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134: How to dress for the "life" season
Plus Emily Dawn Long's resort capsule, La Garçonne's sale-on-sale, and Prada brings back beauty.
Today’s diatribe was going to be about how I’m not buying anything lately because it’s summer and no one wants to buy anything during summer, and then of course I went and bought a few, not un-summer-y, things. I got some pedal pushers from the Toteme sale, that Auralee tank I’ve written so much about, and some Margiela loafer tabis I found for a fair resale price on Grailed.
While that hypothesis still stands—perhaps for the same reasons I expressed around seasonal suckage a few posts back—I think what’s also at play is that fall now looms large and we’re almost at the point of seeing the allegedly nice part of the year in the rearview. In just a few garbage pickup days from now we’re going to be entering every copywriter’s most obsessed-over period: Transitional Season.
It’s an amazingly dumb sales tactic to have invented for selling what’s otherwise known as “clothes.” I may sound like a hater, but I really do find it hilarious, charming even, how widely this kind of thing gets adopted by the industry and its consumers, despite that “transitional dressing” sounds like a phrase pulled from that Eastern European techno-pop spoof and means next to nothing.
Summer feels like everyone’s birthday, or the year’s stretched-out New Year’s, so rife with expectation and disappointment. But pre-fall or post-summer or whatever is just life, just Ken.
Emily Dawn Long’s Resort ‘24 collection touched down on site, with slippery silky knits that are unresolvably weightless yet have a satisfying density to them at the same time—not unlike running water. Each of the flowing, backless tanks and peplum-ed micro minis and Bermuda shorts presents a resolution-agnostic Rubik’s Cube of opportunities. Flip them front to back, top to bottom, wear them hiked up or layered over one another (double peplums?), in inspired hands, the capsule presents inexhaustible styling channels.
Prada has relaunched beauty, and Emily Sundberg dug up a great Cathy Horyn quote in her newsletter from the house’s last brush with the category, complete with vacuum-sealed, “condom-like” packaging. The new gen of Prada makeup and skincare eschews yesteryear’s breed of futurism for more traditional premium, luxury branding that heavily leverages the obtuse Prada triangle. Every product supports achieving the Prada runway look, which is to say dewy skin and matte pigments in quirky colors referenced directly from the archives.
It’s clearly August 1st, because brands are already beginning to introduce fall collections to their sites. Dries van Noten’s FW23 allows its summer optimism to settle into something a bit more austere, where florals find more muted forms in autumnal shades, textures seek out weightier expressions like metal-thread jacquards and inside-out embroidery, and this insanely snatched coat demands I add it to my collection.
Helmut Lang has likewise revealed its latest line, the last from the brand’s current design team before Peter Do steps in as Creative Director. Obviously a lot to be excited about with the figurehead incoming, but the contents of this collection give you something to miss when the guard changes over. There’s a fantastic deal on a sexy, flattering, and thoughtful twisted dress, a sensuous wool jersey knit with what I imagine is an addictive handfeel, and an ever cheekier cropped version of the tuxedo tank released last season.
Tory Burch’s FW23 collection is also rolling out to site, from which a few runway pieces have emerged as immediate wishlist adds: a trompe l’oeil layered cardigan top in complementary grays and pointy black flats with “pierced” toes.
Team members’ stiff, saccharine prom pics grace Eckhaus Latta’s new capsule, slotted strategically into mesh iterations of the brand’s ubiquitous lapped tees to pit the eroticism of exposed flesh against the abject sterility of the coming of age ritual.
I always half expect Zara Home to still be slinging the same wavy cups and checkerboard rugs relegated to meme backdrops, but then I remember the mega brand has access to all the same Instagram accounts that we do—and a staff to execute around their intersections. The latest collection feels anything but avant-basic, full of timing-appropriate European vacation home details identified and transcribed at unmatchably low prices.
At.Kollective’s Season 02 comes out today, a slew of shoes and bags that seem to exist in the colorscape of a Yorgos Lanthimos film, all cold cream and sneaky greens doing their best impression of black. The ethos of experimentation and academic exploration from Season 01 carries over into this new crop, solidifying the collective’s M.O. as a generative endeavor that’s not afraid of flops or spontaneity.
If you’re so underwhelmed with this summer that you’ve considered eloping with a Hinge second date just to shake things up before the weather turns, Orseund Iris’ new drop is your sign to go for it. Pull up to the courthouse on a Citi Bike in a custard-colored skort or have your Seven Year Itch moment in an insouciant white silk halter dress stacked with tuxedo-style bows, skirt flipped skywards in gusts of hot subway platform air.
Appropriately timed to outfit women’s soccer watch parties, I.AM.GIA’s new Resort.05 collection gives us the costumes that could have been if Bend It Like Beckham hadn’t had its sapphic essence strangled out by peabrained execs: the early-aughts precursor to athleisure, with low-cut little racing-stripe tops, enormous jorts with so little sex appeal they bridge the horseshoe and become perversely smutty, and plenty of one-shoulder, star-decal, ruched-and-laced-up loungewear, craftily designed to honor the female gaze.
Missoni Mare’s collection of beachwear exclusively for MyTheresa encodes the brand’s famous zigzags into jacquard blends that alternately reveal and obscure, show the form of the body and throw onlookers for a loop with sparkles or loose, swishy fabrics. The crown jewels of the drop are a viscose jumpsuit with a backwards cowl neck that ripples down the spine like a skipped stone and espadrille wedges in a matching cobalt weave.
The new Comme des Garçons x Stüssy Laguna Beach eau de toilette is inspired by the beachcombing finds of Laguna, CA artist Jim Olarte: shards of surfboards, calcified kelp, and antique fishing weights are evoked in notes of brine, moss, cedar, and West Coast florals, and if the collab’s copywriters are to be believed, “create an all-new, organic, laid back vibrational force.” Hopefully refunds are offered if no transcendental zen is achieved through a sniff.
There’s also: Everlane launches the $165 “Puffer Clog” in the same ilk of similar styles from Simon Miller, Proenza, and Bottega; the surfer-fashion girlie circles are closing in on each other, not least of which because of the recent Dion Lee x Haydenshapes wetsuit capsule that coaxes across the slippery aisle; all proceeds from the Tiffany x Beyoncé capsule, a silver, horse-emblazoned pendant hanging off three variously priced chains, are funneled into scholarships for historically Black universities; Hunza G’s lurex collection uses the brand’s signature scrunched fabric speckled with metal threads to emphasize the elegance of a half-dozen classically cut swimsuits; Lacoste tries to parlay its new underwear collection into a bid for brand recognition (but ends up kind of looking like off-brand Calvin Klein); and phoebephilo.com—have you signed up yet?
What’s on sale
I’m sure I’ve mentioned La Garçonne’s sale-on-sale (extra 20% with LG20off) at least somewhat recently here, but the thing is, it just keeps going up. Right now, there’s a ton of Issey, Comme, Studio Nicholson, and Bourrienne (who you should definitely check out in person if you can), not to mention the 70% off section that houses Aura Lee moccs, The Row baby bootlegs, and a cropped Kassl raincoat.
There’s a Tropic of C suit I’ve owned and worn for years (that still looks brand new…the fabrics are outstanding), and I really think it owns its own space as a brand in many regards. That said, forgive me when I make a few comparisons to pieces found in the 25% off sale happening now (including sale-on-sale), as with this Nia Thomas-y crochet skirt, this Toteme-leaning maxi dress, this The Row-esque slip, and this Gil Rodriguez-like crop top…all of which to say, there’s a lot more than just swimsuits happening in the sale than you might think.
Along with Khaite, The Row, Toteme…I keep Maria McManus in my arsenal of “clothes people actually wear.” All of her pieces are the good version of the thing you’ve been looking for—ribbed cardigans, sheer long-sleeves—not necessarily with a “twist,” but with a knowingness that makes them exponentially more wearable than the alternative. What I’m getting at is that a lot of these very sought-after pieces are on sale with an extra 10% off with MM100823.
To cut straight to the chase: Yes, the up-to-80%-off Mara Hoffman sample sale includes popcorn dresses. A whole bunch of them too, including styles I’d never seen before (this cutout bodice one is great). There are also popcorn separates, linen crops, fluorescent gingham checks, watercolor-printed swim, and all sorts of other things that make you say, “Oh, I guess I can be grown-up, look hot, and not take myself too seriously” all in one go.
So, sure, a bunch of brands are putting all of their vacation stuff on sale right now, but the fact is that most of us have not packed in the literal towel on beach time just yet. Faithfull the Brand is one of them, and its made-for-each-other turmeric-orange twist top and purple crepe pareo are a reason-in-two to extend your resort shopping even a little longer. Otherwise, some great chocolate linen cargo pants, a crisp poplin button-down, and stripy boxer shorts in every shade are more year-round endeavors to pounce on.
With SUMMERLOVE, Collina Strada’s already-discounted sale section takes an extra 20% cut, and the stock is spectacular—$230 down from $575 on the most foolproof wedding guest dress (no danger of accidentally matching with a second cousin), an architecturally ambitious strapless top that might actually photosynthesize if worn in the sun, and hand-dyed sweats with flowers sprouting out of the cuffs are just a few heart-winners available...
An oversized raincoat with fabric that puddles as the wearer sidesteps puddles, a square-necked one-piece swimsuit printed with a sunset so intense it almost hurts to stare directly into, a shiny, wasabi-colored miniskirt with a belt so big a dad might joke “Do you want some skirt with that belt?” are all available at up to 50% off in Priscavera’s sitewide summer sale.
Nikki Chasin’s sample sale transcends season and historical context to offer pieces like the Shakespeare in Love-aligned swath of viscose that makes up the Sonnet Dress, the crisp, honeyed puffs of the Zoom Top, and the obsession-inducing bouclé of the Sheba Cardigan at discounts that situate nearly everything in the under-$300 realm.
A selection of Yume Yume’s most mind-bending pairs of shoes are on sale for up to 60% off, including woolen slides (you read that right) that look like the crunchy, igneous aftermath of an atomic disaster and a pink-and-orange version of the same style that is, to use contemporary parlance, the Barbie to the first pair’s Oppenheimer.
Not to be confused with Yume Yume, all of the drapey, dreamy jacquard knits at YanYan are 20% off at checkout in its summer sale, which is fast diminishing at the hands of committed YanYan Fans. It still, however, has these green linen pants knit with popsicles and wizards, huge, loose rainbow cardigans with preppy collars to offset the hippie insouciance, and more pieces that could have been ripped from your fourth grade sketchbook.
Take 10% off Emily Watson’s entire stock of frilly, dangling, impromptu-flamenco-inspiring pieces with EOFY, from swimwear that will redeem any subpar swimwear experiences of your summer thus far to pants that require their wearer to get freaky to the tune of a Celia Cruz song.
There’s also: Jesse Kamm once ruled pants, and while life may not be so simple anymore, at least you can get a pair for 20% off at Frances May to celebrate A DECADEOFKAMM; get that kid-in-a-candy-store sensation scrolling the chromatic, glossy footwear of all styles in Maguire Shoes’ biannual archive sale; and Shop Peche is offering an extra 20% off its sale, a more subdued selection but no less compelling in its inventive use of straps, toe shapes, and baubles to make sophistication compatible with a healthy dose of delight.
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With contributions from News Editor Em Seely-Katz