Techno Mermaid. Ottolinger SS23

Ottolinger designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient opened their spring-summer 2023 fashion show with a sharp look: a deconstructed belt–meets–bra top whose straps covered the nipples and little else, paired with low-slung leather-look trousers made from recycled polyester. Gen Z’s love of near nudity knows no bounds, and the fan base that lounged on the show venue’s mattress seats wearing skin-baring looks from the Berlin-based label would think nothing of wearing a crop top to talk shop. The designers recently launched a pre-collection that they said had allowed them to tackle more conceptual ideas in their runway shows. No longer beholden to showing denim and mesh dresses, which are their big commercial hits, this freed them up to present deconstructed biker jackets and skintight bodysuits. Ironically, though, the strongest pieces were arguably the most commercial, especially the dresses that draped and hugged the body with some rubbery-looking embellishments. Dipping items in rubber is a trait that reads recognizably Ottolinger: The punked-up court shoes, which saw a classic pump wrapped in a futuristic rubber-like casing, were as covetable as the diamanté jewelry dipped in brightly colored rubber that currently sells well on the label’s website. They’d do well to continue hammering home those codes as the Y2K trend keeps rolling and numerous other labels look to replicate their success with the sexy and the skintight.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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That Girl. Celine SS23

As usual, don’t expect novelty in Hedi Slimane‘s Celine collection – rather, an attitude. There is literally nothing fashion-forward about the spring-summer 2023, because Slimane rather styles wardrobe classics than reinterprets them. The designer has infused his classic rock and roll DNA into the nautical nature of Saint-Tropez. Yet most of the looks felt more like a look-back at Kate Moss’ Glastonbury style or Anna Delvey’s attire in her New-York-scammer-peak-point era. But the sun-drenched view in the backdrop was pretty. 2022’s fashion won’t free itself from Y2k aesthetic, that’s for sure, and Slimane also celebrates it. Why not – he’s the king of the indie sleaze aesthetic. Best evidence? In the curation of the music for the Saint-Tropez collection, Slimane has tapped his longtime friends, The Libertines, for their song “Music When the Lights Go Out” from their cult-classic album The Libertines that was released in 2004. What about the clothes? In true Hedi fashion, the jeans are skinny and the boots are high. The core of a Slimane collection is solid; rock & roll chic looks run deep in the hand of the designer who pioneered putting underground rock styles on the runway. Yet in the presence of his foundation, Slimane toys around with these two conflicting narratives of the town; relaxing on the beach versus tearing up the dance floor. The spirit of the ocean is present in nautical sweaters, matching pinstripe sets, and a brilliant captain’s hat that features the house monogram. Sailor button closures are seen in trousers and mini shorts, paired with loose gauge oversized knits that are ideal for yachting season. You know how I feel about Hedi Slimane’s Celine: I don’t really care for it, but I’m always curious to see where the designer’s stubbornness goes next.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Sparks Joy. Zankov SS23

Founded in 2019, Zankov is known for its graphic sweaters in bold color combinations and easy-to-wear silhouettes that the designer Henry Zankov has been slowly building upon and expanding season after season. He seemed most excited about a collaboration with his friend painter Philippine de Richemont. Zankov took de Richemont’s gestural paintings of “the human nongender form” and transformed them into a pattern that appeared in an easy yellow dress made from a high-twist cotton fabric with a light weight perfect for summer. De Richemont’s faces also appeared as embroidery on a couple of woven button-down shirts, done in colorful yarns. “Last season I started experimenting with woven material, and this season we wanted something a bit more hand-done,” Zankov said. Also new was a great pair of wide-leg chinos. For spring-summer 2023, Zankov was also inspired by Ukrainian Jewish artists who share his heritage, like Sonia Delaunay, Louise Nevelson, Kazimir Malevich, and Aleksei Kruchenykh. “I never want to be literal; instead I pulled from what’s inspiring about the visual language of each artist,” he said. That resulted in a fantastic geometric pattern done in shades of aquamarine and indigo that was digitally printed on a very fine rib and turned into a swingy button-down shirt and skirt. “I want everything to feel really, really light but also be strong visually,” said Zankov. A knit tank and matching long shorts in an orange terry with thin red and white stripes achieved that goal, as did a horizontal short-sleeve top with a zipper at the neck and banded sleeves in shades of bright green, canary yellow, orchid, black, and white. Zankov’s signature blocks of color appeared on an oversized sweater, a pair of shorts, and a short-sleeve maxidress whose secret seemed to lie in the orchid color that appeared on half the ribbed neckline. “I know the color’s right when it feels joyful,” he said, and there was no shortage of joy to be found in this collection.

As the festive season is approaching, I will be sharing curated selections of my favourite brands’ items here and there. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, Henry Zankov launched his eponymous label to inject a sense of playfulness and fun into knitwear. The way he juxtaposes natural fibers with highly technical yarns to create a clean, minimal surface is something to behold. Here are my three favourite knits from the label’s current collection, all perfect for a present under the Christmas tree. Or just wear a Zankov piece while decorating one!

Zankov jacquard-knit tank made from organic cotton.

Zankov striped merino wool midi dress in forest green.

Zankov – Kevin Paneled Jacquard-knit Organic Cotton T-shirt – Red

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.
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P.S. In this post, I happen to endorse products I genuinely love. If you end up buying something through the links, my site might earn an affiliate commission – which is always nice!

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Chic Distress. Interior SS23

For spring-summer 2023, Lily Miesmer and Jack Miner presented a lesson in perfect imperfections at Interior, balancing delicate femininity with their signature perverse edge. Barring the occasional pop of red in for of a ripped indie-sleazy t-shirt, the neutral palette puts the focus on the duo’s masterful drapery and eye for sensual fits. Alongside raw-edged slinky netting and covetable suiting, fall in love with amply ruffled going-out tops and a stunning ivory skirt whose full, twirl-worthy volume is cleverly offset by a mud-dipped hem (obsessed). “She probably just has anxiety, and they’re like ‘You’re hysterical, go live in the attic.’” Miesmer said backstage. Distress – both mental and physical – was a driving force in the show, down to the Pixies hit “Where Is My Mind” playing during the finale. True to their ironic take on elegance, Miesmer and Miner found plenty of ways to riff on the staples of Park Avenue princesses: shirt dresses (but with voluminous trains), cozy cashmere knits (but with an unraveling crop), double breasted suits (with raw edges) and ballet flats (but actual ones used by ballerinas, sourced from Miesmer’s favorite dance store). Classic, almost preppy affluence is at the core of Miesmer and Miner’s designs, but this season there was something rotting underneath – and they’d take that as a compliment. “There’s an audacity in destroying the most beautiful cotton fiber, yarn, cashmere, and layers of chiffon and lace,” Miesmer added, referring to how she and Miner took power tools and horse brushes to the textiles to give them the exact right effect. The fun of Interior is how they distort the prissy, the stuffy, and the basic. Their first collection was filled with clothes that would look at home at a dinner party, but since then, Miner and Miesmer have incrementally added a sinister undercurrent. A pink strapless ruched cotton jersey top with a swishy cotton gauze skirt is a prime example. It could have been worn by one of Degas’s models, but the hem is more muted than the top, suggesting frequent wear, and the waistband is folded down. She’s not a prima ballerina; she’s the last one standing in a horror movie.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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The Hollywood Glow. Rodarte SS23

For Rodarte‘s spring-summer 2023 collection, Kate and Laura Mulleavy harnessed the theatricality and glow of live performances into a lineup of dresses and sets that balance fluid shapes with busy prints and intricate, rich textures. Alongside rainbows of psychedelic swirls – which take shape across bias-cut chiffon slips – and velvet burnout silhouettes, you will find a range of high-shine threads and embellishments with a light-refracting quality that adds striking dimension. “We were really wanting to feel something that was really vibrant and alive and about lighting and connectivity,” said Laura. A sense of ease and lightness was achieved on an entirely hand knit purple gown with long sleeves and a contrasting orange trim on the hem and cuffs. The yarn was made from a material “that almost looks like saran wrap,” Kate concluded. “No one believes it will be, and that’s what’s so cool about it. It’s very shiny.” They used the same fabric to create little skirt suits worn with matching cropped tops; one in shades of green, and another in orange and pink. The concept of light – both in terms of weight and illumination – played an important role in the collection. Metallic details abounded in fabric construction and embellishments, bringing into play the light that surrounds the garment as an added accessory. “All of the materials are in some way reflective of light. Even the lace has a sheen on it,” one of the Mulleavy sisters said. “So what’s interesting is that you see them differently depending on the angle at which you are looking at them.” This were manifested in straightforward ways, as in some of the looks in the second half of the collection: holographic sequins on an architecturally draped asymmetric gown; silver sequins on a spaghetti strap tunic and flared trousers; silver fringe on a Nick Cave-esque (the fine artist, not the musician) long sleeve cropped top and matching trousers; and gowns with mosaics made from small mirror shards. “We’re starting to see the red carpets open back up again,” said Laura. “I feel like there’s no version of us as designers at Rodarte if there never was a red carpet. We’re in Los Angeles, and it’s one of the thrilling aspects of designing eveningwear. If you design a gown, you want to see it out there, that’s the beauty of it.” But the Mulleavys know that the magic of their clothes is that they can impart that same feeling to anyone that wears them, no matter the place.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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