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Institut Français de la Mode Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear

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Rina Sawayama Has Fully Embraced Movie Star Style

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Singer Rina Sawayama is no stranger to flexing a statement outfit on stage. For live performances, the pop star has rocked everything from all-leather looks to rhinestone rodeo getups. This past month, however, Sawayama has been channeling a different fashion energy on the red carpet—that of a movie star. Sawayama’s first movie, John Wick: Chapter 4, is out March 27. She stars alongside Keanu Reeves, and she has been busy embarking on the film’s official press tour. In the process, Sawayama has brought her unique edge to each and every ensemble. 

It all started at the film’s London premiere earlier this month, when Sawayama showed up in a silver gown by Ashi Studio. With its high neckline and slightly puffed shoulders, the silhouette was modern, but still had the sparkle factor that’s fitting for a film premiere. For a screening in New York City last week, Sawayama switched things up in a plaid Thom Browne look that featured a cropped, sharp-shouldered jacket. Hardly your classic Old Hollywood gown!

At the L.A. premiere just last night, Sawayama embraced a more rock ‘n’ roll vibe. She slipped into Luis de Javier’s leather gown, covered in silver grommets and an asymmetrical fringed train. While the ensembles are wildly different in style and attitude, they’re united by a sense of risk-taking and experimentation. It’s a refreshing change from your standard ball gowns. That’s what movie premieres should really be all about—creating a fashion fantasy. One movie in, and Sawayama clearly understands this assignment. 

Below, more of Rina’s best John Wick press tour looks. 

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Meet Matiere Premiere, the French Farm-to-Fragrance Brand That’s Finally Arrived Stateside

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Raw materials also happen to be a family tradition. His grandparents grew jasmine, roses, and verbena. And having been raised in the south of France where perfumery is one of the big industries, there’s a cultural know-how that the locals possess. It also doesn’t hurt to have the land, which the Guichard family does. “After 15 years of work, I said, ‘What if I go back to the basics? What if, on top of creating fragrances, what if I grow some ingredients?’” The farm-to-fragrance pipeline is unique for a perfumer, and Guichard is the only master perfumer to grow his own ingredients. Most fragrance brands work in tandem with other farmers and plantations for their resources, for good reason: it’s just not very economical to garden. “You don’t make any money when you grow flowers. It’s very time-consuming, so you really need to have a dedication for it.” 

Take roses, for instance: once planted, a rose bush will flourish in about three-to-four years. Five-to-seven years is peak flower-production time in a rose bush’s lifespan (which is about 15-to-18 years total), Guichard explained to me. It’s not the most economical production schedule for a modern fragrance brand in our fast-paced culture. Tuberose, which he also grows, takes a bit less time to harvest: about three months. Perhaps slightly more economical, however, tuberose absolute from the south of France will run you about €250K a kilo, versus its more commonly used Indian counterpart, which fetches about €10K a kilo. 

Matiere Premiere French Flower Eau de Parfum

Matiere Premiere Crystal Saffron Eau de Parfum

Matiere Premiere Neroli Oranger Eau de Parfum

Matiere Premiere 6-Piece Eau De Parfum Discovery Set

French Flower is the only fragrance that exclusively uses tuberose from the south of France. It’s a rich, nectar-y, creamy tuberose enfleurage and absolute, mingled with ginger, Chinese tea leaf, and pear, meant to evoke the scent of a tuberose field at night (fun fact: tuberose flowers only release their scent in the evening). Compared to other tuberose fragrances I’ve smelled, which can sometimes veer greener or more vegetal, French Flower feels like the full-fatted, cream version of what I’d previously only experienced at the 2% or 1% level (if we’re talking in terms of milk). “We don’t say it’s better in France than it is elsewhere; it’s just different. You have different olfactive qualities, different olfactive facets,” Guichard said, describing the difference to me. 

As for the rest of the hero fragrance notes, he’s selective about his sources. “We work with companies that [practice] ethical sourcing, like this amazing company for sandalwood based in Australia called Dutjahn. It’s owned by [indigenous] Australians and they own more than 50% of the company.” Guichard cites this kind of choice as part of the fragrance formula. “The choice of an ingredient is an act of creation. When you introduce a new formula—an orange flower, for example, coming from Tunisia—it’s an act of creation of selecting this very specific orange flower compared to one made in Morocco, in the south of France, or elsewhere.” 

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Todd Snyder Fall 2023 Menswear Collection

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“There’s this ’50s thing happening,” wrote Todd Snyder in his fall collection notes. He’s correct, designers continue to mine a deep vein of post-war nostalgia and the result is a return to form, expressed through tailoring. That means Snyder is in his element. The designer trained in a tailor shop and when he first moved to New York he made all of his own clothes. “I know construction and how to put things together,” said Snyder, and it showed in this polished, yet relaxed collection, which he called American Classics.

Miles Davis, Phillip Johnson, and Frank O’Hara were a few of the personal heroes Snyder had in mind this season; there seemed to be shades of Edward Hopper in there too. The designer played with three-piece suiting, proclaiming the return of the waistcoat. The high-necked ones were most distinctive, and might even make a viable alternative to finance bros’ Patagonias. Wishful thinking…

Snyder’s tailoring fell softly around the body because of the roomier cut, but also due to the materials he used, including cashmere and piled materials. Velvet pants offered a rich and tactile alternative to corduroy, which was also on offer. Country tweeds and checked wools added rougher textures and rustic or collegiate elements. All the looks are grounded with heavy brogues. “I’m ready to move beyond sneakers, it was like a chance to turn that page,” said the designer with a laugh.

The designer recently opened a new store in Los Angeles. In response to requests to dress glitterati, there are cashmere tuxes with satin lapels in unexpected hues like chocolate and pearl gray here. But when Snyder says “there’s a return to dressing up again,” he’s thinking across the board, not specifically about evening wear. And he relates this change in direction to the seismic changes we’re living through. Abandoning sweats for sartorialism is a way of distancing ourselves from the recent past.

“I always feel like clothing is a way to cloud or cover people’s insecurities and I do think that that has a tendency to come out as you start to see things shift,” Snyder mused. “I always used to struggle about getting into fashion, but I used to work in a store, and I got such joy out of making somebody feel better about how they look or present themselves. I’m not saving the world, but for me fashion has always been about the person and understanding where their comfort levels are and pushing a little bit.” This accomplished fall collection should make it easy for fans to lean into that evolution.

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Rachel Comey Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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Over a recent breakfast Rachel Comey was reminiscing about the Chelsea flea market. In the 1990s, before zoning laws made way for luxury high rises on Sixth Avenue, antique dealers and junk collectors turned the empty lots from 24th to 27th Streets into a weekend paradise for vintage-lovers. Comey once stumbled across a cache of printed textiles that she still uses as references today, among many other treasures fashion-oriented and not.

Walking into her Crosby Street store in SoHo conjures something like the sense of kismet that a Saturday morning trip to the Chelsea flea market once did, the racks full of pieces with a one-off sense of the special, from a summery crocheted top with dragonflies knit into the pattern, to a poplin slip dress picked out in baguette-cut glass beads. They look like they could be vintage, only without all the tedious legwork.

Not that Comey has anything against legwork. She’s been at this for 20-plus years. It’s a career stage when some designers (especially male designers, especially in Milan and Paris) retreat to ivory towers and lose touch with what women want. She’s still working on personal instinct, which in turn keeps her relevant with her customers. A black denim apron belt in the spring lineup is a nifty accessorizing piece with a zip pocket that eliminates the need for a bag, because Comey herself is happier when she’s hands-free.

She’s also looking outward for ideas, of course. With an eye to summer weddings, she whipped up a one-shoulder peplum in stretch smocked cotton along with a matching skirt. Together or separate they have serious re-wear potential.

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Kendall Jenner Goes Out on a Limb in Spring’s Best Sleeveless Silhouettes

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IT’S A LONG STORY
Here’s one elegant way into transitional dressing: something light (and layerable!) on top, and full, sweeping coverage down below. Kendall Jenner wears a Ferragamo bodysuit; ferragamo.com. Max Mara skirt; maxmara.com. Fashion Editor: Kate Phelan.
Photographed by Robin Galiegue, Vogue, April 2023.

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Anonlychild Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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“Who is the woman?” When it comes to fashion, that’s an age-old question. Buyers, stylists, editors, and publicists all seek to distill the essence of a designer’s point of view to a singular person—an existing archetype, a made-up persona, a real-life muse; any will do as long as the reference to which the garments are tied to is tangible and understandable.

At anOnlyChild, Maxwell Osborne gave himself the unofficial mission of defining his woman this season. “Last season was about this gathering, a house party where everyone is living under the same roof and wearing everyone’s clothes, so we showed it on different ages and sizes as a big range,” Osborne said. “This collection is more of a darker approach, about a person outside the party looking in and they’re pretty much taking things from the party and wearing them themselves.” The protagonist of the story is “making something out of nothing,” a founding principle of anOnlyChild along with the use of deadstock fabrics. But rather than projecting scarcity, Osborne’s fall lineup exudes opulence in a wealth of options.

Gatherings and bubble hems were common denominators in the collection, cleverly used on tops, dresses, and coats. Osborne employed volume and shirring as a tool for building a consistent silhouette and signature design details. Most striking were cropped bomber jackets made in leather and fabric with the shoulder dropped and the sleeves and back shirred, creating a spherical shape from every angle. The shirring also appeared under the plackets in quarter-button shirts, in the center front of silk dresses, and as details in elevated tracksuits. “The idea is that you’ll see these bigger proportions gathered or with cinched waists, but that comes from someone taking found jackets or pieces and making them work with their sizing and proportions,” Osborne explained.

He also carried over the short-sleeve suit from last season, which was inspired by the Kariba suits created by designer Ivy Ralph once worn by the Jamaican prime minister Michael Manley. This time around, the jacket was deftly cut in an exaggerated hourglass silhouette with puff short sleeves, worn both as a mini dress and as part of a fantastic two-piece suit. “People keep talking about a ‘West Indian’ aesthetic or the brand being a ‘Jamaican heritage brand,’ but that feels very strict. The brand isn’t about Jamaica, it’s more about the mentality of playfulness and having nothing and making something,” Osborne explained.

While Chapter 1 was personal in that it was Osborne’s return to New York Fashion Week, this season is even more so because “I can see myself wearing it,” he said. “It’s more in my wheelhouse, and I feel more comfortable here telling the story about who this girl is.” When asked to define her, he started, “you know, the girl on the go, very New York, she wants to dress up…” before stopping with a laugh. “Everybody always says the same thing, but this is her,” he said, pointing to a model in a sheer blouse and wide-leg pants. At anOnlyChild, “the girl” is defined less as a specific person and more by a sensibility. That mindset will help Osborne keep growing as he settles into this next chapter.

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Keisukeyoshida Tokyo Fall 2023 Collection

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Keisuke Yoshida is one of Tokyo’s brightest young fashion talents. This season he closed an overall strong Tokyo Fashion Week with a collection that felt like he’d leveled-up. The 32-year-old designer has spent the past few seasons wrangling with his own design identity, making clothes about his internal struggles. This time, he put himself in another person’s shoes, and by doing so managed to unlock a new level of depth.

By chance he’d met a 17-year-old fan, who came to see a talk of his. The boy, who was with his mother, was wearing one of the designer’s popular and impactful trench coats, and said that after being suicidal, his love for Yoshida’s clothes—which his mother had bought for him—had saved his life.

“Every season I face myself and delve into myself to make things, so it was encouraging to me that what I was doing was helping someone else,” Yoshida said backstage. The designer related to that boy’s feelings—he found solace in fashion after being bullied as a young person himself. Inspired by the relationship between the boy and his mother, Yoshida began by making a collection that spoke to the affectionate power of a feminine guardian.

Working with the Paris-based stylist Léopold Duchemin, he came up with a way to nod to that image of a gloomy boy and the mother-like figure that protects him. “We kept using the word ‘strict,’ and thought that this collection needed to be strict, like a family, a lover, or a teacher,” said Yoshida.

That narrative came through in the ‘lonely’ and ‘love’ motifs painted in white and red on latex vests, and in more serious pieces like the vampish dresses or tailored separates, as well as office-gray coats with power shoulders, all tempered by the tender glamour of the silk-satin skirts and shirts beneath. On some looks, the satiny lining of the coats wrapped around the neck like blouses, in a way that seemed to suggest the inside coming out, while that incredible black leather trench coat added a Matrix vibe that somehow felt fresh.

He had named his collection “THE LAST” after a note he’d scribbled early on in the season, but watching the show it felt like the start of something new. Yoshida’s boy muse himself opened the show, while the Japanese supermodel Kiko Mizuhara closed it with the song “Young and Foolish” playing over the speakers.

There’s some finessing Yoshida needs to do in the finer physical details—some of those silhouettes on the upper half could have been sleeker—but now that he’s raised the bar, keen eyes in the wider industry will be watching how he continues to mature. That will come with more responsibility, more exposure, and perhaps more success. But oh, to be young and foolish again.

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Stein Tokyo Fall 2023 Collection

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Kiichiro Asakawa is a softly spoken polymath that takes an overhead, almost scientific view of fashion rather than an introspective one. This is partly informed by his retail background. In addition to his brand Stein, he also runs the Shibuya-based clothing boutique Carol, which he continues to do some of the buying for (though he admitted his design work for Stein is taking up more and more time).

This season, the designer continued with his theme of “removing” the masculinity from men’s staples by softening them up, and so the neat shirts and jackets had their seams moved further down the arm to round off their edges.

Trouser and coat hems fell low and were cut in a very subtle trapezoid shape, so that they gently billowed with each step as the models walked around the atrium of Tokyo’s Telecom Center Building. “I wanted to give the lengths of the coats and trousers a connection with the ground, to try and create an elegant atmosphere,” he said by way of explanation.

Double-waisted jeans may have looked like a design gimmick we’ve seen before, but Asakawa freshened them up with a contrasting use of fabrics that combined ’60s and ’90s ways of making denim (Asakawa also designs most of the textiles himself). “If you wear them for a long time then the denim will fade in different ways, and the contrast will come out,” he said.

Stein deals in what Japanese fashion journalists neatly refer to as riaru kurōzu, or “real clothes”—a market term that best translates to accessible, everyday pieces. Asakawa’s obsessive attention to detail, however, lends his “real clothes” a quality that pushes them beyond the norm. The way those V-neck knits were gently rounded at the neckline, for example, or the buttons stitched on high vents on the side of the floaty trench coats, made them worthy of a second look.

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DressedUndressed Tokyo Fall 2023 Collection

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“This collection of mine is me staring back at me. It’s my portrait,” said Takeshi Kitazawa. The DressedUndressed designer had found himself figuratively looking in the mirror a lot over the past few months, and thinking about how clothes are bound to reflect the designer themselves. This season he decided to face himself full-on, creating what he called a “difficult, delicate” collection of tightly edited tailoring and base layers.

For the collection’s accompanying film, Kitazawa asked the model Reuben Chapman to read the poetic lyrics of the Velvet Underground song “Set Free,” over music that was produced by Dumb Type, an artist collective that has served as a collaborator for the past two seasons, to bewitching results. “I’ve been set free and I’ve been bound… To the memories of yesterday’s clouds…”

There’s been a marked increase in artistic sensitivity in Kitazawa’s work in recent seasons, which has lent his clothes an elegant purity that this recent bout of introspection seems to have intensified. In this new iteration, everything extraneous had been stripped away, leaving barely any styling necessary, instead using the hands to suggest a sensuality that seemed to be about how we relate to our own bodies, and the way our clothes protect, hide, enhance, and connect us.

Paying close attention to the looks yielded subtle differences. That gorgeously cut inky-black and navy tailoring is at first single-breasted then double-breasted, wool gabardine and then French moleskin. The sheer tank tops were distinct fabrics too. It was again a nod to Kitazawa’s idea of reflection—how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived (and how we are perceived perceiving ourselves).

A more down-to-earth example of the brand’s emotional evolution is how Kitazawa has intentionally scaled back and refined the production process. He is making fewer clothes each season, but focusing on each piece much more thoughtfully, working with individual artisans in Japan rather than the mass manufacturers he once used. Only 30 or so pieces of each item will be made. “I wanted to do something more personal, rather than selling a lot of clothes,” he said.

If it wasn’t clear already from the above, Kitazawa is a very deep and emotionally intelligent designer, and appreciating the true essence of his deceptively simple clothing requires a sensitivity that for some will be too much to ask. But those who get it will get it, and when they buy the clothes—and when they in turn look in the mirror at themselves—they’ll no doubt cherish them. Isn’t that the best any designer can hope for?

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Duckie Brown Fall 2023 Menswear Collection

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The attached scarf on the black coat in slide 2 of this lookbook unwinds to a good 20 feet. Duckie Brown’s Steven Cox dreamed it up as a sort of obi, cinched tight around the waist, and it requires a partner to do it up properly.

That’s the kind of extravagance that might not fly in a department store. And online? Pfft. Cox and his partner Daniel Silver walked away from that kind of business model pre-pandemic. These days, they sell their collections by appointment in their West Village studio, and they know their customers on a first-name basis. To say that the formula has freed them up is to suggest that their designs were once traditional, which they weren’t. Still, there’s an amped-up sense of play here that’s pretty irresistible.

Beyond that prodigious scarf, you can see it in a backless waistcoat that drapes to a deep-v in front and a silk tank (top is the wrong word) that drapes even more extravagantly—all the way down to the chins. The concept of gender lines has been erased from their design process. If the flash of bare back provided by that waistcoat and by a similarly cut apron top raise an eyebrow, it’s useful to remember where the conversation around skirts for men was five or 10 years ago—i.e. nowhere. Now, wrap skirts of the sort in this collection have become more or less normalized, though nowhere else are you going to see the grosgrain ribbon waistbands that decorate the Duckie Brown versions.

Cox and Silver don’t just have an eye for cut and silhouette, they’ve also got a flair for fabrics and color. Their XXL and 8XL button-downs are cut from silk crepe they put through the washing machine—and the dryer!—for a slightly rumpled, lived-in look. They did the same with a ’50s-cut short-sleeve shirt in weightless pink silk that they showed with cross-over waistband silk trousers in a pretty shade of lilac.

Those lilac pants didn’t make the lookbook, but there’s a video of Cox modeling them up on the Duckie Brown Instagram account. The only thing better than a scroll through their social feed, is a face-to-face session in their studio.

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