Never Nostalgic. Azzedine Alaïa SS20

We try always try to have something that relates to our history, without being dated or nostalgic – Mr. Alaïa was never nostalgic,” said Caroline Fabre Bazin, Azzedine’s longtime right arm, during the spring-summer 2020 presentation for the maison. The look-book is a classic homage to the couturier’s outstanding oeuvre. One of the designer’s most iconic pieces, the perfecto, appeared in the collection few times, being the season’s key item. “He would always say ‘yes, okay’ and then he’d change everything, because he hated repeating himself,” said Fabre Bazin. “Practically from the beginning, he made them every season: short, long, with zip, without, in python, leather, denim; every time it was different.” This season, an early, pre-2000 biker jacket returns in Japanese denim or in python. Other throwbacks: a polka dot faille trench or a denim peacoat from summer 1992 (a nod to the Tati exhibition currently on show at the Association Azzedine Alaïa). The bow theme may nod to a collection from 2010, signature studs may return via 3D printing, a technical silk organza may be embroidered with an archival motif and then used on a different silhouette, or a print from 1991 may find fresh relevance on different materials – the studio working under the name of the master reinvents, revisits, reworks. Ultimately, “then” fuses with “now”. The Alaïa atelier has all it needs to keep shining for years to come.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Razor Sharp. Peter Do SS20

Peter Do SS20 collage

Peter Do‘s name-sake label has been making waves since its very start (which was less than two years ago). The New York-based designer doesn’t do fashion shows and presents his collections off-schedule – those are two factors that could easily make him and his brand an off-the-radar outsider But Peter Do has a consistence in his work that many, much more established brands can envy: very clear, clean and minimal aesthetic that’s as precise as a razor. Do, along with Bottega Veneta’s Daniel Lee and Rokh’s Rok Hwang, shares a very specific alma mater that additionally attracts clients: Phoebe Philo’s Céline. But Philophiles won’t find Céline-like pieces at Peter Do, that’s not the point. Spring-summer 2020’s hero piece is an adjustable jacket that separates into a bolero and a backless waistcoat. Another highlight is the single-button jacket that fastens high and off-center on the torso, producing a nipped-in silhouette. The colour palette, mostly black and white, is beautifully contrasted with shades of ochre and rust. What else is sure about Do? Tailoring is key for the brand. And it definitely stole women’s hearts, if Net-A-Porter is restocking the current collection, and such important retail players as Dover Street Market and Bergdorf Goodman already have the Peter Do classics on their racks.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Timeless, Artisan and Beautiful. Tuinch SS20

I’ve discovered Veronique Vermussche‘s label Tuinch last season and I tell you, this is love at first sight! Each season, Vermussche travels from Belgium, where she lives, to the mountains of Kashmir and Tibet on to procure world-class cashmere from local artisans she’s built long-standing relationships with. For spring-summer 2020, meet some of the most luxurious knitwear goods you’ve ever seen. The collection brings hand-knitted skirts and dresses to the line-up of timeless sweaters that will serve you for years to come. The open-weave wrap-knit sarong skirt, complete with leather detailing, is the collection’s biggest highlight, just as the tasseled cotton-wool cape. It’s a summer look-book, so no wonder why the designer tries mixing linen and silks with her ribbed cashmere knits and wool maxi dresses. The warm, earthy colour palette is eventually contrasted with pastel shades that pop up in the details. Artisan, top notch quality and seasonless: that’s sustainability, too.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Cool Folk. Chopova Lowena SS20

Chopova Lowena is currently one of the most fascinating, emerging labels from London. Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena‘s Central Saint Martins MA graduate collection began with them looking at Bulgaria’s mountain dwellers, particularly the women, and the way they dressed. There, they found all the contrasting elements they felt so intrigued with, like intricate handmade folk costumes worn with secondhand western sneakers and sunglasses. Chopova Lowena is beloved for its juxtapositions, subtly combining modernity and nostalgia, luxury and kitsch, craftsmanship and humour. The same spirit of new and old, rare and mainstream, is reflected in their spring-summer 2020 lookbook. Skin-tight layers of tartan-checks printed mesh are paired with their signature Bulgarian pleats in wool and nylon (they sell out super fast and you’ve surely seen them gracing street style slideshows this fashion month). Big, punk-ish belts double as mini-skirts underneath delicate harnesses made from metal hardware. The folky, peasant dresses and blouses with theatrical sleeves are another highlights. Chopova Lowena has an anthropological approach to design, observing traditional customs and revisiting them through a contemporary lens – often through collaborating with craftsmen in small Eastern European and English communities.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Commission SS20

Meet Commission, a brand that you’ve got to have on your radar right now. The New York-based co-founders Huy Luong, Dylan Cao and Jin Kay set out to redefine their Asian heritage using Western style codes. Their third season – spring-summer 2020 collection – is a modern reinterpretation of what their mothers wore to work in the ‘80s – think boxy shirts, tailored jackets and retro prints. When Kay, Cao and Luong met a few years ago, they were all getting different commissions for work at various brands. When the three found that they shared a visual language, they decided to commission their own work. “It was time to commission something for ourselves,” said Luong. “For our culture.” And so they created Commission, a label that wins hearts with sophisticated, yet unpretentious clothing born of the 1980s and ’90s nostalgia. Kay grew up in Korea, while Cao and Luong hail from Vietnam. As Cao tells Paper, “we’re first-generation immigrants to the US. So around the time that we started there was this conversation we wanted to have, about Asian, especially East Asian, culture and representation in the visual world, and especially in the fashion industry. And for a long time we found it really limiting, and really literal.” When looking at family photos, all three designers realized that their mothers styled themselves in a similar manner to go to work in the late ’80s and early ’90s, dressing with the same “visual code,” as Cao put it. “The ’80s and ’90s, that’s sort of a period when not a lot of people talk about Asia, because there’s less to romanticize” he continued. “By then there were a lot of Western influences in the way people dressed in Asia. Growing up we’d see our parents go to work and tweak the Western-style codes in their own way. And just looking at our moms and the way they dressed – the big suits, the shoulder pads, the pants – but adding their own personal flares to the way they styled the clothes, that’s what kind of connected us.”  Commission’s spring-summer 2020 line-up’s highlights? To be honest, I love everything, from the refined tailoring to the ‘ugly chic’ colour palette. To discover more, check out their site.

vvccbbnnmm

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.