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097: Acting my age in fashion years
Plus Uniqlo x Sofia Coppola, Gohar World Weddings, and the quiet arrival of private sale season.
I sometimes think about people’s style in terms of, are they a child or are they an adult? At any age, there tends to be a divide in spirit: I know I am an Adult because as an actual kid (around 6 years old), I dressed up for Halloween as a “grown-up”—wearing lipstick, a somber black dress, my mom’s heels—and then never quit rushing to get older. I take myself so seriously sometimes, it’s a burden. Those with lively inner children are easier to spot and probably get along with: color, pattern, play.
The broad impact of the Miu Miu show (“Literally me” fashion, per Rachel) served to remind even the curmudgeonliest among us of the blasé teen within who, no matter her “moon” age, is beholden to a worldview relative to her limited experience. Heartbreak at the mall, say. Even if we were always old, we were young once, too.
It’s more obvious than ever that Miu Miu is Miuccia’s diaristic voice, while the co-helmed Prada is an edited artist’s statement. It’s an expression we’re lucky to have access to, considering how far out of favor the “Missy” line has fallen in the last 10 or 20 years.
The industry has been heavily reorg’ed, but not that long ago there was a huge emphasis on the young shopper, enough to have spurred the creation of sub-brands like JPG’s Junior Gaultier, Dolce & Gabbana’s D&G, Versus Versace, the lesser-known MTM by Mugler, and Moschino Cheap & Chic (which says it right there in the name!).
I was chatting this weekend with a friend who runs an eBay store with over 3,000 such listings about how the incredible thing about these diffusion lines was that the quality didn’t drop off compared to primary labels. They might not have been using Italian kid leather or have the bluster of a red-carpet presence, but their lasting constitution have led them to be prime collectibles in today’s market.
Past their physical integrity, though, it’s the kablam-pow energy of the pieces, their dalliances with surrealism and hyperbolic application of their own brand codes, that betrays the motor link between a designer’s inner adolescent and their hand. And today, those outcomes of instinct are often traded at hundreds less than RTW from core lines of the same era.
A Versus LBD bearing the signature Versace safety pin for $148. A Cheap & Chic tromp l’oeil blazer masquerading as a seamstress’ dress form for under $200. D&G’s blazer version of the infamous Carrie Bradshaw runway-tumble coat for $84. A $120 t-shirt from Junior Gaultier featuring Muybridgian running sequences of a man and child, hitting dangerously close to the heart of this matter.
Many fewer true diffusion lines are around and worth shopping today (I’d nominate MM6 as being up there), but like the latest from Miu Miu, these exuberant pieces still capture the childlike wonder of a dresser born old.
An instantly socialed Uniqlo x Sofia Coppola collab brings the director’s (fittingly) adolescent-centric films to graphic tees. But of course, following an opening-day rush of fan girlies grabbing the more recognizable designs featuring Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette scenes, only two styles remain, though they’re fully stocked in sizes: a text-only Bling Ring tee and a version feat. the obscure Somewhere.
Coperni’s FW23 show was a favorite of mine among the collections, and I’m pleased to get a clearer picture of what’s actually for sale through a Moda Operandi trunkshow, live for another five days. One very ID-able pinch-emoji dress is going for a reasonable $710, while the stretchy, strappy bodysuit I loved on Jill Kortleve is $590—a rate that, with a 50% deposit and November delivery date, makes it a doable pre-order option (I’m meditating on it in my cart!).
Sydney Sweeney’s collection with Frankie’s Bikinis is out today, and though you might have an added layer of appreciation for the collab if you’re a Euphoria fan—Sweeney wore a pink Frankie’s suit in a scene you’ve likely seen meme’d, even if you aren’t—the pieces are thankfully not exclusive to high schoolers having meltdowns in hot tubs. From a high-waisted bikini piled with frills to a gothically lacy suit with a corset-like bodice, the pieces all play on the sacred/profane dichotomy of sexuality as interpreted by Sweeney, who models them while adorned with a rhinestone-encrusted cross necklace in case there was any doubt as to the collection’s self-aware sacrilege.
Having likely blown up your inbox for years, Parade has now expanded its purview to Target, where you can find its famously affordable underwear and lounge pieces without having to pay for shipping (on orders over $35). Stocking sizes XS to 3XL and starting at around $10, the prolific brand has injected what was once an abject department of sexless Hanes six-packs and dated shapewear with its vibrant colors, contemporary cuts, and a welcome dose of levity.
To uncomplicate the daily act of getting dressed, minimalists and uniform enthusiasts among us can find an oasis in Fear of God’s Essentials line, a rotation of of mix-and-matchable monochrome basics in ultra-specific colors, like that of its just-dropped SS23 collection: a brown so rich it vibrates with an underlying purple tint. Shirt-jackets come in nylon and corduroy, henleys pair with sweats or dock shorts, and the entire collection embodies the paragon union of East Coast prep with West Coast chill.
The A.P.C. x Liberty situationship becomes official: A cool 35 years since the French denim brand started using the iconic textile maker’s fabrics for its designs, a collaboration at long last hits stores. The delicate floral printed button-downs and live-in-able tees are iterated in novel materials like silk twill, technical nylon, and cotton ripstop for a cohesive collection with a powerfully nostalgic ‘80s feel.
Nuptials or not, Gohar World’s Wedding Collection is a must-see for those who wish to sever ties with reality altogether, as the Gohar sisters have seemingly done for themselves with this latest lineup. A $280 knick-knack holder shaped like a peanut, $600 “wedding cake” candle, and special-edition white version of their famed baguette bag (she goes bridal!) make an appearance—all characters in the play of life I’d rather be acting out than this one where alternate-side parking and robocalls exist.
In the tradition of Snow White, Romeo and Juliet, and untold numbers of other romantic fables, Eytys’ latest collection is named “Love and Poison,” with its aesthetics landing in both camps of intoxication. Jeans bloom with flowers that look on the verge of wilting or hearken back to Olivia Newton John’s cigarette-snuffing leather look at the culmination of Grease’s chaotic teen love story, while shrunken tanks and attention-demanding sneakers harness the powerful allure of the emotionally unavailable skater-boy archetype.
Fforme’s Edition 02 collection is giving “grown up” sexy in its slinky, slouchy shapes, which include architected tank tops that look like envelopes ready to be unsealed, sculpted cap-sleeve shirts with engineering flair to rival that of Pleats Please, ankle pants in an intense orchid hue, and more wardrobe building-block pieces.
If you’ve ever had the impulse to drop a rack on sneakers that look pre-worn (but don’t align yourself with Golden Goose’s flavor of celebrity), Balenciaga’s line of Adidas Stan Smiths will scratch your hyper-specific itch. The pairs start at $800, and most are designed to look beleaguered and wizened, though the slim profiles and elegant detailing betray the shoes’ status symbolism.
Staud is the latest brand to add to the wave of bridal collections that offer pieces to serve as relatively affordable wedding attire, honeymoon showstoppers, simple prescriptions for the wedding guest bemused with a dress code, and beyond. From a glowy, aura-inspired dress (with matching heels!) for the bride who loves psilocybin mushrooms to a creamy suit for someone who prefers truffles freshly shaven over a business lunch, newlyweds, soon-to-be-weds, and soon-to-be-drunk-at-an-open-bar guests have a litany of options.
An amber leather jacket studded with constellations of silver eyelets in various sizes and a hazy gray slip skirt laden with black tassels at the hips are two highlights of Saks Potts’ first SS23 drop, which expands along a spectrum from pleasantly quotidian (a fitted black t-shirt) to however a gold-foiled, high-necked trench coat could be characterized (Scandi rococo, perhaps).
Puppets and Puppets x thee Michael Stars is now a thing, and it’s live on SSENSE. Carly Mark’s quirked up silhouettes enmesh quite sexily I must say with Michael Star’s history-making stretch knits, and not a thing is over $250.
There’s also: Loro Piana introduces the Bale Bag (how Arcadian!), though of course it starts at $2,625, lest you get the wrong message; Haus Label’s “outfit repeating” palette expands with the addition of Arabica, a grey-brown neutral that enlivens any shade paired with it; the only two hosiery brands I’ve allowed entry to my second drawer collaborate—Sheertex x Swedish Stockings introduce the Lois tight, the first-ever rip-resistant pair made from recycled materials; 1017 Alyx 9SM welcomes the Alba Bag to its lineup, its triangular, folded-leather shape and signature metal buckle an easy extension of the Alyx universe; Aeron’s Ramadan capsule flows in lush, golden silks and modest cuts; On pushes the designer agenda of nerdy-turned-fashionable footwear brands with a third Loewe collaboration that pairs the high-tech comfort of On’s running shoes with J.W.Anderson’s elevated approach to color and silhouette; and Dr. Scholl’s is another foot-focused brand upgrading its cool factor by collaborating with Re/Done on a retro slip-on sandal made with sustainably sourced denim, leather, and beachwood.
What’s on sale
I’m gathering that we’re in the midst of a silent designer-sale season, because SSENSE and Bergdorf both quietly dropped the prices on Bottega, Alaïa, and Burberry pretty significantly. At the former’s “Private Sale” is also a strong case for stocking up on Éterne basics and The Row, meanwhile the latter’s “BG Private Designer Sale” is offloading Prada at a 50% markdown. From the lot, I’ll steer you toward this The Row deep v-neck in the style of Margiela for Hermes, enormous Bottega Bermuda shorts for under $300, and ombre, logo-plate Prada Mary Jane pumps for half off.
Nordstrom’s underrated SPACE section, an intersection of emerging and avant-garde designers, is hugely on sale right now, with over a third of all products at least 20% off, but many as much as 84% off retail. Top sale items include a Raf Simons sweater for under $300, Julia Heuer plissé top for around $200, and lightweight Cecilie Bahnsen jacket for $430 (over $1,000 off).
In Maison Rogue’s Friends + Family sale, a drapey cowl-neck gown from Vince in a rose tint perfect for a spring wedding, a meant-to-be-seen Sandy Liang bra with ribbons trailing down the back of the straps, a selection of Boy Smells candles, and over 400 other pieces from a well-curated list of brands are 20% off with FF20.
Fifteen of Everlane’s everyday jean styles are up to 75% off, most priced at $30 or less, down from around $100 each. You can find the end-all-be-all of a basic blue jean, bright indigo denim cut specifically for hourglass body shapes, straight-legged, selvedge-style jeans with wide accent cuffs, and more.
Italist is running a little “it’s spring, shop like it!” sale on SS23 goods (as the platform is wont to do with current-season pieces), incredulously reduced by down to 45%. It shaves hundreds off Davis-era Ferragamo bags, Acne jackets, and logo-buckled Gucci bikinis.
Jewelry brand Young Frankk, which once dominated among ascendant “aesthetic” Instagram accounts, is sadly closing, as the owner is moving onto her next project (motherhood). Naturally, a closing sale is in order, and all merchandise has been reduced by 50% with some deeper sample sale discounts mixed in.
The Outnet’s “Biggest Sale Ever” brags about its 1,400 items and 80% discounts, and surprisingly, the reality is even better: The highest markdowns go up to 90% on runway Burberry dresses for $9,000 off retail, leather Theory pants for under $200, Acne Studios boots for $150, and Gabriela Hearst flats for just $89.
I wound up on Savannah’s sale page hunting down a pair of The Row Raffaella embroidery pumps, which are hundreds less than even other sales at $375, and I discovered that the rest of the slim markdowns section is equally competitive: Ginzas for under $500, Ferragamo ballerinas for under $300, and so on and so forth.
1stDibs’ Spring Sale, running through the end of this week, makes for great window shopping, or perhaps actual shopping if you’ve just moved apartments and you’ve got a budget to blow on Noguchi lantern lamps, Charlotte Perriand daybeds, and high-backed Charles Rennie Mackintosh dining chairs.
Use SPENDTOSAVE on a selection of pieces at Net-A-Porter for 20% off orders $500 or more and 25% off orders over $750, numbers easily reachable with a cart full of glossy Tabi loafers, ecstatic Christopher John Rogers rainbow sweaters, and Asics Nimbuses with powdery violet soles.
At J.Crew, take up to 50% off everything (including sale pieces) with ADDTOBAG, especially convenient now that it’s March, summer is looming, and ordering a one-shoulder swimsuit in the blue of an ocean vista off an Aegean coast or a straw basket one could imagine toting along that same shoreline is now more anticipatory than self-delusional.
On Ulta’s website until April 1, each day brings a new selection of 50% off deals on classic beauty hits ranging from a NuFace microcurrent device (!!!) to Fenty Beauty concealers. You can see the full lineup at the link to form a strategy for sale purchases.
There’s also: The notoriously irresistible Agent Provocateur sale is back, granting shoppers an additional 20% off its already-up-to-70%-off lingerie sets with TREAT20; and a hefty selection of Beepy Bella’s prolific accessories is on sale for up to 50% off, including a trucker cap that captures the essence of summer days in NYC.
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With contributions from Em Seely Katz