“I thrive on juxtapositions and dichotomies,” Los Angeles designer Jonathan Simkhai said just before his New York Fashion Week runway show. “The idea of something hard and something soft; something artful and sexy, masculine and feminine. How do I have this intersection, this clash? Because no one wants to be overtly one way or the other, it has to have a balance. That’s how I thought about this collection.”
For spring, the designer continued fall’s message of handcraft through ample guipure lace and crochet, fringed and hand knits (Simkhai noted his grandfather had a lace mill in Iran in the ‘70s, so artisanal crafts are continually inspiring him) and mixed them with (mostly) soft silhouettes with futurist-inspired curved, circular seams, asymmetric cuts and sculptural metal jewelry hardware in a serene palette of soft pastels and calming neutrals.
The look: “Modern Bohemia” 2.0.
Quote of note: “I started looking at, throughout history when there were times of change, of tragedy — the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example — all the creativity and futurism that came after these times. I looked at how it fueled design overall. Not just in fashion but architecture, jewelry, sculpture and found a lot of these curvy, circular lines. I think there’s something very symbolic of that full circle, the curve — the idea to keep moving. So you’ll see in the collection we did a lot of custom-designed sculptural jewelry pieces and circular drapes.”
Key pieces: Signature slips with circular hems, circular cutouts and asymmetric tank traps (as the show-closing baby yellow number); an all-white eyelet set, which had a relaxed yet polished feel; soft, romantic ruched dresses, and ample fringed options (from a guipure lace vest atop buttery leather trousers, or on the hems of crocheted skirts and dresses).
The biggest news of the season came through accessories. Following seasons of collaborating with Manolo Blahnik for their runway shoes, the brand has officially launched footwear for spring. The striking mules, fold-over boots and variety of sandals will be sold direct-to-consumer, as well as with select retail partners.
The takeaway: Simkhai found his sweet spot for spring, offering just the right amount of sensual sophistication and thoughtful artsiness from start to finish.