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131: A balm for the modern condition
Plus SSENSE bridal, the Helmut Lang Surplus Sale, and The Row for 70% off at Saks.
The most SHOPspirational (…that’s me doing my best ChatGPT voice btw…) things I saw this week were worn by folks, clearly disciples of the practice of selfhood, spotted out in the wild. A Louis Vuitton briefcase-toting gentleman near the Ralph Lauren flagship on Madison Ave in better Uptown drag than I could have ever dreamed up. A girl at the Met nailing the mutton sleeve-pinafore combo few can pull off, though many try. A red-necklaced Lower East Sider whose tailored shorts met her knee-high boots with a perfect inch of skin exposed (and who definitely caught me sneaking a pic).
All great reminders to take that time away from online we so desperately need as, at least, a source for fresh ideas and, at most, a balm for the modern condition. Ergo, it’s a short intro today. But! A few more things to come later this week…self-leaking my The RealReal wishlist and styling out that looming fall feeling among the them.
If Vogue Weddings is to be believed, the bride wore Danielle Frankel, and if it’s The Cut we heed, the groom almost certainly wore Bode. But since before I even started this newsletter, one of shopping’s most relentless queries was, “where do I find a wedding dress that isn’t so wedding-y?” SSENSE’s new bridal edit, a first for the retailer though it landed strangely late in the season, does everything in its power to attend to the girlies who wish to outfit their nuptials as far as possible away from the BHLDN-Anthro extended universe. With certain requisite pieces curiously omitted (were Vivienne bustiers and Paco disc dresses too obvious?), the collection—with wonderful gowns from Kika Vargas and Simone Rocha, quirky bags from Chopova and Alaia, and downtown-y shoes and accessories from MNZ, Margiela, and All-In—SSENSE might finally have the answer to that urgent question.
Away from the NYFW calendar, Collina Strada isn’t always on the top of my mind. But when the brand does come back front and center, as now with the release of its PF23 collection, I’m immediately sucked back into its singular bog-like underbelly. No other brand has come close to capturing the whole-ness that is the Collina universe, which you can practically smell through the screen looking at its mossy knit dusters and vaporous floral gowns, the costumes and carbon atoms of this strange fairy world.
So long celebrated for its category-defining clogs, it’s a mystery why it took ‘til now for No. 6 to launch non-clog shoes—which it’s finally done to great success. The grown-up, mid-height heel sandals and textured loafers seem to have had ‘70s disco styles on the moodboard; they’re festive! but seem appropriately comfy and danceable, too.
Per the designer Danielle’s IG, the Guizio x Frankies Bikinis team-up came about after being the most requested collab from follower DMs. That’s the people’s power right there! The link-up makes all too much sense to me, and frankly I think every hot-girl brand should be required to remix their shit with a contemporary at the start of summer so there are fewer same-same-but-different styles to choose between.
There’s something operatic about the fall offerings from Molly Goddard, beyond the reference to Tosca in the naming of a cropped-and-flared, Peter Pan collar jacket—a classic, elegant shape cut in crunchy black nylon. This tension between material and form, like the rendering of simple stories into lush soundscapes, manifests in cherub-adorned knit hoodies, cowlick-y crocheted caps in lambswool, and more pieces designed in unexpected harmony with the new batch of ribbon-trimmed tulle dresses.
Wales Bonner’s “Twilight Reverie” is an ode to the beauty of a past misremembered: Your only souvenir, a skirt of handwoven raffia dappled with cowrie shells, retroactively romanticizes an underwhelming tropical vacation, and rugby shirts, striped in the colors of the sky after the sun sets but before it’s fully dark, fool even the least athletic among us into thinking fondly upon evening carpools after team practice…
Tragically, the new Lemaire collection with the EMO factory is not a sign the brand is entering its scene phase (yet). The factory’s actual contribution to the collaboration is its storied technology allowing for the creation of knitwear without side seams, resulting in a capsule of everything from tank tops to cardigans in fluid, retro-futuristic silhouettes. Call a priest if your sweater starts listening to Good Charlotte.
The Nike x Martine Rose collab comes out today, but has been trotted out by the US women’s national
soccerfootball team to much fanfare over the past few weeks, so you’ve probably already seen the wraparound suit jacket, shield-style sunglasses, and neon sneakers that are bound to sell out to feral Megan Rapinoe fans in the next five minutes. Here’s hoping you trained for this drop.
Stine Goya is fast-forwarding through autumn in its latest drop, imbuing inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen into glittery lounge sets, crystalline furs, dark, fecund florals, and chain-strap handbags to accompany all of the above.
Literally every piece in the Oséree Summer Flirt capsule is see-through, whether in a jewel-studded mesh or coquettish lace fabric, used respectively in an ingenious, high-necked jumpsuit and a flared-leg one-piece, both straight out of a ‘70s art porn and ready for reckless (and season-challenging) deployment.
It takes a special kind of madness to envision a white backpack designed to tote a skateboard in its own special compartment, but the Carhartt WIP x Ramidus capsule is skate-punk enough, even in its minimalist designs, to tolerate a few errant stains. Tote bags huge and teeny alike are available for the skinned knee-averse among us.
There’s also: Riccardo Maria Chiacchio collaborates with Fruity Booty on a retro-graphic three-piece underwear capsule inspired by a postcard for the Hotel Vesuvius in Naples; Willie Norris x Outlier release a unisex suit, a glam workhorse designed in water-resistant “Injected Linen” fabric and, allegedly, comfy enough to bike in; Vada’s Skinny Dip collection is comprised of thirteen pairs of sun and eyeglasses, all with clear frames in retro, Wim Wenders character-worthy shapes; scrunchies sneak in to the formalwear canon with Good Squish’s B-e-a-utiful collection of enormous, frilly, organza-and-silk scrunchies; and No Sesso's Carry Bag is now available in all its slouchy, cylindrical glory, with seven different colorways, all subtly sophisticated.
What’s on sale
It’s the last day to scope out the Helmut Lang Surplus Sale for up to an unholy 85% off pieces like a v-neck tee so see-through it might be the sole legitimate heir to Indie Sleaze for $36, pleather tops that make the “trash into treasure” idiom sartorially legible, like this asymmetrical tank that looks like a garbage bag until transformed when worn into a cute, sub-$100 cowl-necked number, leather bomber jackets (down from $1,295 to just $300) that are so ineffably cool we can’t even make backhanded little jokes about them, and more food for your inner Taylor Momsen. If you, reader, are Taylor Momsen, it’s also for your outer Taylor Momsen!
Here are some things that are not written in the bible but are available in the up to 70% off Dover Street Market SS23 sale: Jacquemus deconstructed blazer it would take a PhD to figure out how to get into. Nubby gray Sky High Farm cardigan stitched with worms and bones. Shushu/Tong’s flirty take on adult diapers. Pink leather jacket by KNWLS with more piercings than a bored, nihilistic Claire’s employee. Pleather “racing dress” by Junya Watanabe that looks like the ghoulish aftermath of a tragic F1 accident, sanitized for a D.A.R.E.-like program that exists to scare kids out of growing up rich enough to pick up an expensive hobby. Shirt by TAO that was probably once a Kleenex crumpled in the pocket of a giant. To be clear, these are all excellent.
Saks is basically always on sale, and because it can be one of the more annoying sites to shop, it’s where I find some of the best deals. Right now: The Row like it fell of the back of a truck (a fringed scarf skirt for 70% off, the dress version for the same, cotton-silk pleated pants for $1,100 off, extra-long jeans for under $250), a Rick top I’ve been watching for a year below $300, a Sandy Liang mini dress that’d look great over pants for under $200, and great prices on everything from Tove.
There’s no better way to celebrate the passage of time than the moment when a collection you waffled on buying full-price right away finally hits its discount season. For me, that’s Dries Van Noten’s SS23, a floral deflagration that read like a glitched-out low-altitude helicopter ride over Dutch flower fields. Among the 40% off spoils now found on the site are a sculptural cornflower blue dress whose pleated fan trimmings leap off the body, a garden of a one-shoulder viscose dress, and an imposing shirt-jacket that stakes out territory with adventurous drapes.
I’m heavily invested in the conspiracy theory that starts and ends with “what’s actually going on with Our Legacy,” just to make you think. The brand feels like an indie sensation, but its hard-won ubiquity casts doubt by its own virtue, Ganni-like growth that could be celebrated or skepticized, depending on who you are. At any rate, it’s my duty to tell you the brand is having a fairly deep sale right now…
Scrolling through the pages of the Shyness Space archive sale is a low labor-high reward venture, one that turns out Dilara bodysuits and Paula Canovas del Vas tops for under $300, All-In boots for $700 off (not the ones on SSENSE), and Magliano two-way jackets down by $400.
Everything at Nu Swim is 20% off in its mid-summer sale, from swimsuits like the Turbo, with its no-nonsense structure and visionary colorways (don’t sleep on Taupe/Lake!) to the Shell Dress, which we have road tested and deemed, in a moment of visionary, Mad Men-level copywriting, “easier to live within than without.”
We covered the collection when it first came out, but opening up the Bevza up-to-40%-off sale was as revelatory as if seeing it for the first time—its knit sailor-collar tops are devastatingly charming without careening into Donald Duck cosplay territory, especially when cheekily cropped to sternum-length, there’s a bodysuit that tries to be a bag, there’s a bag that tries to be a paper sailboat…lots to think about here.
Eytys is offering 60% off all sale items, including Barbiefied, heeled sandal mules, a leather jacket the oversaturated blue into which everyone edits their Santorini ocean pics, and comparatively demure, dreamy suede loafers with quietly groovy, zig-zag-edged vamps.
Hopefully, a sprawling, 50% off sale will entice more people into the bizzaro underbelly of La Fetiche, where joggers are bow-tied at the ankles, neon string sprouts matter-of-factly at random intervals across Fair Isle sweaters, and red, white, and blue are divested of their comorbid patriotism, redeeming themselves in a jacket quilted out of traditional Bulgarian handkerchiefs.
The Wolf Circus sample sale is straightforward, but not facile—dotty Dalmatian jasper keeps a low profile in a chunky silver ring, silver-and-pearl studs are strategically molded around the curve of the earlobe, chubby freshwater pearls coalesce into a bracelet fastened by a very Sandy Liang-like flower—and that’s all in just the under-$100 contingent.
From sturdy runners that look like Rocket Pops to street sneakers that look like the discarded exoskeleton of a character in A Bug’s Life (in a good way), everything in the Asics summer sale is up to 50% off.
Delicately embroidered weed leaves garnish $33 bralettes, ingenious, contraption-like bodysuits ring up under $50, with more size- and skin tone-inclusive options an additional 40% off using ARCHIVEME in the Thistle and Spire archive sale.
There’s also: The Aimé Leon Dore sale, on right now even though I had no clue they even did these things, is scant in inventory, but what remains is over half-off; honestly big bless up to the Camper Friends & Family sale making sooOOOooo many styles under $100 and still managing to keep most sizes in stock; for the Sea New York heads among us, and I know we are many, a bunch of summer stuff that translates to the later part of the season is marked all the way down; get 30% off everything knit, from pleated pants to polos, at checkout in James Street Co.’s summer sale (applies to its already-discounted archive stock, as well!); the KkCo Archive Sale has a ton of compellingly off-kilter pieces under $100 in stock, from a frilly “utility” tote to several shades of fleece harness to a tank dress that looks as if left under a pile of melting orange Otter Pops; and take an extra 10% off the Shrimps Summer Sale with EXTRA10, plus get a free patterned silk scarf on orders over £300 (about $385 USD, to be precise).
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With contributions from News Editor Em Seely-Katz