Signatures. Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2022

People might find Thom Browne’s work monotonous, if they look at it superficially. Gray wool suit, pleated skirt, rakish tie – these distinct Browne signatures are always there. However, Browne rarely does the same thing twice. Sure, he has a very stable gray wool core, but each season he delights in trying out an outrageous new silhouette, a clever in-joke, or a cheeky rethink of an American staple. While this women’s collection carries over motifs from Browne’s men’s pre-fall, including lovely jade floral intarsias inspired by his bedroom wallpaper and a fixation with lobsters resulting in an exceptional Shetland wool lobster skirt – he introduced new whimsical proportions here. A cropped puffer was so short and bulbous it almost looked like a mushroom cap atop slender black trousers. Browne has never made a womenswear silhouette that exaggerates the upper body in this abbreviated way before. Elsewhere, khaki shorts do the opposite for a woman’s lower half; they’re cut wide, loose, and sexless enough to look dementedly funny. The signature Browne suit has evolved, as well: The shoulderpads and the canvas are cut out of the brand’s cropped blazer so that it’s as soft and snuggly as a cardigan, constructed from an elegant black-and-white tweed. The check gray skirt suit in look 28 might seem standard, but look closer and Browne is doing something strangely new: here is a single-breasted blazer with a vest long enough to be worn as a dress and a loose, almost shapeless skirt. For a designer with famously strict tailoring, silhouettes that skim the body and waft in the breeze are practically revelatory. Browne says the suit is “the most important look” of the collection, unlocking an idea that will carry to the silhouettes we’ll see in his autumn-winter 2022 outing in a couple of weeks.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Zankov Knitwear

Henry Zankov, an experienced, New York-based knitwear designer, concepted his namesake brand to inject a sense of playfulness, freshness and ease into men’s and women’s knitwear. Zankov is a knitwear collection that establishes a new visual and tactile language with a strong emphasis on color, touch, pattern and quality. Exquisite, natural fibers are juxtaposed with technical yarns and knit with a clean, minimal surface using specialist techniques. Luxurious brushed alpaca, high-twist viscose crepe and tubular cashmere blends are key yarns realized in horizontal knitting, intarsias and jacquards.  Quality and finish are paramount: the inside of each garment is just as important as the outside. The core of the brand is very much inspired by art, color, life and the street. Exploring a genderless and an uncomplicated way to wear knitwear, silhouettes are simple yet iconic, to be shared and cherished. Discover this brilliant brand here!

And here are some of my favourite Zankov knits you can get now: Samuel striped knitted cardigan in blue, Dale striped knitted sweater in green, Franken knitted sweater in yellow and Zeke striped sweater in red.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Her World. Batsheva Pre-Fall 2022

The heartbeat of Batsheva has always been designer Batsheva Hay herself. She started her brand making clothing she would like to wear, then friends in New York propelled her personal designs into an organically thriving business. In the four years since, Hay’s operation has grown immensely, with global stockists and categories like homewear, accessories, and fun collaborations. In Manhattan, she’s moved out of her home office and taken over two spaces in New York’s Garment District: one holds her studio and design team, just down the hall a room overflows with floral prints, ruffle dresses, and tiny tchotchkes in Hay’s ditsy patterns. How can a brand so personal evolve and succeed as its orbit grows beyond its iconoclastic founder? The good news is Hay is always – and has always been – willing to share her weirdness. Even if she holds up a block print checkerboard print, a bustier maxi dress in black, or a tank dress as items that don’t jibe with her personal style, she is quick to find ways a Batsheva acolyte could incorporate them into their wardrobe. Layering remains key. New dress shapes like a mod babydoll in black eyelet and a ’70s-inspired, A-line shirtdress broaden the offering and edge it, just maybe, into more quote-unquote normal clothing territory. Of course even a Batsheva basic comes with a little cheeky wink. Her chambray shirts and white blouses are predicated on giant pouf sleeves and adorned with excess eyelet ruffle trim. There is a new pajama set and a continuation of her pantaloons and ruffle-trim trousers, now in dusty caramel florals and navy moiré. The tenor of this off-beat, easy and somehow glamorous clothing feels right as we kiss 2021 goodbye and look forward to the first (we hope) good new year in a while.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Suits & Intarsia. Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2022

For pre-fall 2022, Thom Browne‘s models sport inches-long falsies and tote leather lobster bags and backpacks in a display that is so provocatively Surrealist it recalls Elsa Schiaparelli’s daring 1937 dress with a crustacean across the crotch. Browne’s version relies less on the obvious pun of that exoskeletal creature – he says the lobster is just the latest of the animals he has welcomed into his zoo – and more an examination of the beauty of skirting on men. It’s a continuation of ideas he started nearly 20 years ago but have taken hold of late, with Dan Levy and Lee Pace wearing Browne’s skirts on the red carpet. This season he’s constructed half-pleated, half-straight versions of his classic kilt, worn with “one-and-a-half”–breasted blazers with self-tipped seams and covered buttons. Modular dresses in melton wool carry over from the spring 2022 collection, now in warm dove gray and mossy celadon. A selection of slim, sexy black-tie options, from midi-skirts to short suits, close out the collection. Saving the best for last, there are also jade green floral intarsias. Those of us who have followed Browne for the past two decades may think that he’s tapped all his personal references, but a wise designer always leaves himself room for more. Just before the pandemic hit, Browne and his partner, Andrew Bolton, purchased a new home in Manhattan, which they spent two years renovating. This fall they finally moved in, and their central aesthetic compromise was the hand-painted jade green floral wallpaper above their bed. The same flowers are cut in furs and wools, winding up on overcoats and embroidered into jackets. “I don’t think I’ve ever done anything as personal,” Brown summed up. The couple’s home, he says, will be off-limits to design mags, but this simple shared gesture is open to everyone to try on and try out. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that who you spend your life with matters.

Need a quick Thom Browne wardrobe fix? These classics will be it: Thom Browne red & navy wool cardigan, Thom Browne grey car coat, Thom Browne multicolor check miniskirt, Thom Browne grey twill 4-bar blazer & Thom Browne grey waterproof wool derbys.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Idiosyncrasy. Christopher John Rogers Pre-Fall 2022

Christopher John Rogers is one of the best things that has happened to American fashion in a while. His amazing garments, always pulsing with colour, energy and statement-making silhouettes, aren’t just red carpets regulars, but wardrobe staples of women with their own, very personal, idiosyncratic style. In his pre-fall 2022 line-up, the designer takes notes from his first experiences of fashion. And when it comes to fashion, Southerners do the most. The region’s style philosophy is about being immaculately turned out, and its belles often choose to embody an aesthetic where perfection and tradition are prioritized. Born and raised in Louisiana, Christopher John Rogers understands this concept implicitly, and for pre-fall he sought to explore what it means to push the limits of your look without straying too far from convention. To accomplish this, he thought back to his youth in Baton Rouge and how he put together outfits as a child. “If I was wearing a suit, there had to be a shirt and tie that matched,” Rogers explained. “If the shirt was forest green, I’d wear a coordinating jacquard tie or stripes, which was my way of showing that I had a point of view while still looking presentable.” Rogers’s color palette may be bright, but he can send subtle messages. Here he worked to rethink the staples of American sportswear, loading classic silhouettes with oversaturated colors and heavily detailed prints of the Ken Scott and Celia Birtwell variety. All the oomph allows for moments of grandeur – a multicolored ball gown with spin-painting patterns that would make Damien Hirst jealous – but the evening fare takes a back seat to the more versatile looks. Given the lengthy amount of time that pre-collections spend on the shelves, the season has taken on added importance. “Our preseasons are now our main seasons,” said Rogers. “So there is a lot of [focus] on this idea of comfort, being able to wear these clothes to more than just an event.

Broadening the scope of his designs allowed Rogers to play with some new categories, most notably outerwear. His playful takes on pragmatic pieces seemed destined for Instagram glory. Offered in transparent PVC with rainbow squiggles covering nearly every inch, his raincoat is a delightful finishing touch that will have people wishing for rain. Likewise, fluorescent hues and gradient stripes inject life into the most basic of basics, like shirtdresses and house gowns. Some of the collection’s energy can be attributed to the use of pastiche; the lineup wasn’t just a Southern homage or retro mashup. It was a mix of themes, eras, and muses united by Rogers’s affinity toward them. A quick perusal and you’ll see modish prints, flapper silhouettes, fringe, the exaggerated proportions of late-’50s couture, Yayoi Kusama–esque polka dots, and much more. “I started from such a visceral place,” he said. “Instead of an overly prescriptive vision, I wanted it to feel like [I was] going through my closet and finding pieces that made sense to me and how I wanted to show myself to the world. Ultimately that’s what I’m trying to do – create tools for people so they can express themselves fully.”

Can’t wait for Christopher John Rogers’ Collection 009 to drop? Need some CJR in your wardrobe, like, right now? You will LOVE these pieces from the current season: green velvet gown, oversized polka-dot jacquard-knit sweater, oversized green shirt, silk-satin wide-leg pants & asymmetric pleated satin skirt in electric blue.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.