost time. Rogers exchanged hugs, wiped away tears, and posed with what looked like all 55 of his models. Of his collection, he said, “I wanted to say that everything can exist together, everything makes sense if you will it to. I like the idea of multiplicity and that so many things through one specific scope can shine.” Karlie Kloss kicked things off in a purple coat, whose oversized, double-breasted proportions were extroverted in the extreme. Tailoring played a starring role, but Rogers is agnostic about silhouette. Single-breasted pantsuits exuding masculine swagger mixed with other more feminine shapes boasting dropped lapels, back gathers and drapes, and, in a couple of cases, pantaloons. He cut trenches in bold floral prints, whose colors were picked up in bright shearling dusters. Even without the benefit of runway shows Rogers has made some of the most clockable fashion of the last couple of years. That’s down to his extraordinary color sense and eye for graphic pattern, both of which were on ample display in this collection’s array of striped knits, which he juxtaposed in more-is-more fashion with checkerboard separates. From start to finish, this show brought the drama, but there are a few special numbers worth mentioning. Among them: a floral print 1930s-ish tea dress and a gown in madras plaid silk shantung. And here’s betting he’s already getting calls for the bustier dress with a sunflower yellow bodice and wide horizontal stripes of coral, fuchsia, and citrine circling its ball skirt.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited

Imbued With Meaning. Bode Pre-Fall 2022

At the New York-based brand Bode, Emily Adams Bode Aujla’s collections have always been rooted in the persona. The lived histories of friends, family members, and even places all hold keys that unlock the fantastical trove of embroideries, embellishments, prints, and colors that have established Bode as one of the most exciting new American labels on the scene. For pre-fall 2022, now hitting the stores, however, Adams Bode Aujla turned inward, looking for inspiration to her own wedding to her longtime partner and collaborator Aaron Aujla, which took place in their newly purchased home upstate and brought together Punjabi traditions from his upbringing as well as ones from her mixed Southern/East Coast heritage. “The foundation of Bode is personal narrative and our emotional relationships to materials and material culture, so the wedding is very much an epitome of that relationship,” Adams Bode Aujla explains. “From a more pragmatic side, I love dressing people for weddings. A lot of the fabrics that we sell lend themselves really well to weddings: lace, eyelets, details like pearl buttons, working with people’s family histories and their initials and embroideries, so it kind of made perfect sense to make this a holistic idea.” She estimates she made over 250 pieces for their friends and family to wear to their nuptials, including matching tuxes for the groomsmen and dresses crafted from piano shawls for the bridesmaids, along with the various outfits she and Aaron wore throughout the four-day festivities.

The most obvious way the wedding influenced this collection is in the emphasis on formal wear, something that she has dabbled in since opening the Bode Tailor Shop next door to her Manhattan flagship. There are classic shapes like tuxedo jackets and tails done in traditional black and white that will find wide an audience, but it was the Bode-fied versions that had the most appeal: a dark brown three-piece suit embellished with gems in the shape of flowers, a linen marigold single-breasted suit with tonal fringe appliqués and vintage marbles decorating the sleeve vent. The colors she used – “depression-era” green, tobacco brown, and purple, and marigold – all held personal meaning for the designer and her husband. It’s her exploration of what formalwear silhouettes can be that is really exciting. A lightweight tropical wool wrap jacket with a gathered waist may resemble a traditional women’s blouse on a hanger, but when worn over a crisp button-down shirt and matching trousers, it transforms into a smart alternative to the structured suit, lending an air of ease and comfort. A similar feeling was evoked by matching sets of shirts and trousers, inspired by Aujla’s penchant for pajamas. “He wears pajamas even with a tux,” Adams Bode Aujla explained. “It was really important to him that he had [them], especially for morning prayer.” Here they run the gamut of materials and fabrications, from simple versions done in white cotton voile to intricately embroidered styles. The concept of “home” was also present in the collection through the use of crochet fabrics and embellishments, as in a white shirt covered with brown popcorn chenille, which is typically found in bedspreads, and a matching shirt and trouser set appliquéd with animal shapes in various prints, which was a reproduction of a baby quilt originally made from feed sack scraps. “During the Great Depression, companies were noticing that women were making clothing from feed sacks and grain sacks, so they started printing on the fabrics to encourage people to do it.” Adams Bode Aujla is keen on the importance of research and preserving history through the things that she makes, tracking down names and provenance. “When we do historical reproductions, we can tell that narrative in a much broader scale, and it got me thinking about how you can encourage people to preserve something, not just by mending o repairing things like that, but preserving it in the idea that they’re preserving culture and the techniques,” she said. It’s easy to see how Bode has found success; her customer understands that when they buy one of her designs, they are buying a little piece of history for themselves, a shirt (or pants, or a jacket) imbued with meaning and ready to be passed on to the next generation.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited