130: Bummer summer
Plus new The Row, J.Kim swim, and Prada and Miu Miu for half off.
Maybe it’s because the vibes are objectively, universally off this summer—from the fucking air to constant rain and worse heat to the beach never getting the body she was promised and wanting to throw the phone at the wall—but my wishlists are almost entirely made up of fall pieces. It’s July, and it’s 90º where I am.
Talking about feelings is squeamish and irreversible. And I can sense I’ve already gone gravely far. But the new deliveries are a reachable front for wanting to forfeit time (a post-pandemic sacrilege) and get to cool, sane October faster. It’s shopping cart as cipher, transaction as translation.
My temperament lately sways between a good deal on a Y/Project denim jacket and a worth-it-at-full-price Jacquemus boiled wool bomber and shorts set. On my best days I’m a vintage Burberry bikini or a pair of Paula Canovas del Vas sandals. On my worst, I’m a leather puffer from Lothar’s (the ‘80s boutique Michael Kors got his start at and described as “Gap for the ultra-wealthy”).
They may be evergreen in their object-dom, but I’m taking from it some lesson that I’m hovering over this gray, sueded MNZ Julian bag (or, if it were marginally more attainable, this Lemaire utility sling—please don’t buy it out from under me, though) and the Margiela knee-high tabis, yet again.
I said this storm is happening over all of us, and maybe it is (always? to some extent?), but knowing that the rest of you are still shopping around for cotton beach pants (like these, if I were you) and barely-there vintage DKNY sets (like this, but not quite) allows in some paranoia that the cloud hangs over me and me alone.
This summer is a spectacular flop whose lesson will become clear in retrospect. Until then, I’ll just work my way through all these wishlists—with their Magliano sweats and Hermes suede boots and knit Summon Elemental dresses—and let time and wardrobe change-outs heal all things.
The antidote to anguish is travel: taking a vacation, say, or time travel, as posited above, or even to some safehouse of your mind like the eigengrau of meditation. For me, one of those havens is the room where The Row stages its collections. That intricate, French Baroque molding and limestone tile and those enormous, imposing double doors through which girls walk in square-shouldered cashmere capes and bowler bags and sheepish shirt collars and trenches that fall right off the bone. The label’s latest has hit stores, stealing those sprites’ costumes away from the imagination and into reality, dissolving the boundary between worlds.
The milky, rippling Galathea halter top in Christopher Esber’s pre fall 2023 collection shares its name with a marble statue brought to life through Aphroditic intervention in a heart-rending Greek myth. Esber’s deliberate draping honors the relationship between sculpture and sentience at the eye of the story, an entry point into the collection’s central revelation, so obvious it’s easy for us to forget: Fashion is the thin membrane between object and subject, and in Esber’s mythology, us shoppers are the divinities who grant inert fabrics embodied lives with our romantic whims. From the mossy, unraveling Relica dress that only finds its cascading form when worn to t-shirts imbued with metal threads, imploring us to crumple them like unsent love letters, this collection is full of pieces that need us—a welcome reversal of the typical unrequited love story between fashion lover and coveted item.
What’s going on with couture? Schiapparelli, once an exclusively couture house, launched RTW last year, and now Balenciaga, critically redeemed only by its couture now that ironic street antics taste acrid in the wake of scandal, has listed those very pieces from its 52nd couture collection online. So what makes the designation now? In the case of Balenciaga, sunglasses for $20,000, a necklace listed at $25,000, and a tinsel-esque bag for $35,000 hint that there may still be some line drawing at play.
Good design happens with a bit of wilfull ignorance, as with Cult Form, whose latest collection, The Shore of Pearls, seems to be a product of looking everywhere in the world but to other fashion. The brand as a whole has been exceptionally self-knowing from day one, having already developed its characters completely by the pilot. This release of belted spandex and shelled mesh expands on the brand’s universe with deft world-building skills.
Blame OJ, but the alleged usurpation of golf to the tennis-core throne seems to have been a hollow threat (the image of rippling muscle at a racket will always outsell that of some dad-buds tooting around in a cart IMO). Save for the debut of Malbon Golf’s women’s line, all the latest news has been served courtside, Wimbledon-style: there’s Ganni x Prince, Tala COURT, and Jacques NYC’s Tennis 005 collection.
Issey Miyake’s new capsule “Square Scheme” envisions a childhood spent playing dress-up in 2083, the familiar makeshift tablecloth togas and construction paper creations still present, but in an augmented reality where simple shapes can be made disorienting with a Photoshop-like gesture in the air. Issey freaks the demure logic of geometry with click-and-drag warping in pleated boat neck tops with frowning hems and skirts with triangular bustles that sit like circus tents around the hips.
Rapha and Shrimps are working together to further the aesthetic response to the climate crisis, seeing the Hot Girl Walk and raising us a Hot Girl Bike Ride. Each piece is defiantly adorable without eschewing pragmatism, an obvious side-eye at the typical bike-bro outfitter’s marked lack of flowing bows on ponytail caps and flared sleeves on nylon windbreakers.
Most of J.Kim’s first swimwear and beachwear capsule collection is what you’d expect from the brand—its iconic petal cutouts and drapey bows grace simple one-pieces and camisoles in black and white, translating its wintry Eastern European references into versatile, unique warm-weather wear. But then, there are the collection’s wild cards: A top and bottom, aptly named the “blister” set, subvert the “nude” look with patchy peach bulges that, sure enough, look like swollen skin.
Hai lends its signature silks and sweetness to its new bridal capsule, with white and just-off gowns in several silhouettes (each under $1,500), a suit with frill-cuffed slacks, and accessories that transcend wedding-day formalities like a huge, porcelain-hued scrunchie and bamboo-handle purses that could single handedly change the landscape of the bridesmaid gift industry.
Brooke Callahan has translated her trademark jewelry’s simple shapes and saturated colors into a clothing capsule, with shift dresses, flowy skirts, lounge pants, and tops all hewn in Crayola-worthy hues of cotton poplin and cinched with unfussy bows. Brooke told us that, since their creation, she has exclusively worn these tie pants and may never need another pair.
In the perfect moment, the home stretch of our wait for the Barbie movie, Blumarine and Heaven by Marc Jacobs have dropped a capsule that’s all furry cropped cardigans, puffy pink “camo” purses, and a copious deployment of rhinestones.
The Outnet’s exclusive capsule from Diane von Furstenbergis a flock of summery dresses, some collared, some wrapped, all vibrantly floral—the collection subverts the pitfalls of the Business Casual Frock with contemporary color combos that tiptoe toward Business Casual Freak (complimentary).
There’s also: Local sweetie Laura Chautin’s illustrated ceramics are picked up my Moda Operandi Home; exclusive Le Monde Beryl MJ flats land at Harvey Nichols; Still Here’s new Cool Jean is, in fact what it says on the tin: low-rise, slouch-legged, waistband free (!), and available in an incisive array of colors; neon seams, lace-up backs, and sneaky layers give the athletic spirit of Nylora’s high summer collection a pot-smoker-under-the-bleachers edge; the spiced-up earth tones and macrame interludes in the Monikh x Faithfull The Brand capsule are perfectly engineered for a late summer golden hour; Poppy Lissiman takes historic designer Zandra Rhodes’ jagged edges and vibrant wiggles and makes them into sunglasses and handbags tantamount to wearable sculpture (if you like this frilled bag, check out Samara Lou Willis’, made by hand to even frillier effect); the sacred union of Parade x Ganni is made profane, in the most welcome sense, by its cross-contamination of florals and leopard prints in tour de forces like this mesh catsuit; and Glossier’s simple but hype-heavy brand merch is now available online for far-flung Boy Brow proselytizers.
What’s on sale
A quick and dirty hacker’s guide to the Italist sale: Best-sellers are also those with the best price advantages—Prada, Fendi, Gucci, Brunello, and Max Mara. For shoes, that rings true for Manolo and Louboutin. Like Prada, sister brand Miu Miu has also largely gone D2C, so sales on those two are extra rare. I’m not joking. The dress version of my crinkled Prada is $1,000 off (more than half), as are these spiky pumps. A wild-card feathered Miu Miu mini is also 50% off, and the Radzmir bra is like $500 off.
Bergdorf Goodman’s up-to-70%-off online sale might be the closest cognate to an in-department-store sale experience to be had these days. In lieu of its younger competitors’ thousand-page, quicksand-like, Everything Everywhere All at Once sale strategy, BG presents a tight, mature edit of brands both classic and with the potential to age into that status. Alaïa gets its flowers with sculpted, romantic mini dresses, B-Sides contributes a hardy, well-hemmed denim maxi skirt, a puffy Khaite purse is $700 off, and Et Ochs delivers a sleeper hit—we’ve referenced Jessica Rabbit before in the newsletter, but this stop-sign red, curved-bust gown might legitimately compel a man in a trench coat to say“Va va voom” or something similarly, embarrassingly onomatopoeic.
To buy anything (?), maybe everything (?), on sale, there’s Nordstrom. The blogger-famous Anniversary Sale is underway, and as always, I implore you to cut straight to the SPACE section, where discounts on cutie coolies like A. Roege. Hove, Junya, SC103, and ERL rival those at SS*NSE. Or you can finally buy a Dyson…
Kassl Editions’ summer sale is like an oil slick on the sidewalk reflecting gas station lights on a summer night—its glossy pieces, like puffy baguette bags and tough-guy sleeveless bombers are the epitome of post-industrial romance, and the aberrations in the selection of discounted pieces are appropriately wry—this raincoat, in a color dubbed “dirty mint,” is a romanticized version of the wad of gum you step in while ogling the aforementioned oil slick.
With its always eyeball-galvanizing color combos and stripes, Sunnei’s summer sale takes up to 50% off pieces that truly epitomize summer—a banana-colored halter top’s strap is as tubular as a pool noodle, ballerina shoes get Outward Bound-ed with thick soles and rubber nubs, a maxi dress in oversized taxicab checkers is sure to get its wearer flagged down by a drunk person trying to get to Ridgewood at three in the morning…
At.Kollektive’s summer sale takes 50% off a slew of accessories and furnishings from the collective’s first series of thoughtful, architectural, design-nerd bait, like a chunky, cylindrical handbag stitched with puffy, neon leather thread and a pair of almost-too-good-for-the-name gladiator sandals by Natacha Ramsay Levi, matte leather slippers in bright cobalt from Bianca Saunders, a leather tote folded like a paper bag by Kostas Murkudis, and more…
Justine Clenquet is getting a little punk, offering an extra 10% off its sale section with EXTRA10 and serving up twisty earrings for $35, spiked or studded chokers for sub-$100, and hair inspiration courtesy of the models’ multicolored looks—for free!
The knits discounted up to 40% in the Rus Summer Sale are: pleated, sculptural, wavy, cropped, spongy, frayed, crinkled, layer-friendly, droopy, goofy, richly hued, stretchy, glamorous, and freaky, sometimes all at once.
Use SUMMER20 for an extra 20% off the Shaina Mote summer sale, full of highlights like this cotton gauze jumpsuit that looks like the platonic ideal of a Clothing Item, an icy cerulean dress for a moody Cinderella moment, and sturdy, studded clogs to clomp around in while it’s warm enough for naked heels.
That pink sequined Saks Potts halter dress, mustard yellow MNZ riding boots, slinky little slips from Baserange, and more are all discounted heavy-handedly in the well-curated, quickly diminishing Carmen summer sale stock.
If you want the world to know you “wake up screaming,” to smell like “pure dilettante,” or to monitor your mood every waking minute, Mondo Mondo is offering up to 50% off the t-shirts, perfumes, and jewelry you’re looking for!
There’s also: Rira Objects’ Liquidishes, which would line every shelf in my house if I had the funding, dip the fantasy a little closer to reality with a sale on now; Christina Seewald emailed me a 20% off code, and it’s yours now: CS072023-20; Frama collectors are redecorators should peer to Volta Store, whose sale went up to 15%; No. 6’s summer sale is clogged with clogs, but still makes room for Lido bikinis and Anaak Palma pleats; a small, off-beat handful of pieces in ombré mesh and structural denim are up to 50% off in the Ottolinger sale section; the Carhartt WIP Sale is packed with straightforward basics in nuanced colorways, like this striped Oxford and these garment-dyed sweatpants that both make good use of a sophisticated shade of jade; a twisty white halter dress and tweedy baguette bag are both under $200 in Anine Bing’s sale of up to 70% off a selection of chilled-out classics; the cashmere pieces in beach-town-at-dawn shades we mentioned longingly when they first came out are included in Guest in Residence’s spring sale, now priced quite attainably for a celebrity endeavor; Nodaleto’s shoe sale is so, so disco—platforms, rhinestones, acid-trip patterns a given; take 30% off everything Miaou, including sale pieces, in its 48-hour birthday celebration with HBDMIAOU; for other preemptive fall shoppers, Weekday’s sale takes up to 70% off a selection of transitional-weather pieces, most of which come out to nerve-wrackingly low prices—these snake print trousers are $23 and would make Lenny Kravitz fall to his knees; and the Socque Paris summer sale is stocked with comfy, sophisticated alternatives to your toasted Birkenstock slides.
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With contributions from News Editor Em Seely-Katz