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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NET-A-PORTER Limited

Ballet-Core. Rodarte AW22

Going for an all-pastel colour palette might be lethal. But the Rodarte sisters manage to keep the saccharine sweetness not that naive in their autumn-winter 2022 collection. The ultra-feminine line-up is heavily inspired by ballet and ballerinas’ ensembles, and it makes so much sense: Kate and Laura Mulleavy created Natalie Portman’s costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s terrific Black Swan back in 2010. But right now, there’s nothing evil about the Rodarte Swan Queens. Over 2020 and 2021, their innate sense of woman-ness has led the Los Angeles-based designers to swing their pendulum into collections about optimism, comfort, sweetness, sparkle, and motion. What they’ve landed on here is equilibrium. In pastel imagery by Daria Kobayashi Rich, with set design by Tina Pappas and Adam Siegel and floral design by Joseph Free, the Mulleavys have found the happiest, tenderest of marriages between the tiered cascades of blush tulle worn by Lili Reinhart, the crisp pink suiting donned by Janicza Bravo, the patterned tea dress on Natasha Lyonne, and the jeans and legwarmers on Laura Love. “The fantasy of what we want to do and create is the number one driving force,” demurs Kate, but when the Rodarte fantasy intersects so potently with reality as it does here, the designers’ honestness can feel more relevant than ever. In between, they make pit stops in bright fuchsia and teal, resurrecting their famous grunge-y spiderweb knits from autumn-winter 2008. “They are practical in a sense that they mold to your body and impractical in the most amazing way,” says Kate of the signature knits. The original versions – mini tube dresses and long cardigans – are back to the sure joy of many fans, but the sisters aren’t just playing to archive-mania. They’ve also made bustiers and capes in the knit, the latter worn by Lana Condor in a blue look trimmed in feathers. “The cape,” Kate says, “is practical and whimsical.” And sometimes you need fashion to be just that, equal parts a slip dress and a fantasia. It’s that kind magic that makes so many celebrities show up for a Rodarte photoshoot: the girls who get it, get it.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited