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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