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103: Monk-like underpacking
Plus a Baserange archive sale, new bags from The Row and Bottega, and Tory SS23 runway RTW hits stores.
Most people don’t really believe me when I say I’m a serial under-packer. The cultish Italian vintage dealer Maj Kiosk recently tagged me in an impressively overstuffed suitcase situation—the bounty headed toward their pop-up at Club Vintage last month—the subtext being “why are we like this?”
I’m in London this week and, having packed my bag an hour before Ubering to the airport, have come to realize that the (small) capsule I brought with me is almost identical to the one I traveled with over the summer to Rome, Rieti, and Tel Aviv. Because, as everyone knows, nascent Spring in England is just like the Mediterranean at peak centigrade. Upon further reflection, it’s a ringer for the capsule I packed on a 10-day, LA-CDMX-MIA trip this time last year, too.
As before, I’m living in my black Pleats Please trousers, Saint belt, Entireworld boxer shorts (RIP), Esse Studios strapless top, Vince cashmere sweater, Michelle Del Rio belt, Hermes silk scarf, Uniqlo U tees, Weejuns loafers, MNZ Olympias, vintage black 501s, and Shaina Mote linen pants.
A few new additions: My striped Emily Dawn Long “Jeff’s Shirt” has replaced my regularly abused white Sundar Bay button-down; a black Gucci ribbed tank usurped the white Sold Out NYC one I’d also reach for a bunch; my kitten-heeled The Row ballerinas are a new constant in my closet and on this trip; and the two-bag punch of my spacious vintage Bottega intrecciato hobo and Janessa Leone Everyday Bag seems to handle each and every of my carrying needs from the airport to around town.
Coats, which had no place in an August suitcase, are invaluable to me out here. I brought two, both from Toteme: the once-sold-out-everywhere Scarf Coat that’s come back to mortal heights and is even on sale at Vestiaire and the currently sold-out Montella Coat, which I’m doing my best to source for you because it’s stupidly chic and functional for this very moment in time.
I am past the halfway point of my vacation, and there are things in my suitcase I already know to a pretty high degree of confidence that I won’t touch while I’m here. The busy days and efficiency demanded of travel, paired with the fact that I’m meeting with a new set of people each day, allows me to fall into a pattern of slight variation that I apparently deeply crave as a dresser.
When people talk about uniforms, I tend to imagine their experience of fashion as being quite boring. But while I’m living my version of it, it’s really quite a joy. Those pieces you find that you want to wear again and again don’t ever lose their flavor, and an ensemble of greatest hits—the clever, shapeshifting ones—can be even more delicious that the sum of its parts.
The closely followed trickle-in of Tory Burch SS23 has climaxed with the arrival of those sheer, bunched-up cotton pieces seen on the runway to the brand’s site. A layered jersey-chiffon skirt worn with an open-back long-sleeve with a cheeky lace bra peeking out captures the quiet, subversive confidence (the womanity!) of the collection that the line at large had so desperately lacked up until that point. The keystone piece is this ruched tube that’s primed to re-spark the skirt-or-belt debate and which can lend the entirety of an existing wardrobe the “new Tory” feel.
Paloma Wool’s spring drop is a rich text, welcoming our analysis: Its references within the fashion canon, from the oblique to the blatant, invite a close read of the ouroboros-like trend cycle. What exactly is so appealing about skelts (skirt/belts), and where do they lie on the “are the wearers fashionable or just Miu Miu model-shaped” matrix? Can a reversible dress printed with what looks like a galaxy print but is apparently an “oyster image” capture the same je ne sais quoi as Christopher Kane’s Tumblr-bait resort 2011 collection, though we’ve largely traded those spacey vistas for squelchy microbiology in our aesthetic appropriations of nature for fashion? Is last year’s hunger for Lemaire croissant bags replicable by a more compact and affordable lookalike dubbed “Bean,” or was the former’s allure due, as with its namesake, to its proportional indulgence? Should Magasin start a reading group where we parse this all academically? Thoughts are welcome in the comments.
Mansur Gavriel’s recently released Dream Ballerina is going the way of its hugely popular Square Toe Ballerina, which is to say there’s only a handful left in stock. The new style’s longer vamp lends it a more substantial and dressed-up look, like Repetto’s now-sold-out Maia heels—the opposite end of the ballet shoe spectrum to the fragile and beat up cloth slipper. Some colors have more available sizes than others, and if you’re looking for the Flamingo Pink, only a few chosen feet can still checkout successfully.
Two brands known for precision and power manifested in decisive shapes, Mejuri and Luar, release a small but impactful capsule consisting of the latter’s ubiquitous Ana bag decked out in a necklace-inspired chain, convertible hoop earrings that reference the iconic loop of Ana’s handle, and tiny Ana-shaped charms to add to whatever piece of jewelry needs a Polly Pocket-sized injection of luxury.
Known for her fantastical takes on utilitarian garments, Nicole McLaughlin partnered with Vans to create a slip-on skate shoe inspired by a gardening tote. The shoe features storage pockets across the toe, perfect for sequestering dog treats, nail clippers, or small denominations of cash, and a rugged heel strap allows for easy toting and wall-hanging.
Gucci’s latest release with Adidas initially follows the same formula we’ve historically seen from the duo: sporty cuts in complex, lush colorways and highest of the high-end materials, but this drop, titled “The Latest Chapter”, sees that formula fray at the edges. Paddington Bear-core cloche hats, frilly safety orange capes, and, most confusingly, double-brimmed baseball caps (please just look, an explanation would not do anything justice) await down the rabbit hole of this collection, alongside more cogent, less costumey pieces like a beautiful yellow cable-knit sweater and regal-feeling cobalt low-tops.
With pieces like a flight-attendant-uniform-crisp white shirt hewn unexpectedly (well, unless you paid literally any attention to Bottega’s last two collections) in leather, an un-ironic going-out top like the first warm-weather lick of pistachio gelato, and a glorious utility bomber jacket that actually seems…utilitarian, Helmut Lang’s SS23 collection gives us exactly what we want from the brand: versatility, elegance, and a quiet intensity.
The Row’s new Allie Bag (also in brown and tan) is an elegant and desirable answer to the hobo-bag insatiability plaguing our generation of sometimes-commuters and change-of-clothes-carriers. At $2,790, all of its “Rowness” found in the grained calfskin and sense of scale can’t be can’t be perfectly reproduced elsewhere, but this Aesther Ekme for $2,200 less is a close cousin with its own set of virtues.
Bottega Veneta’s Virgule Bag, meanwhile, cleverly draws our hobo-bag-pilled brains back to saddle shapes. The Virgule’s oversized holster silhouette, so exquisitely fashioned in a fastidiously laid intrecciato, spares no expense, with even its lining made of sumptuous suede.
With Pina Bausch’s “Agua” still knocking around my mind and infiltrating my shopping queries, Lemaire’s Pastel Collection is utterly satisfying. The brand’s spring lineup is awash with Baby Blue, Misty White, Denim Snow Grey, and Lilac Pink, its vaguely safarian neutrals lent the vaguest tint of a mixed laundry mix-up gone right.
Neada Deters’ skincare brand Lesse marches onward in its mission to elevate uncomplicated and effective formulas, recently releasing what many brands in the space view as their white whale: a comfortable, FDA-cleared SPF product. The zinc-based physical sunscreen is white cast-free and offers a host of other beneficial ingredients like moisturizing fruit oils.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman-makeup artist Gucci Westman’s line Westman Atelier is known among a certain class of fashion types as the end-all-be-all for natural-looking, high-quality pigments and tints. Now the brand has finally extended its expertise to skincare with a single product: the hydrating and brightening Skin Activator.
Have you paid your April rent yet? No? Good, because Collina Strada lent its bedazzled butterflies to Unspun, a company that fashions custom, made-to-fit jeans based on an intuitive body scan done via the brand’s app. The jeans are dyed using a zero-water process, as per Collina’s sustainable ethos, and the non-stretch denim is cut low and loose without foregoing shapeliness.
In the style of Sarah Brown, who pairs each piece of dream-inducing jewelry she co-creates for Sandy Liang with an explanatory haiku on the product’s page of the website, here’s one about the brand’s spring jewelry drop:
Gingham, swelling hearts
Pearls and silver, black and pink
Pointe shoe keychain, please
Helmstedt’s spring/summer collection is comprised of uniforms for members of a cult run by a bunch of insects in a human suit—in a good way—as exemplified by its downrightsacrificial-style gowns which, like the rest of the line, teem with psychedelic buggy imagery and sprouted weeds.
There’s also: Dries Van Noten’s criminally underrated beauty line adds two limited-edition shades to its lipstick lineup—Lovely Lilac and Digital Violet; 8th St. by Ronnie Fieg’s SS23 Collection for Clarks Originals is one of the most interesting forays into color the shoe company has taken in recent years; Barbour x Palm Angels does Spring Breakers on an English moor, with the former’s classic waxed hunting jackets saturated in neon yellow, pink, and orange; celebrity-bait restaurant Caviar Kaspia lends its indulgent, Gatsbian aesthetics to clothier Casablanca in a clothing capsule that features a genuinely incredible silk “tennis club shirt” that will run you a modest $900; the latest Puma x Rhuigi drop is understated but its colors are well-considered, possibly the first time a pink basketball shoe has been marketed specifically towards men; Stone Island Marina’s release of rugged ripstop gear in chalky, poignant pastels evokes early mornings in the mist off an East Coast shoreline; and blunt-toed and bowed ballet flats shimmer grassy green, soft lilac, cheeky pink, and rich black in a signature silken sheen for Hai’s collaboration with Reqins.
What’s on sale
Sometimes better thought of as a design experiment than a fashion brand (one could say the same of Paloma Wool), Baserange tends to hold onto fans once it acquires them. Longstanding Base-heads will recognize many of the pieces currently listed at massive discounts in the brand’s Archive Sale, some from as much as three years ago (like the velvet undies that first lassoed me in). The ribbed basics and quirked-up loungewear are a great entry point to the brand, but as those who’ve kept up know: They’re only the tip of the Baserange iceberg.
A private sale is, happily, almost never a well-kept secret. However Bergdorf Goodman’s has managed to stay impressively under the radar, considering its eyebrow-raising roster of brands. Bottega pulls most of the weight with nearly 100 pieces at an impressive 50% off, but a few Miu Miu and Prada finds lurk between loads of Burberry (mercifully meme-proof—no totes of any size) and Alaïa, with some deals dipping even lower than Bottega’s. This sculpted white dress is up for a quarter of its original price and would not be out of place on a springtime bride and the entire Miu Miu shoe selection is under $650, which…really makes you think…
Nordstrom’s Spring Sale is up to 60% off, with a handy under-$100 section ready for your fine-toothed comb of an eye to peruse. Some things “just make sense,” as the TikToks say: a ribbed Isa Boulder cami, a simple, perfectly cut Norma Kamali swimsuit, Sandy Liang’s Riblet tank top for a welcome $75, and plenty of YanYan goodies. Other things, maybe the best things this sale has to offer, are more unhinged in their sensibilities: candles that are a little too sexy for comfort, leopard-print clogs, Chopova lace-up socks. Choose your own adventure.
Even if you’ve already combed through Proenza Schouler’s big-deal Archive Sale to varying degrees of success, it may be worth opening up a tab again, as the site has been restocked with new styles and some additional sizes. New things like leopard print are now up to 75% off, while existing styles are discounted further.
Shyness Space is offering up to 90% off in its archive sale, which, unlike many clearance rackets, feels genuinely “pulled from the archives” in its off-kilter coolness. Springy pieces like a knit polo blooming with a bouquet of yarn, a behind-the-looking-glass level feathered headband from Ashley Williams, and some frilly punk shockers from Christopher Kane make this sale almost as fun to peruse as it would be to click “purchase.”
In Maria Black’s sale section, you’ll find pearls dipped in globs of colored resin that hang from the ears off chunky golden hoops, snaky chain necklaces to customize with a padlock closure of your choice, stackable rings like whisper-thin constellations, and more adornments at a discount.
Take up to 30% off everything from robust white tees to faded, '90s-style jeans and intensely blue canvas weekender bags (all under $100) in Everlane’s Spring Essentials Sale, which is exactly what it says on the tin. A canvas anorak and unfussy but not fully acquiescent pull-on pants make a great set for sub-$200.
Swedish eyewear brand Chimi is running an up-to-40%-off sale on archived styles, bringing minimalist plexi shapes in cute hues and flashy sports gear like ski goggles and scuba masks down to the $100 region.
There’s also: In this WASP-y world, it’s my duty to alert you of the MacKenzie-Childs Annual Home Sweet Home Sale currently underway, and I wish you the happiest home-checkerboarding; jewelry brand Agmes is running an Earth Month promo all of April that includes a free flower tote for every order over $500; it seems the Tekla tablecloth deal I posted about last Broadsheet ended shortly after publish, but I’ve found the exact style for almost as low a price here; Skagerak, Ikea’s intimidating older sister, is holding a rare 15% off spring sale on its chaises, seats, and other pieces of furniture hewn from Ash wood; and today’s your final chance to take 20% off of Saks orders over $250 with SHINE23SF—that goes a long way when you’re talking about a bucket bag from The Row or a runway-rending, eye-boggling minidress via Loewe.
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With contributions from Em Seely-Katz