I Wish You Roses. Magda Butrym Pre-Fall 2023

Magda Butrym‘s pre-fall 2023 collection launched at the time Kali Uchis released her new, soothing single, I Wish You Roses. “I was a rose in the garden of weeds, my petals are soft and silky as my sheets, so do not be afraid to get pricked by the thorns“. Sometimes, a feeling is captured simultaneously by both, music and fashion. The Polish designer, who dresses Hollywood’s leading women, from Natalie Portman to Margot Robbie, knows how to serve a collection that’s feminine, romantic, yet absolutely badass and empowering. The pre-fall offering sees model Erin Wasson wearing the most sexy red dress of the season, literally blooming with hand-draped roses. There’s a column-dress moment in silver lamé; a summer-perfect sun-dress made entirely from crotchet; a hooded black gown giving total red carpet glam. The floral print, so signature for the brand, goes through a Kar Wai Wong’s In The Mood For Love lens this season. The eveningwear is hot, and Butrym keeps on evolving other parts of the wardrobe as well. The red blazer with broad, 1980s shoulders is as convincing and bold as the boxy leather coat. The best-selling heels with pinned flowers now come with the chicest pearls attached. “I wish you roses, yeah, roses, roses…

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Buckle Up. Christopher Kane Pre-Fall 2023

No one does “sex” and “sexy” like Chistopher Kane. His pre-fall 2023 is yet another reminder that the London-based designer owns this territory. The collection’s main character is a buckled strap. Broad, big, buckled straps are bound around the shoulders, necks, and hemlines of mini-shifts and coats. In one case they formed the entire upper body of a dress. Bondage and fetish might be the words we’d automatically reach for here, but not so fast. To Kane, the heavy-duty strapping, combined with reflective yellow, neon green, and orange fabric is more bound up with “uniforms, security, police women, and school lolly-pop ladies.” This season the designer indulged himself with circular cutouts, creating some of the most captivating eveningwear of the season. Circles roll through the naked waist of a long black column, and then wickedly expose two half-moons of flesh above a built-in bra. Kane points out that the collection will start dropping in April, so he’s also found room for “clothes to wear to weddings, cocktail parties, the things you need for summer.” There are little white dresses decorated with hand-drawn micro-flowers, patchworked from organic-shaped “blobs.” Flounced skirts in highlighter orange or lime have hems which can either be buttoned up in front, or left long. All-in-all, it’s a collection that covers a lot of bases, yet still looks inimitably Christopher Kane. By now, he’s accumulated a big playbook to draw on.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To. Christopher John Rogers Pre-Fall 2023

Christopher John Rogers, a designer for whom rainbow stripes are a defining signature, put together half a dozen looks for pre-fall 2023 devoid of color. The title he gave the collection, “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want to,” offers a hint about his new direction. Having captured the fashion world’s attention, Rogers seems to have set out to upend expectations. “What I’m after is autonomy, the ability to do what I want,” he said. “The idea of play is paramount.” Cue the plastic clown noses and the towering silk clown hats created in collaboration with the milliner Piers Atkinson. There’s even a Pierrot jumpsuit in the first grouping, with silk flowers in place of the characteristic pompons, though this isn’t so much a novelty as it is a callback. A pre-pandemic runway show closed with a different take on the look. In the end, this wasn’t the volta face that those first looks augured. It’s just as colorful as any other CJR lineup, just as extroverted, but there is a commitment to pushing at the limits of his well-known signatures. In the studio, Rogers pointed out the porthole cutout in a boxy knit top bordered with the rainbow stripes – “it takes a lot of work to get it to lay flat,” he explained. Also complex: the sweaters that hybridized two crewnecks into one, and a sweater dress with both long sleeves and arm slits. The playfulness has a purpose; those knits can be worn in multiple ways. And the experimentation is balanced by an easy-wearing sensibility. Rogers’s new suits are oversized and unstructured; cut from recycled polyester in zesty shades of grape and crawfish, they’re the fresh, modern flipside of the more formal tailoring on his June runway. Rogers doesn’t want to get boxed into any one category, but evening wear, inevitably, is his calling card. With award season ramping up, there’s bound to be some incoming calls for the tulip gown in floral printed faille and a harlequin embroidered black column with pouf sleeves, both of which nod with flair back to mid-century couture shapes.

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Simply Precious. Jil Sander Pre-Fall 2023

Hello in 2023!

The mood Luke and Lucie Meier were after for Jil Sander‘s pre-fall 2023 was that of “couture mixed with a sportier feel. We like the attitude of elevated functionality, without compromising on interesting volumes and high-quality fabrics and execution.” A clear message indeed, one which they explored in their rainy spring show. The Meiers are inquisitive, soul-searching designers, and questioning their practice is part of the equation. Highlighting the ‘opposites attract’ tension intrinsic to their aesthetic, they asked, “how do you make things that feel very immediate, fresh-feeling, and modern but also have this inherent couture rigor of technique and shape?” The dynamic between precision and glamour, or utility and sensuality played out throughout the collection, with silhouettes alternating between the voluminous and airy, and the slender and close to the body. Classic couture volumes like the cape, the balloon dress, and the opera coat were given a sporty twist and a comforting feel of ease through the counterintuitive use of high-end fabrics. A cape dress was made in thick jersey; a poufy floral-printed and pleated-plastron minidress was cut from papery recycled polyester. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a slender silhouette conveyed a more athletic, agile language in long silk ribbed knit dresses with racerback tops. Remarkable examples of their obsession with the hand-feel of materials were in evidence throughout. A fringed backless top in hand-knitted open-stitch with geometric motifs looked rather striking, as did both a sinuous ivory slip dress with embroidered ajour details and an asymmetrical floral-patterned guipure skirt. On a similar note, four different fabrics were cut into petal-shaped feathers, and then applied decoratively over a miniskirt and a sleeveless top. The effect was both light and luxurious. “Precious in a simple way,” was how the designers’ summarized the allure of the collection.

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Sleek. Ferragamo Pre-Fall 2023

A century after it’s launch, Ferragamo, the brand, has dropped the Salvatore from its name but nonetheless is looking at Hollywood just as its founder once did – in the hope of expansion, improvement, and scope. Following his quite promising debut in Milan in September, Maximilian Davis presented this first pre-fall collection for the brand in its headquarters there. He said: “There’s an image of LA and Hollywood where you kind of pan away from the city and you see the mountains, so you see the contrast of the mountains with the palm trees. So there was this idea of mixing hot and cold.” There was also the idea of insinuating Western dress into Davis’s Ferragamo mix, literally inspired by Salvatore’s work designing and making the footwear for 1923 silent movie The Covered Wagon. This translated into boots, of course, as well as some handsome denim pieces, some with a flocked, velvet finish which were occasionally translated into reproductions in dyed rib jersey. Davis further ruggedized his cleaner, minimal spring template with shaggy shearlings. Checks were used on viscose cady in scarf-dresses and shirting; along with the pleated minis these pieces were playing to audience demand. His eye for jewel-like embellishments and patches of minimal space landed this season upon polished metal or leather buckles, leather patches on leather skirting, as well as a fearsome gold handbag strap. Several stories from that debut season enjoyed sequel outings here, including the nylon casual outerwear looks and others accented in the fiery red which this designer is working to corral for the house. Eel skin was used to fashion sleek, overtly sensual pieces with a hint of kink that softly squeaked with movement. Davis said that building a VIP clientele, as Salvatore once did, is a key part of his strategy at Ferragamo.

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