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044: Fashion's reign of terroir
Plus the SSENSE sale soft launch, Chloe Cherry against the machine, and JPG is back, baby.
All anyone wants to talk about lately is Paris. How Parisians shop (more cheaply than Americans), what Parisians want to do (much less than New Yorkers), how Parisians run through clothes (not as fast as Italians), who’s going to Paris this summer, or who just came back (everyone). And I think it’s time to have the City Talk.
We are bearing witness to a fantastic moment in the arts when everything is immediately accessible from anywhere in the world, and yet most of it still has a sense of place. I’m not sure that’s always going to be the case, as borders around ideas weaken, and learning from a young age means absorbing concepts and tendencies organized by online communities more so than physical limitations.
As this shift happens, there is satisfaction to be found in sussing out the terroir in clothing and accessories. Greater than even with Paris, design coming out of other top Fashion city London has among the most potent signatures indicative of origin, tartan plaid weaving its way though Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, and up to Chopova Lowena, whose Bulgarian roots do not exempt it from the Made-in-the-UK watermark. (Relatedly, as I’ve written before, Irish designers seem powerless to resist a bit of floof, as exemplified by Simone Rocha and recent LVMH Prize candidate Róisín Pierce.)
Milan’s undying proclivity for a heel and a pencil skirt has not gone unappreciated, a caked-in sex appeal inescapable whether you’re Fendi or Sunnei, so long as there are logos in clear sight (the greatest common denominator is fashion for handbags’ sake—for better or worse).
Here in New York, cult is key. Inside-out-shirt gang blends into club-kid gang, which blends into sanitized-futurism gang, but each and every holds its own hive—just ask Eckaus Latta, LaQuan Smith, or Peter Do.
And in Paris, ahh Paris, a mighty anchor. Demure minimalism reigns, and while innovation is sometimes celebrated, most bottlings still taste like horseblanket-y brett, from beige-and-leather barrels of the city’s equine leanings. Would a Ludovic de Saint Sernin lace-up fly not look the part in an old Hermes catalog? Is Thom Browne not just jockey uniforms? It’s not as if Chanel doesn’t host a polo-themed runway every other year, and even Lemaire’s muted tones take a color picker to the stables anew each season.
I think ultimately our societal fixation on Parisian fashion—“French girl style” to Pinteresters—can be forgiven, as can the cult members and coquettes and fashion militias. It’s all we can do to keep our palettes grounded as a million new things bloom all at once.
Jean Paul Gaultier is coming back in a huge way, perhaps sensing some cash-flow FOMO with everyone tapping into its archive for large sums. A couple of guest-designed collections later (Chitose Abe of Sacai and Glenn Martens of Y/Project, and there’s Olivier Rousteing of Balmain to look forward to next), and now we’re seeing affordable, new-in JPG everywhere—just look to its exclusive SSENSE collab featuring mesh Venus-prints that seem plucked straight from the Soleil runway. Most recently, a collaboration with stylist Lotta Volkova gets to the exact coordinates where the brand’s unabashed weirdness meets tasteful vulgarity with nude body-printed dresses and separates, velvet and satin cone bras, and other extraordinary pieces (assless skirt, anyone?). All I can say is, JPG is back, baby.
Uber-Italian brand Versace knows exactly who it is, and in 2022 that means aligning with Hussy Models/Euphoria breakout star Chloe Cherry. For its Spring Summer ‘22 collection campaign, Versace puts its main character up against a variety of science-fictional opponents: a McQueen-ish robotic arm, a surveillance device that
looks a lot likeis essentially a phone, and some ominous Cherry clones. The bubble gum-colored leather bags are already 25% off at SSENSE’s private sale.
Good American launches a collection with Zara, which is weird to me because they’re both fast fashion, so who’s supposed to be the get here? Seems kind of askew after some more on-brand placements for the Inditex flagship like Kassl and Ader Error. Anyway it’s all under $100.
The brand behind those whale-tail knit flare plants on Instagram has over the past couple years expanded into ever-more desirable and mature pieces with a ton of party appeal. Subsurface’s chainmail-esque dress and sleeve set, it's draped mesh long-sleeve and pants, and its many silks are finally available on SSENSE.
There’s also: Gentle Monster and Moncler release their second collaborative collection of sunglasses, following GM’s capsule with Hood By Air, as reported here last week; UNIQLO x Hana Tajima SS22 goes live; sometimes it’s the little things—F.Miller and Winder co-create a claw clip in seaweed green, and it’s just nice; the demi-cringe, demi-cool Sporty & Rich releases a New York Capsule, and I feel predictably about it; and IDK how this got past me, but apparently Linda Farrow and Maryam Nassir Zadeh teamed up on a sunglasses collection.
What’s on sale
Big news: The SSENSE sale is back. Technically it’s just the Private Sale right now, which means you have to sign into your account to see the discounts. But when you do, you’ll find a ton of brands that would rather not have you know they’re on sale for up to 50% off. I scrolled for hours, but it’s not clear what the optimal angle is for tackling this is—I bought a Miaou bikini, but I’m currently tantalized by a Lemaire Croissant bag for 20% off (or the big one for 16%), some Maryam bits and pieces that are on sale, a Loewe basket bag that’s under $350, plus plenty of Frankie Shop for around $100 or less. At large, it seems like most sale items are fall/winter season, but I’m hypothesizing that by next week, once some merch has moved, more recent and timely things will get pulled into the mix. The date I have pegged for the full-blown sale return is around June 6, so I believe there’s going to be a short wait between this iteration and that one. Get your shopping done for low-stock pieces now, but conserve some energy for the next few weeks—it’s about to get interesting.
Not to be outshined, LN-CC (who I always think of as SSENSE’s baby sister) is having its own private sale, although the parameters to that privacy seem a lot laxer. The deals, though, are arguably more wantable. A shit ton of designer bags are 30-40% off, including Bottega, Balenciaga, Paco, Margiela, so it’s a good time for would-be investors. A bunch of more affordable options sweeten the pot, like Fila x Y/Project’s fun collab, Jacquemus swimsuits, and lots of new-season Acne.
And here’s Shopbop getting in on the action, too. It’s calling it a “Preview Sale”—again, these are just words, what is there to preview? It’s already happening!—and it’s deep-laden with all the pieces core to the site’s identity: great jeans, charming dresses, cute lil bags, and shoes that meet comfy with cute, all up to 40% off.
An actually alarming number of things are 81% off at Nordstrom SPACE currently, not that there is any clear sale being promoted on the landing page. Isa Boulder, Acne Studios, ERL. It’s all there but disappearing quickly.
There’s also: Latinx hair care brand Ceremonia is hosting a sale up to 25% off if you buy four products; Lisa Says Gah’s Warehouse Sale is offering an extra 25% off everything already marked down, for discounts compounding on 75% off deals; and Budapest-based brand Aeron’s archive sale reaches up to 60% off, where you’ll find fantastic buttery leathers that drape like pure heaven.
Pitti Immagine Uomo 102 is shaping up to be an ecstatic time for Florence and its onlookers, with Grace Wales Bonner appearing as guest designer (as reported here last week), and the recent re-announcement of Ann Demeulemeester as guest of honor. She herself will be curating the special project in her honor, a tribute to her 40-some year career.
Streetwear editorial platform Highsnobiety is breaking ground on a “Highsnobiety Sports Flagship,” a virtual storefront for retail, activations, and collaborations. The special curation will coincide with a physical pop-up at LA’s Fred Segal store on Melrose.
Cartier has opened applications for its Women’s Initiative 2023, inviting any women-led initiative centering environmental or social impact to make its case in hopes of being among those to receive this year’s grants—which over past years has totaled more than $6 million in funding.
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