The commercial trend report
Two trends I am sure are on the imminent horizon: objects as necklaces (like this comb from The Row, or this anthurium from Loewe or more practically, all the coin purses we are now encouraged to wear around our necks)
And actual moccasins — like ye olde Minnetonkas, but fashioned into luxurious renderings that cost upwards of $500.
The good thing about this kind of style becoming a luxury trend — like getting fashionized into an expensive item (other examples include Birkenstocks or classic rubber flip-flops) is that it contextualizes the original, makes it feel a bit stickier, and might compel you to go straight to the source, which without these or these or even those, you may never have thought to consider. I think this is partially, probably, why I stumbled into the Sebago shoes last month.
And wait — this just in: these “camp loafers” from Jamie Haller!!! (I’m wearing a Sessei button down shirt, Amotea shorts, Wolford socks and Sebago loafers
This is one of the interesting fissures of present-day fashion. In large part thanks to the contribution of Phoebe Philo (ca. Celine) and the proliferation of Stan Smith sneakers and Birkenstocks that she is responsible for, so many non-fashion items have become super fashion, which is great from the perspective of the consumer, who has a chance to participate in fashion with a capital F where they may not have had one prior. But it’s confusing from the perspective of the brand, or the broader mechanism of the business of fashion.
Does the fashionification of everyday items and brands corrode what makes the wheels of the former’s economy turn?
First to claw into their emergence this go around was Hedi Slimane for Celine. You could say the trend dates back further to Isabel Marant, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but the entire aesthetic of her brand falls into the category of French boheme whereas Celine drills down on the French bourgeois piece with just as much fervor.
The fissure in this fervor is actually precisely what makes a trend sticky — because when you can picture an item worn manifold ways as opposed to just the one (e.g. on a person with boho style), it makes more sense in the eyes of more consumers who take to different style archetypes, speaking to the Lou Doillons and Rihannas, Tracee Ellis Ross’ and let’s say the Vanessa Traina’s of the world with the same kind of intensity.
My recommendation on how to wear them is in line with the above — by inviting a new dynamic. You don’t want to look too laidback/literal, just like there’s a trick under your sleeve. Such a trick often invites a softness or lightheartedness that reads approachable. Elegant with a sense of humor! Maybe you try a really basic look (tailored trousers with the best belt and a crisp shirt), or you do it with jeans and a prissy jacket.
Back to the necklaces: I think the key there is actually the coin purses/iPhone holders, which are and will be no doubt worn cross-body or over a single shoulder most often. It’s more like a bag that is also an object with an extremely focused use case.
This one, from the Shanghai-based brand Märchen. I’m taking creative license with my calling it a phone bag but you get the gist right: thin single strap affixed to a vertical rectangular shape.
Which, to this point, might be setting off a broader trend where tall bags that can hold wine or flowers are becoming luxury handbags. By Malene Birger has just launched one for wine and Gohar Studios x Superyaya announced their collaboration of similar styles last month.
There’s a bag-meets-backpack vibe about it that will probably be the more realistic trend to take off. Something similar to this Toteme bag from last summer or this one from The Row/this one from Loewe/this most fun one from Courreges.
Do you like or dislike when practical, quotidian items like a bag in which to hold a housewarming gift are transformed into opportunities to convey your interest in fashion?
As far as regular bags go, the chain strap is upon us! But not like the chain strap endemic to Chanel. It’s more inconspicuous here — a snake chain or delicate weave or on the reverse side: larger-than-life chunky bracelet vibe. Milanese tack to the tenth degree! I credit Khaite and The Row for the recent emergence of this one — this bag was a pick-me-up and my best friend all through the winter behind us and this is the oldie-but-goodie, a bit quieter in nature, that preceded its arrival. You can get it done as an evening bag with something like this but for the forthcoming Fall, as far as the days go, there is this baby on the one hand. And I’m drawn to this mesh one. Then there is a whole host with chunky handles too, the most sticky of which come from Khaite and Bottega.
Chain strap bags
As an astute commenter put it on last week’s letter of Rec: you can probably just make one yourself! If you have the appetite for it, that is. (I have this vision of the body of a canvas tote attached to a dramatic and giant chain.)
I see these chain straps as a good foil to outfits with little hardware or flare, the surprise attack, a nod to your commitment to being more than one thing, conveying a shining divergence, if you will, with pride and delight.
On the topic of what to wear, there’s a surge in popularity among Australian brands stateside. It keeps coming up in my group chat with Becky and Lauren and I read a comment on a recent edition of Laura Reilly’s Magasin asking for an edit on the Aussuperstars (here’s hoping she delivers!). I have purchased three things from Australian brands over the last couple of months:
The pants I highlighted in last week’s letter,
This tank on sale from St. Agni
And this dress, also on sale, from Christopher Esber. (I actually haven’t bought it, but it’s in the cart and haunting me.)
Ironically, actually, at the beginning of the month, one member from our Geneva chat dropped a story from The Guardian into the fashion room on the Fall of the Aussie brand. A different narrative to be sure, but that story dealt mostly in brands from the earlier aughts that you could find at David Jones’ department store (see: Sass and Bide, Bec & Bridge, Alice McCall) which appealed to a customer with a different sensibility, but when you consider:
Bassike, Deiji Studios, Sir the Label, long-standing champions of the genre like Camilla and Marc and Zimmerman and the best ones of the moment (in my opinion!) St. Agni, Matteau and Christopher Esber — or she who is responsible for my favorite casual shirts: LMND, there is definitely something moving through the air.
Big Esber energy among Women of Influence too:
Is it because the brands mentioned have been embraced by retail platforms that have large U.S. audiences? (I’m thinking about Net-a-porter and Matches in particular.) Or is there something else about the attitude of the brands that just resonates?
The way I see it, each of these labels do their share to contribute to an already popular style archetype. Matteau (leveled up J. Crew, with great flair pieces like this) and St. Agni (tight cross between Toteme and The Row at a competitive price point with standout summer knits) are minimalist with a point of view, but still laid back. Christopher Esber features tasteful party dresses and trend pieces that aren’t too contrived (less stiff Bottega? And on-the-nose Magda Butrym? This halter knit is perfect. )
You get your resort wear with a twinge of city applicability from Sir, and from Bassike, a toned down (by the measure of like 100) Rick Owens effect (the best drop crotches out there!).
Australian brand popularity
Price points for most are not overwhelmingly out of reach the way much of the Fashion (with a capital F) of today is, and that makes them a more viable option when you’re trying to dress into a decisive style archetype. So maybe it’s the perfect Goldilocks storm of trendy, but not too trendy, wearable but not boring and well-made but not don’t-even-dream-about-it expensive (in partic now, I should say, with so much on sale).
The last category I’ll mention is all the crochet that’s everywhere. Even on beanies! Maybe we really are returning to an era of boho, but everyone’s got a spin on the style from the echelons of Saint Laurent, Alaia and Magda Butrym (sexy!), to Loewe and Bode (conceptual), to Doen, Ganni and Sea NY (contemporary). A lesser-known brand I recently encountered, Mozhdeh Matin has a solid range too.
And to this point — that is, adding a new category to one’s closet, much of what’s out there as far as tops and dresses feature uneven hems, extraneous, cascading fabric in materials akin to silk georgette or chiffon. It is a trend precisely reflective of the early aughts and for the first time since I was a junior in high school, it actually feels right again.
Back then, you had the co-op floor at Barney’s from which to glean inspiration and then the second floor at Bloomingdale’s, where there was always a promotion or sale going on, to actually try to shop the trend. These days, it’s more like: this, this, this, this.
I’d wear the tops as interior layers in a suit, or over Bermuda shorts. Haven’t quite figured out what the dresses do for me yet. Maybe I’d style one under a fringe jacket or blazer or over a pair of jeans? Many of the renderings from this category exhibit a halter neck too, which I will tell you SO MUCH MORE ABOUT next week.
Until then, I’m signing off yours,