Functional Lightness. Peter Do SS22

Spring-summer 2022 was a historic moment for Peter Do’s brand. The New York-based designer gave a hand-written note to each and every one of his guests. In the letter, he likened designing his new collection – the first he’s showing on the runway – to making Pho with his dad as a teen. Do father and son were Vietnamese immigrants in Philadelphia, and cooking the traditional soup was a weekend bonding exercise. “A good Pho is reduced and edited, to an essence” he wrote. “It is comforting and it feels like home… welcome to our home.” Set in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in an open lot next to the East River, Do’s runway debut was one of the most anticipated shows of a revived New York Fashion Week. The spectacular Manhattan skyline across the water made his point, which was about insisting on his place and that of his team as Asian-Americans here in New York. While describing the collection, the designer used the word functionality to describe his work; “making your life easier while looking good,” is how he puts it. The genesis of this collection was that first outing. Though he’s been a minimalist from the start, when analyzing his early work with more experienced eyes, he decided to pare it back and cut out its excesses. The lightness and feminine minimalism is subtly contrasted with the romantic rose embroideries in the last looks – this gave the entire line-up a refined, elegant touch. In the end of the show, Do brought his whole team out for a bow. Up until this point, it’s the product alone that has driven his label’s success. Now that his followers can put faces to the name – about a dozen people appears during that bow, and they’re also appearing in a wild posting campaign for his autumn collection – that success seems likely to grow.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Functional Chic. Peter Do AW21

Peter Do‘s autumn-winter 2021 collection is his best to date. The designer is confidently stepping out of his minimalist comfort zone, offering a chic take on ‘after dark’ style (something many designers are talking about in Paris this season). Those giant feather brooches placed on jacket shoulders clearly say it. Or all the lace inserts used in the tailored pieces. “I felt like it was the right time to dress up, to be seen, to say that we’re here,” the New York-based designer summed up. Twelve months of living more or less like shut-ins has spawned a collective urge for shine, skin, and sexy high heels. This newfound instinct for embellishment aside, Do’s gifts as a designer are of the engineering variety. Anyone can add decorative fringe to a jumpsuit. It takes a clever patternmaker to create pieces like floor-scraping shirts that fold up and over the shoulders in dramatic swoops; the jacket/cape hybrids modeled here by Anh Duong and Maggie Maurer; and the rib-knit halter and shrug sets that he showed with another signature: tailored kilts worn over sharply cut matching trousers. As his business grows, elaborating on these two-in-one concepts will continue to distinguish Do from the rest of the fashion pack.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Surreal Reality. Schiaparelli SS21

In a pretty short time, Daniel Roseberry has pushed Schiaparelli – a haute couture maison – forward to an extent in which its ready-to-wear line finally makes sense. Roseberry’s flair for the fantastic absolutely works with Elsa Schiaparelli’s aesthetic, and in the spring-summer 2021 line-up he manages to negotiate the balance between the Surrealism that was the legendary designer’s signature and the everyday. Speaking over Zoom, he said he approached the new collection with “a renewed energy to focus on what I want to say here, to capture the irony and what Schiap was about. Her legacy still lives really large, and it feels really true to this moment.” The pandemic has upended fashion. Some designers and brands are sitting this season out or playing it extra safe, counting on pajama sets and tracksuits to carry them through. Not Roseberry. In the look book photos he took himself (it’s interesting that many designers choose to photograph their collections), and in the behind-the-scenes video the brand produced, that extroversion comes across most distinctly in Roseberry’s fabulous gilded jewellery: eyeglasses with enamel eyes in the center, masks that cover nose and mouth, fingertip talons, and even nipple buttons. Those little and big, wearable artworks took Instagram by storm. The clothes are nearly as provocative. See: the white button-down with hand-painted breasts on the front, the odalisque prints on a shocking pink and white pantsuit (studies of Manet and Degas that Roseberry did himself), and the broderie anglaise with Surrealist faces picked out. There’s also a pair of minidresses, one ivory, the other black, with big inverted volumes. Roseberry took no half measures with this collection, and in this time of uncertainty and anxiety, that kind of conviction is a real turn-on – something we’ve experienced as well at Jonathan Anderson’s extraordinary Loewe.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Look – Schiaparelli AW20

Despite the name Daniel Roseberry gave his autumn-winter 2020 collection for Schiaparelli – the “Dreamer in Daytime” – the designer included some couture-like flourishes for evening, including a stretch-leather bodysuit worn with a full skirt with a cartridge-pleated waistband – athletic and easy to wear – and a silk faille party dress with detachable sleeves. “I love the idea of a modular ball gown,” he explained to the press back in March, reinforcing the idea that these clothes are designed to feel relaxed – “very chill.” And simultaneously precious.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

For The Champions. Lacoste AW20

Louise Trotter‘s take on Lacoste gets better and better with every season. Golf bags, kiltie loafers, and signature green crocodile logo were all over the autumn-winter 2020 – Trotter knows that a brand like this needs its codes to be nurtured continously – but there were other additions. The designer has not abandoned the brand’s tennis heritage for its neighboring sport at the country club – through these golf-inspired pieces, she is paying homage to René Lacoste’s wife, Simone de la Chaume, a champion golfer whose legacy has been overshadowed by her husband’s embroidered gator. In De la Chaume’s heyday in the 1920s, shin-grazing pleated skirts and deep-V knitwear constituted the on-green look for women; here, Trotter refigured these silhouettes to be lighter, breezier, and in flashes of pastel colors. Styled as total looks – according to stylist Suzanne Koller’s own wardrobe rules – these golfing ensembles had a quirkily modern feel without veering too far into costume. The colour palette of the collection was definitely one of the most inspiring this season. I think buyers and editors aren’t really taking the new Lacoste seriously. And they actually should: it’s great.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.