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147: Spring visions, fall carts
Plus Uniqlo x Clare Waight Keller, the MNZ sale, and some fall collections that really, truly matter.
I honestly feel like I could have talked about NYFW forever. It’s unfathomable to me that fashion moves so fast that a bajillion incredible collections and concepts made their way into the public sphere all at once, and we’re just supposed to…not only make room for a bajillion more from subsequent cities, but also sort of just let the industry do its housekeeping and move things along until we see them again in purchasable form come next season.
But I guess that’s exactly how I felt in February for the fall shows, which are now actually a reality, in stores and online and already on the bodies of humans I’m seeing on Instagram and sometimes in rooms where I’m myself standing.
Even though I go to shows—when they’ll have me—as an (online) shopping person first and foremost, I perceive fashion best through ecomm pages. It’s a whole next chapter to actually conceptualize these high-production shows as garments in your wardrobe, and I think that’s the brainpower era I’m in currently: visualizing the collections as clothes, the clothes as “pieces,” the spreadsheet cells as outfits…
I have, like, a week left before Paris when this internalization track must end and make room for yet another accommodation of future fashion fact, so I’m trying to remember and appreciate this moment of loving the actualization of materialization, you know what I mean?
Uniqlo could easily draw more hype collaborating with a Pharrell type (though, seeing the mess other fashion-adjacent pop-culture figure Kanye left Gap and adidas in, perhaps not so), but Uniqlo repeatedly chooses to stake out design partnerships with softer-spoken killers that drum up fashion’s molten core; through Christophe Lemaire, J.W.Anderson, and now, with Uniqlo C by Clare Waight Keller, the brand seems intent on tapping the industry’s most revered nerds. Uniqlo C, which landed last Friday, offers a few key pieces I need to point out directly: a collarless puffer coat, a flare-sleeve cardigan in a set, a quilted coat that looks like something a horse wears in winter (aspirational). At this rate, I can imagine, if only wishfully, a Uniqlo P in a few seasons…
Deep as we are into the clothes-people-actually-wear renaissance, it’s felt important to keep an eye on Attersee, one of the four horsemen of the movement (alongside The Row, Toteme, Khaite) who, after a summer of coming to the forefront of dressing us for insufferable weather conditions, was due to release its fall collection with little forewarning. FW23 is here, and lives up to high expectations, though I’m of course eager to see what folks do with its heroes: a heavy satin belted blazer and twin vest, a dress-length version of its insider-y sculpted vest in wool-silk, a shirt-sarong dress a person could build their entire life around…
If not for the spreadsheet, I really would still be talking about NYFW—and maybe I still am. Moda is hosting several trunkshows from the collections just seen on the runways in New York, making some of the best spring pieces from Proenza, Altuzarra, Khaite, and Ulla Johnson available for pre-order with half down. Topping my list are Proenza’s red nappa leathet ballet flats and that nylon jacket (his name is Maxwell!) I drooled over, plus this smart leather doctor bag from Altuzarra.
I want to say that Fforme’s fall collection makes me think of something more relative to the actual, worthwhile work than just….inflation. This may well be one of the savior brands to lift us out of the obvious, peacocking, Instagram era, deserving of every dollar that goes towards its truly perfected products, but my mind wanders again and again to the comma in every list price. This is what reality costs at the end of the day, and many of us have spent most days outside of reality.
Janessa Leone is one of those brands that did something too well, and then got typecast. Its hats are category-leading, sure but I’ve been just a little bit losing my mind at how great its leather goods are, like a secret that I’ve been accidentally keeping for too long. I’ve now collected two different bags that I reach for more than any other in my collection, and have my sights on its belts, sweaters, and knit beanies as my next targets. FW23 is here, see what I mean?
Did you see me in The Cut last week? I was wearing Look 11 from the Miu Miu FW23 runway. And I won’t let you forget it apparently. The collection’s now live on Bergdorf’s and because they didn’t let me keep any of the samples (that’s not how it works!), I’m pining over the outfit again.
Another runway-to-reality mome’ is Buci’s debut show hitting site, like, 24 hours after being shown under the life-threatening sun of NYFW day -1. Its sheer pastels are also categorically related to Miu Miu’s, but energetically they live in different universes—Buci’s at once damsels in distress of the Herculean epoch and femme fatales of the Noir ‘50s.
Seemingly both commercial strategy and earnest whim, Bottega Veneta's fall collection prioritizes accessories—its structured dresses gape at the neck and hemline, making way for boots that balance on knotted golden heels, an experimental pair of cream-colored opera gloves in the brand’s signature lattice of leather, and its equally iconic metal sardines, promoted to earrings on the aesthetic level of wearable Brancusi sculptures.
Paloma Wool’s fall collection plays with your heart, alternating between shy, as in a pair of matter-of-factly blue boots with toes that just peek out from the sleeve-like casing that envelops most of the shoe, and sweetly brash, like the enormous, sheeny ribbon earrings that come in six colors and push the nearly tired bow motif into freakier territory—a welcome development.
Imagine us on horseback, galloping ahead of the COS AW23 collection to bellow, Paul Revere-style, that “The scarf coat is coming [back]!!!” This go-around, COS gets down to business with a woolen, pinstriped version, but offers a harness-like freshwater pearl body chain lest we forget the importance of staying a little perverted while swaddled in our coats this winter. Its fledgeling petite collection seems primed to follow suit.
Kiko Kostadinov’s AW23 collection has big “designed by a clever cartoon mouse” energy, in the earnest Cinderella sense, with cardigans designed to look perennially scrunched-up under their built-in, stripy scarves, knit tops that defy natural laws in the number of ways they can be worn, and boots stacked with layers of skinny belts, because why not?
Gwyneth heard “quiet luxury,” said “Hold my aphrodisiac powder-enhanced smoothie,” and out popped G. Label by Goop’s FW23 collection, smooth as a jade egg, though it seems a little seasonally confused. Even its preppiest sweaters, though very well considered, feel a little summer-y for the season—but ostensibly, the real quiet luxury lies in the ability to jetset away from winter year-round.
Maimuon is filling our plates with the latest releases from Priscavera, where last season’s skirt-belt has given way to this season’s shiny, silver belt-skirt, and Julia Heuer, whose uncanny patterns and pleats continue to congeal into confounding statement pieces, like this wide-sleeved top.
One of the trend’s originators, Sandy Liang heard us call bows “nearly tired” above and said “bet,” releasing a fall lineup so bow-saturated that the shape loses some of its tedious preciousness. Open to interpretation anew, the ornament finds itself dripping off a cherry-red puffer jacket and braided into fake hair in the most meta hair clips the brand’s offered so far.
Gimaguas’ fall collection is the season-shifting equivalent to the girl who shows up at a party past 2 a.m. and suggests everyone do shots. Summer’s not over ‘till it’s over—even if the thigh-baring miniskirts are hewn in festive metallics and the crochet pieces are mostly scarves, the resolute beachiness is undeniable, with a t-shirt layered under a faux bikini top as the most on-the-nose offering.
If Staten Island had a cowboy population, their uniform would be Martine Rose’s AW23 collection, with track jackets trailing polyamide fringe, leather mules that look like they’re about to make you an offer you can’t refuse, and the perfect straight-leg jeans with laser-made stripes that give the air of long, denim boxers.
Somehow the Limited Too-isms of Nguyen Inc’s capsule for Ganni make perfect sense decades after the store folded—the knit hoodie, the graphic tee (both remixed with corset-like detailing), the white-collared polo dress…All of the pieces deftly combine the earnestness of tween-dom.
Cashmere is used like construction paper in The Elder Statesman x Zegna capsule, with threaded scribbles on checkered cardigans, psychedelic colors splattered across lush robes, and more luxurious pieces with senses of humor.
Pulling from the closet of underrated fashion icon Emmett Forrest (the Nice Guy love interest in Legally Blonde, he’s actually better in the musical), Still Here Collection 12 is packed with subversions of preppy convention, from a corduroy blazer with just the right amount of shlump to jeans sporting plaid chap details.
Tove’s FW23 collection is quiet with an edge—a buttermilk dress sprouts silken feathers that kind of look like teeth, a wine-colored top twists around the body like it’s trying to take itself off, and a long, creamy coat sports misshapen buttons that look almost disturbing against the tranquil expanse of lambswool.
There’s also: Jean Paul Gaultier earns Gen Z cred in its KNWLS collaboration, full of tattoo-illusion tops and sleazy, off-shoulder mohair knits; Doen’s fall collection is a buffet of plaids and nightgowns that beg to be worn while ill-advisedly investigating midnight noises in the attic; there aren’t any plot twists in Gil Rodriguez’ FW23 offerings, but the spread of delicious new colorways is invigorating; James Street Co. would like to remind you with its fall drop that it basically invented sweater weather; until October 1, the ephemeral Cristaseya online shop is hawking crisp button-downs and pleated trousers in Japanese wool; Dear Frances’ fall drop includes some really compelling sock-boots in a thrilling emerald; Sapir Bachar and Laura Lombardi both grace us with new collections of precious but hardy metals to adorn ourselves with daily; and silks are tie-dyed, hand-embroidered, and otherwise venerated in Tigra Tigra’s new collection.
What’s on sale
I have a love-hate relationship with how Italist makes me feel like I’m my own grandma. Wait, no…you get it, though, I think. Every time I’m announcing that a new season is touching down like a tidal wave of collections across retailers, Italist stands smugly, already offering them on sale. It’s a time warp, and frankly it fucks with my vestibular system. That said, this season, as in FW23, is already up to half-off on the retailer. A few immediate deals that arise: an Acne bomber for $500 off, Miu Miu ballerinas under $700, theeeeeee Bottega Drop bag I keep posting about for scarcely over $2,000, and more mortally, an Aesther Ekme bag under $400.
I don’t want to be the one to put it out there, but there’s a lot of us speculating about the end of MNZ. No spring show, barely any fall collection, where is everyone? The landscape of New York is moving forward without the Maryam design team, which is both happy and deeply sad. What I’m pacing towards perhaps misplacedly here, is that the shop’s hosting its end-of-season sale right now, which puts the house brand plus inventory from Martine Rose, Mari Giudicelli, Knwls, Eckhaus Latta, etc, on sale for a bunch less. I don’t think that really confirms or denies anything about the continuation of the brand, just an excuse to hash out the situation with others who care.
Quick, while the Upper East Side set is distracted by full-price Louboutin purses, get up to 70% off a slew of less typically Saks-y pieces from the retailer’s sale, from a decadent crimson Interior blouse that looks like it could have been in either version of Suspiria, a stretch blazer from Nensi Dojaka exuding the perfect level of bossiness from its shoulder pads, rose gold foiled driving loafers byTory Burch (under $160), and more under-the-radar winners.
Realisation Par should be on every upcoming brand’s manifestation board: countless viral hits, no controversies under its belt, and a steady, aspirational stream of quality clothes that hot girls wanna wear. Pas mal. To my inflation note above, RP is mercifully affordable, and even moreso today given a 25% off everything sale with SUPERNOVA.
I must be naive when it comes to the fundamentals of fashion business because, a decade into this line of work, and I still can’t fathom a collection having just hit shelves and is already on sale. At Shopbop (as with Italist above), such is the case for fall—there’s a 20% off selection with FALL20 that includes Nili Lotan’s celebrated denim, suede Paris Texas boots, and tons of Staud, Norma Kamali, and Agolde.
The Stine Goya sale on right now takes 30% off PF23, including crystal-studded heels that look like a character from a fable should be wearing them, a sheeny pink coat with sporadic, Rorschach-like black florals, and a logo long-sleeve tee in the vein of the iconic Saks Potts thermal, but under $150.
Crack open the Cherry archive with the password weloveyou for a grotto of Cool Townie uniforms, from quarter-zips printed with the brand’s name across the shoulders like a sports team to utility cargos decked out with pockets that feel like accessories.
Madewell “insiders” get 25% off everything until the 25th, with plenty of gems like this thoughtfully-colored take on a v-neck sweater and a HOST of could-be-Pleats Please dresses at around $100 a pop.
Coming of Age’s end-of-season sale takes 25% off everything at checkout, from a black and red bag that makes gingham make sense for fall to nylon pants in a neon yellow so bright they might be viable as safety gear for night bikers.
There’s also: Akoia’s archive sale has crochet any way you could possibly want it, from gowns to butt-honoring bikini bottoms, all for sub-$200; and & Other Stories’ sale takes 70% off all the linen and florals you could possibly need to cosplay a Jenny Han rom-com lead in a late-season beach vacation.
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With contributions from News Editor Em Seely-Katz