They say that history always repeats itself, and while that strictly can’t be true, history does allow us moments to reflect on and try to better understand our world. It’s what happened way back when, it’s who made it happen, and why, it’s where we started, and what we learned from it.
So much of fashion is rooted in our present and looks towards our future – as designers we are taught more and more to try to pinpoint today’s zeitgeist to shape tomorrow’s desires.
There’s been an increasingly dystopian quality to the last few years. Technological change is accelerating our lives at unprecedented speeds, creating a world we can barely begin to imagine, or even understand. We know that we are living in a time of upheaval – racial injustice, social, political and environmental – and fashion is the armour that you put on to face your reality. What does fashion look like when each day feels unmatched?
As we continue to exist in these new realities, I needed to take some time to look back, study and reflect on the past. I looked at moments of great change and perpetual turbulence and how people dressed in them. And, specifically at times of transition, in the cross-over between decades and styles.
We explored how fashion attempted to visualize the future in the 60’s with space-age inspired collections created in the backdrop of the Cold War and Space Race. How that moved dramatically into the next decade, the 1970’s, where a new style of dressing emerged. Capturing spiritual awakening, freedom of expression and liberation to reflect the social movements, civil unrest and changes happening all across America. We also looked to the 1990’s, and how the spirit of anti-conformism and female empowerment were translated into minimalism, tailoring and power dressing. Then how that all took a u-turn closer to y2k, when there was a huge lack of clarity around our future, evolving into mash-ups of different styles and eras.
Throughout the collection we continue to experiment with suiting. We deconstructed a vintage suit and reconceptualized it for spring in appealing and less serious varieties. Hand crochet is worked though all of our knitwear, offering new twists with fringe and tassel on the hemlines of gowns and trench coats. Adding new character within our airlike gowns, this spring season we are offering billowy cloud-like wisped hems, celebrating movement while paying close attention to form. Mini dresses and gowns are found throughout emblazoned with a new and unique custom guipure lace. And because we remain in the spirit of optimism we chose a tranquil and serene color palette ranging from ivory, champagne and shell to adriatic blue, lupine and scarlet red.
We are also excited to announce that this season marks the first collection in which accessories including handbags and footwear are designed and will be produced under the Jonathan Simkhai label. Our take on liquid-like gold jewelry has an understated appeal that we wish illuminates the wearer. We intended to create timeless items that avoid season limitations and can be worn throughout the year. For footwear there are statement shoes and high-spirited items like lace-up platform flats and platform sandals designed to take you from the beach to dinner. Within the footwear category this season are also macramé detailed heels, soft wrap-up straps adding support to platforms, along with elegant fold-over boots. Handbags were also created as timeless items to add to your grab-and-go uniform. From macramé detailed handbags to a bucket style bag for any commuting.
As a result, the collection is like a historical study and prism, refracting, dissecting and unifying different moments and influences, all in an attempt to make sense of today, and maybe even tomorrow.
All images courtesy of Jonathan Simkhai