It only takes a few slight styling changes to make an outfit more interesting, but like good advice and sunscreen, it’s hard to apply to ourselves. We stare at our clothes every single day; of course we’re bound to get sick of it all. Then we get itchy, revolt for change and do something drastic, like buy an expensive statement jacket we’ll never wear, or a cheap pair of dramatic shoes that kill our feet.
Designers seem to get the itch even worse: they are expected to show something surprising every season. They have to wow the crowd, innovate, provide fodder for critics, photographers, creatives and buyers. But this season it seems — and maybe it’s the sunshine tricking my brain into a false state of positivity — that it is far easier to refresh the items in our closets than we realize, and that a brand doesn’t have to start from scratch every September for a collection to be good. For SS18, both Creatures of the Wind and Tibi led by example.
Tibi’s Amy Smilovic is not afraid of what she’s good at, and she’s good at making unfussy, sharp clothes for the Type A-Minus woman who, when she does relax, prefers a slouched pant and a stylized knit to a legging and some old team building t-shirt. She is great at non-corporate suiting, simple, repeat-purchase tops, dresses that can be worn to a fashion party or a college friend’s wedding and understated cult accessories that are subdued enough you don’t realize just how ubiquitous they are. This season, she stuck to that. What she did change was her color palette — just a bit (light denim blues, Easter purple, 1980s aqua), and remade corsets, which she’s shown before, in see-through plastic. A few simple styling tricks took familiar silhouettes to another level, like how she added garter belts to suits, looped belts over halves of jackets and latched the back of one lavender bra outside the back of a sleeveless shirt. It wasn’t crazy or unusual, but in true Tibi fashion, it was cool. I might try a few of these out on myself next time I whine I have nothing to wear.
At Creatures of the Wind, it wasn’t so much about styling tricks as it was about styling bonuses. Shane Gabier and Chris Peters are so obviously comfortable in their own design skin that to do what they do best again is more than enough. As a designer, when you have the equation tweaked to your own liking, why wouldn’t you leave the structural knobs alone for a bit and spend your efforts playing around with a few new techniques? Their trenches, a Creatures staple, were in shapes we’ve seen before, this time colored like dip-dyed leather. The boots looked as though its wearers stepped in paint then pulled them out. They paired sweatshirts with collegiate skirts but cut the sleeves off (you can try this now), and right as it felt like the collection was uncharacteristically uptown-refined, out came a luxe coat covered in embroidered cannabis — just enough of a non-sequitur to make you feel at home.
Runway photos via Vogue Runway; collage by Emily Zirimis.