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105: Reality's immoveable object vs. online shopping's unstoppable force
Plus J.W.Anderson x Uniqlo, Dries Van Noten's electric spring collection, and basically free shoes at Maison Rogue.
If London taught me anything it’s that a creepingly subsuming online-shopping habit has rendered me useless at buying things in person. Being trained to see prices listed on a screen with a thousand tabs open at any given time apparently means being decisively paralyzed when confronted with the potential of buying something IRL.
There’a also the phenomenon wherein shopping in a physical store heightens sticker shock tenfold—like, the act of handing over your card and immediately leaving with your new item strips the exchange of its “money isn’t real anyway” veneer, making things all that much more expensive.
Most of the things I did get over there were gum-by-the-cash-register purchases, small impulse buys to mark the visit: a $20-something pencil sharpener with its own carrying case from Labour and Wait, a pair of incredible lace socks from Mouki Mou, and a pleated girl’s uniform skirt from John Lewis & Partners (out of nostalgia for my own primary school days, but also…very Miu Miu). I also stole a branded coffee spoon from the Prada Caffe pop-up at Harrod’s, but that’s a different story.
London is no question one of the world’s great shopping cities so, despite my transactional timidity, it wound up being a hell of a research trip. Dover Street Market was a literal museum and a playground for all things Comme, plus what a treat to discover Elena Dawson and Paul Harnden Shoemakers, local designers hand making the most exquisite, era-evoking garments, and Melitta Baumeister, an incredible, Cecilie Bahnsen-esque designer in my own NYC backyard. And how spectacular to hurry through the substantial knits at SSONE after store hours. And to spy Gabriele Skucas and Renaissance Renaissance hanging at Gentlewench. Even the (albeit beloved) department-store dinosaur that is Liberty’s clued me into up-my-alley brands Fortela and Beare Park.
One thing I did spend “hard” money on was a long-sought-after wetlook top from Di Petsa, who, as providence would have it, was hosting a sample sale the weekend I was in town. But the authentic me persisted: With so many novel and gorgeous things within my literal grasp, I still managed to order a Christopher Esber dress on sale at Saks (for wedding season, I guess?), a suede Prada coat from eBay (kind of like this one), and a very discounted MNZ belt from Bona Drag.
Such is the omnipotence of online shopping. And on that note…
Dries Van Noten’s black-to-pastel-to-floral-explosion SS23 collection retains much of the optimism its runway show was framed around, now that it’s settling in at stores. It’s shocking, actually, how much energy is held in each piece; a concentrated black column maxi cut from a textured floral jacquard, an intricately manipulated jersey tee, and a ruffle-dripping garden dress all contain so much music they threaten to dance straight off the page. It’s a testament to the inimitable Dries-iness that even a pale gray trench coat or simple silk button-down can possess the same tension as a freshly clenched crinkled top or watercolored lounge pants from the same collection.
With an ad campaign that can best be described as Gossip Girl meets Brideshead Revisited, the latest JW Anderson capsule for Uniqlo gives exactly what we’ve come to expect from the master designer’s preppy little dalliances with affordability: an accessible capsule wardrobe for those among us who exude a posh but earnest “back to school” vibe no matter the season. Mine both sides of the gendered aisle for Thom Browne-esque cardigans with stripey trimming, uniform-inspired pinafore dresses, color-blocked and sun-protecting windbreakers in mature shades of navy, forest green, and rust, and Anderson’s welcome contributions to the storied Uniqlo sock canon. A sleeveless trench for under $70 will transform from cheeky dress to layering dynamo come the inevitable strains of autumn (its machine washability is great life insurance), and a wrinkle-averse white button-down could easily attain grail status once they sell out, as Anderson’s collabs are wont to.
Deiji Studios’ April Collection, which ICYMI contains this dress I’m entrusting with my personality for the season, has landed very quietly for a capsule with this much potential to assuage every spring woe. Extrapolations on the brand’s best-loved silhouettes (slight tweaks to its linen sets for a fresh feel, easy dresses with a new seam introduced here or there) are joined by more original expressions, like a recycled poly-blend tube skirt of vintage Sonia Rykiel ilk.
Skims Swim is here—until it’s not. The forever-selling-out Kardashian brand just dropped off a batch of new surf-inspired interchangeable bikinis, one-pieces, and sports apparel, plus a pretty great rubber swim bag that feels like a doll accessory you’d want to borrow (timely!).
Imagine if the Bling Ring had sold off a tight, incisive curation of their scores from Paris Hilton’s house. That’s the essence of Threads Gen’s new drop, a flamboyant, exhilarating slew of Y2K-leaning vintage pieces. You’ll find the wildest iterations of Dior saddle bags on this side of the internet, Fendi bags hewn in straw, denim, or spangled into oblivion, Chanel shades, and much more.
Karu Research’s SS23 collection is now at SSENSE for your indulgent enjoyment. Its mostly Indian-made stock is handcrafted and tender, with easy pieces like a cotton gauze camp shirt studded in cream polka dots and awe-evoking options such as a quilted silk jacket with a print like the gilded cover of a sacred text.
Also at SSENSE, at the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum, are the sparse but romantic pieces that make up Our Legacy’s SS23 drop. Its accessories are especially compelling, from dancerly cab slippers and cool green slip-on loafers to a knotty, buffed leather necklace with a gray-blue patina.
The top and dress that comprise Issey Miyake’s Concretion AP capsule are to loungewear what black diamonds are to ski resorts. Each piece is knit in a stretchy fabric that absorbs the wearer’s body into its sculptural M.O., with gradient colorways and rippling edges that recall the petals of an O’Keeffe flower.
There’s also: While brands are busy elbowing into the wedding category with bridal gowns and edgier alternative nuptial apparel, Neous drops its bridal shoe line that feels like stately lingerie for your feet; Mexico City-based Ayanegui (previously featured here) adds jewelry to its gender-inclusive lineup, found in .990 sterling silver, 14k gold plate, and recycled aluminum; Levi’s releases a selection of high- and low-top sneakers that look suspiciously similar to their Clark’s competition; the new "Gloam" Eau De Parfum from Aēsop threatens to become a mainstay in Murakami-reading fuckboys’ bathrooms with the brand itself suggesting the scent is “suited to observers, soul-searchers, and theorists”; the Stine Goya sneaker is here and it’s chunky, electric-hued, and made from responsibly sourced materials; designer Priya Ahluwalia’s Indian-Nigerian heritage manifests in the piecemeal but concise and colorful designs of Ahluwalia’s SS23 collection; though it’s quickly selling out, Steff Eleoff’s latest drop of blobby, molten silver jewelry is well worth taking swift action.
What’s on sale
Maison Rogue has the uncontested best sale of the week. I’m feeling kind of panicky and overzealous to tell you about it, which is how I know it’s more than just good. The Sole Mates sale is basically a buy-one-get-one deal on any of the shoes eligible for the promo, almost all of which are already marked down dramatically to begin with. Many pairs from Maryam Nassir Zadeh (like these 60% off charm heels), MM6, Brother Vellies, Reike Nen, Nicole Saldaña, and By Far are listed for stupid cheap, but combined with the BOGO offer…I’ve honestly just never seen anything like it.
Highrack Studios has been a tab I can’t close lately, even though it’s not of my usual ilk. While a handful of styles are the kind of thing you’re “not supposed to wear” in your 30s…and I get that…I’m still kind of obsessed with its sexy, loungy pieces, deceptively packaged as Coachella-core but that could actually wardrobe a hot, unbothered vacation: the costume design for hanging on a gorgeous wet rock by the sea followed by dancing with the locals. Prices are always highly inviting, but a selection of Online Warehouse Sale items are even more entry-level, like broderie lace shorts for $38 or these boxer-stitched spandex dance capris for $14 (!).
Bona Drag has been on my radar, held by an admiring side eye, for nearly a decade now, since my Milwaukee folks first clued me into their bar-none edit. The brand has extended a discount that I’m passing along to you—use LAURAREILLY___ for 10% off—and that I already just had to test on the sale section (it works) by buying this MNZ belt for near to nothing. Virtually everything on the site is a good idea, but I’ll also point to a one-shouldered Mara Hoffman dress, Clyde lambskin bandana, and strappy Reike Nen sandals that are putting a good name on this sale.
J.Hannah—who makes the most introspectively shaded nail polishes—is hosting a flash sale taking 50% off individual bottles of lacquer with CHROMA, ending tonight. Hues like Eames, Saltillo, and Akoya, which regularly retail for $22 but are down to $11 with the code, are akin to wearing a coat of Jil Sander or The Row on your finger tips.
Rus’ Archive Sale has seemingly entered the liquidation stage, with the brand’s signature delicate knits priced largely under $100 (down from the $300–$400 range). Several especially good double-digits pieces include the Aube skirt for $95, the Brouillard vest also for $95, the Kaze top for $97, and the Halo skirt for a very digestible $87.
If classic lace-up Docs make you feel like you’re cosplaying your teenage self, there are myriad options of footwear up to 40% off in the Dr. Martens Spring Sale that veer off the beaten path, like these orange corduroy oxfords or pointy-toed buckle shoes, both under $100.
LA-based brand Sami Miro Vintage (which is something of a misnomer as the clothes are not vintage, but made from deadstock, recycled, and organic materials) is hosting a 40% off sale on select pieces. Now that spring is dusting off my sense of adventure, I’m feeling particularly drawn to brands like this rather than the staid labels that carried me through winter; SMV’s sale alone draws up dimensional yet agreeably priced pieces for “going out,” as well as wear-anytime grails like this raw-seamed plaid jacket that make your heart blubber.
Moroccan rug-sourcing company Sidi has flown under the radar as a B2B company for some time, only recently opening up their business directly to customers through their site. Considering the fact that finding a decent rug is one of the biggest challenges in home decor, Sidi’s current sale, which counts just shy of 100 authentic Moroccan rugs for under $700, feels as hard to come by as its one-of-a-kind goods.
Miaou has sweetened its archive sale, throwing on top of a selection of samples and retired styles some rare designer gems from Chanel, Tom Ford-era Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Maison Margiela. Prices are what’s expected in our current past-tense fixation phase, but a 10% off discount with HONEY10 can soften things a bit.
Re/done’s spring sale was already up to 70% off, but with an extra 25% discount on all the markdowns, the pieces you’d usually have to psych yourself up to invest in are now priced for tomfoolery and experimentation. Fancy a cropped, acidic lime pullover with ballooning sleeves or a pair of low-rise jeans with a raw-cut waistband? There are many safe bets as well, like these unimpeachable, uniquely patterned low tops.
Take an extra 30% off Madewell’s sale section with ELEVATE—a true trove of seasonally appropriate pieces abounds. An oversized, striped poplin button-down, braided leather slip-ons, and quilt-like organic cotton bandanas all beg to be worn, a bit disheveled, amongst hydrangeas in a seaside fog. Almost everything is available in extended sizes and for less than $100 with the extra discount.
Burke Decor’s Spring Refresh Sale offers discounts on everything from a handmade, wooden foosball table to the ideal fainting chaise. Everything is scarily sophisticated, but made more approachable with a sense of youthful, contemporary style and the fact that it’s all marked down hundreds of dollars.
There’s also: Take 40% off almost all of the cheery, charming, and chromatic jewelry offerings at Venessa Arizaga with BEEHAPPY; and at Woo, get up to 40% off a curious but intriguing selection of items, from mysterious herbal tonics to sex toys to indie designer sunglasses.
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With contributions from Em Seely-Katz