We live in a casual world and luxury must adjust. Advantage: Michael Kors. While many brands with more ladified roots must adapt dramatically for women who view yoga pants and sneakers as everyday wardrobe staples, tony sportif has been core to Kors' deign ethos from Day One. That doesn't mean he's built a career on surf shorts and tanks — only that he has a natural affinity for dressed-up dressing down. From Kors, the integration of overt athletic themes into his sporty aesthetic feels natural, seamless and, for resort, very chic.
“Walk around the Upper East Side.
You're like, wait a minute, is she perpetually exercising? That's all she does? She only exercises?” Kors mused during an appointment at Industria Studios. Overstatement, perhaps, but the reality of casualization has made him focus on multipurpose clothes, particularly for this season, in store in time for holiday fetes and vacations, but also the doldrums of winter. “The clothes have to go to a party, go on vacation, go to work,” he said, while noting that in his case, they must serve many mistresses: “We have three generations of clients.”
Kors' resort collection had inviting options for all of the above. He emphasized coordinated looks — often including matching-print bags and shoes — which can be easily broken down into items, an approach he finds essential today. His woman still likes fancy, but approaches it with a total lack of reverence and a “brocade with flip-flops” mentality. That meant mix-and-match dressing such as a precision- cut jacket in exquisite silver/ aqua brocade worn over a lace babydoll and bejeweled sports sandals, or a seafaring take on a suit — buckle-front scuba vest and skirt in stretch bonded jersey. Some looks had what the designer called a “mess with your friends” vibe, as in, “I'm wearing a shift and a hoodie,” only the shift was in rich, embroidered brocade and the hoodie, in cashmere with diamante cords.
Throughout, Kors worked with sharp graphics, whether colorblocks or prints, as well as painterly motifs, sometimes combining the two. While he kept most cuts linear and precise, airy dresses made for touches of boho romance. Yet he kept returning to the sporty side. Case in point: a flamboyant tracksuit in perforated plonge leather. “If I can't get them out of exercise clothes,” Kors quipped, “I'm going to get them into the most opulent exercise clothes.” — Bridget Foley
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
The retro- glam party girl look is working for Lorenzo Serafini. During his time at Philosophy, he's revived the throwback glamour of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties with the right mix of nostalgia and modernity, so his customers can touch the attitude of the time without looking like they got dressed in a time capsule.
For resort, Serafini took aim at some of the Rolling Stones' wives and girlfriends. Tacked onto his mood board were images of Patti Hansen, Anita Pallenberg, Marianne Faithfull and Bianca Jagger. He did well with the casual side of the Seventies, showing a leopard-printed velvet car coat over a striped knit sweater, flared jeans and sandals, and a rosebud wool blazer over a lace top and jeans. There were crisp white eyelet peasant blouses and dresses, as well as more dramatic animal print dresses cut shorter in front than back. For party season, he broke out the sequins in fuchsia and red on tops, shorts and a swingy dress.
“Cruise starts in November with more heavy materials and then we move into December, when it's more for parties and soft, and then the last few months, there's light things for people going to the sea,” said Serafini. For the first time there were also things for a younger clientele — Philosophy is launching a girls' collection, the first round of which were mini-me versions of many of the resort looks.
— Jessica Iredale
Creatures of Comfort
Creatures of Comfort designer Jade
Lai wanted a collection inspired by her favorite architect Pierre Koenig and his pictures of idyllic houses and women, but she most definitely also had herself in mind as the collection shifted her fall theme of “womanhood” into “motherhood and domesticity” for resort. Color-blocked knit pieces in primary shades, denim separates, a simple green hoodie with white blazer, loose plaid dresses, and printed pants and dresses in a quirky cream leopard print, felt like a nonfussy approach to the kind of wardrobe pieces you'd find in a cool downtown mom's closet — and Lai herself lives in SoHo.
Fabrics were a big part of the story with Japanese cottons, Italian tweeds and wool linen being used as Lai puts it, “because they are durable, easy to wash and care for.” A relaxed suit look with wide-leg pant, double-breasted blazer and top used a fabric with a bit metal woven in to make it “crunchy” and added a hint of structure. It made for a key look. Lai has also continued to build out her accessory range with a new laser cut pouch bag and update to her fall shoe offering with a blue Chelsea boot with block heel added for resort. — Thomas Waller
“What is she wearing to prepare for the holidays? What is she packing to spend New Year's in Mexico?” Caroline Constas asked herself when designing her latest resort collection. The designer, who normally debuts a traditional resortwear collection for the season decided to introduce a new, sassy, “holiday takeaway” selection of ready-to-wear that mixed well with her feminine, lifestyle attire. Sequined looks, like white minidresses paired over matching trousers or a blue and white striped set with sequined top and silk skirt made for super-fun new additions alongside updated floral and leaf-printed easy dresses and blouses. For resort, Constas took one of her best-selling blouses with billowy sleeves and made it into a full-length gown in a burnt orange giraffe print. The print was carried over into a great knot-front bikini with sleek caftan. Whether it was a multicolored sequin party dress, smocked and ruffled daytime dress or a new stretch crepe floor-length blue and white floral dress that could go either way, her range for resort held a fresh, playful spirit.
— Emily Mercer
Resort was the first Baja East lineup done as a solo effort by Scott Studenberg. Five years after he and John Targon launched the collection of unisex “loose luxury” gear, Targon, who earlier this year was briefly hired to work on Marc Jacobs' contemporary collection, is no longer actively involved in the collection. “John is pursuing other creative opportunities,” said Studenberg during a preview of resort.
Working on his own, Studenberg was free to let his new Los Angeles lifestyle dictate the collection's key references. “It's very on Beverly Hills in the Nineties,” he said. T- shirts and sweats that offered a more feminine, rather than tough take on street, were printed with funny lines like “Special Guest Star Heather Locklear” and “Right on top of that, Rose” — references to “Melrose Place,” and “Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.” A python printed blazer dress with removable shoulder pads, a silver lamé T-shirt and harem pants and oversize satin tracksuits reflected Nineties nostalgia in a more dressed-up way. Studenberg's calling it “glam-leisure.”
— Jessica Iredale
Catherine Holstein launched Khaite in 2016 as a vehicle to elevate American sportswear. The brand offers wardrobe essentials rooted in the balance of contrasts — namely masculine and feminine, tailored and fluid — to create a thread of gentle strength. In just two years, it's become known for great denim, knitwear and tailoring.
Holstein's background is in illustration, but as the designer has taken on the role of businesswoman, it's been harder to find time to incorporate that artistic element into the collections. So for resort, she implemented artistry through techniques that challenged her process, which, in turn, allowed silhouettes to evolve.
The star of the lineup was a pink pleated gown more involved than its appearance might suggest; it featured eight panels of asymmetric pleating all draped on the model. “It was a labor of love,” Holstein said in her showroom. “I opened up my mind a little more. It's a next step for Khaite.” The pleated dress also came in a velvet-flocked polka-dot pattern and a fiery red version with flyaway threads that challenged shirting fabric to be evening-appropriate. She offered sculptural elements elsewhere in knitwear and through the roundness of sleeves. “Those small details make all the difference,” she added.
Holstein's balance of the hard and soft help the clothes stay away from being too precious. Blazers are minimal yet sharp, jeans are familiar but not boring, like a new bootcut style with the slightest flare. It's also likely why suiting has had 100 percent sell-through. Styling could lean just as easily on the side of flirty as it could more serious — always with an undercurrent of modest and tasteful design. — Andrew Shang
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
Creatures of Comfort