Groovy. The Elder Statesman Resort 2023

There’s only one place in Paris where you can stand over a pool of koi and under a glittering disco ball. Dragons Elysées is a Chinese restaurant that delights in kitsch – and can hold, as a nighttime The Elder Statesman presentation proved, a surprising number of revelers. Even in the brand’s thick knits on a humid Parisian day, the guests didn’t have a lick of sweat beading. Just one way Bailey Hunter, the creative director, is innovating at the Los Angeles-based label. The other way is that she is bringing the vibes back to one of fashion’s vibiest brands. Throughout the pandemic, founder Greg Chait took immense pride in the way The Elder Statesman was innovating and bringing most of its operations in-house. A new yarn-spinning technique, he said during his Paris event, would take at least a week to understand. But for all the ways the label reimagines its lightweight wovens, its groovy patterned knits, and its hand-done embroidery, crocheting, and dyeing, the special sauce of TES is its mood. That radiated during this crowded Parisian show. Chait and Hunter should stick with the idea and bring their party-presentations to more locations around the globe.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!

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

Vibrant Vibes. The Elder Statesman AW22

Happy Easter! Here’s a beautiful treat: The Elder Statesman‘s vibrant autumn-winter 2022 look-book. This season, Los Angeles-based label’s creative director, Bailey Hunter, rang up her friends in Jamaica and gave them the keys to the castle. In collaboration with Savannah Baker, the collection’s photos and film were shot around Portland, Jamaica, and include jacquards and intarsias created by Baker’s niece, the British-Jamaican artist Kione Grandison. Good vibes abound. With each year, founder Greg Chait reports business going better and better and better, and with each season the brand opens the door to new ideas and techniques. Coats are made from an Italian woven hand whipstitched in Los Angeles. Post-consumer recycled-cashmere button-downs are hand dyed in the brand’s expansive L.A. H.Q. A new corduroy program, made from Italian cashmere, brings the label beyond sweaters and into one-of-a-kind tie-dye separates. Elsewhere the dyes have no ties at all – and there is experimentation in new ways to create print and texture on the sweaters. Even the abstracted checkerboard patterns and amoeba-like dyes – both executed in previous seasons – feel new and exciting. And that’s a big statement for a mostly knitwear brand.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited

This Is Us. ERL AW22

ERL‘s collection look-books always have that unique, beautifully disturbing, theatrical quality. Browsing through the autumn-winter 2022 line-up, one might have an impression of watching a coming of age school play – which went full art-house. Eli Russell Linnetz’s propensity to confound and inspire is what makes him an engaging designer to watch. He crafts entire worlds for even the simplest garments and images, attaching stories to even mundane items. The forthright, yet whimsical clothing he makes goes against mainstream understandings of jeans, tees, puffers, and prim plaid dresses. Basic garments are often stripped of their magic, divorced from beauty, and reduced to mere stuff. In championing “normal clothes,” Linnetz continues the great American design tradition of Calvin, Ralph, and Dapper Dan – making the ordinary extraordinary. Linnetz signatures, like worn-in denim, printed tees, and pastoral skirts were all here, alongside new pieces like a camouflage patchwork puffer, knits in ombré patterns, crisp little cardigans, and star jacquard denim in tonal blue and the colors of the American flag. A collaboration with Salomon’s snowboarding imprint brought kooky color-ways to the collection. Plaid flannel shirts were styled to evoke Victorian bustles, shirts were strewn with pins that riff on Vietnam War protest paraphernalia, and the quilt Linnetz upcycled for ASAP Rocky at the 2021 Met Gala was reinterpreted as bulky, blocky puffer jackets. All together the collection contained many wantable, wearable things, each representing a thread of ERL’s story.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

NET-A-PORTER Limited

Coquille. Sophie Buhai Resort 2022

Hello in 2022! How about starting the year with something simple, yet precious and absolutely beautiful? Sophie Buhai is one of my favourite jewellery designers from Los Angeles. Her namesake jewellery collection, established in 2015, has renewed the modernist tradition of solid sterling silver with an emphasis on sculptural silhouettes of substantial weight. Each jewellery piece coming from her brand is made by hand in LA by master artisans using recycled metals to minimize environmental impact. Her signature silver pieces comprise the line’s permanent collection – a series of modern classics that transcend seasons and trends. For resort 2022, the designer works as well with onyx and lapis, creating refined, shell-inspired pendants, beaded necklaces and donut rings. This season, the designer has also introduced nautical-style decorative hair combs, claw clips and chignon holders, all hand-made in France.

Discover the amazing collection here.