To be cool is to be fresh, free, and enviable by all means and at all costs. Since its inception, Monse has shown itself to be a curated collection of what cool is in the guise of fashion today.
There’s always a hardware/industrial juxtaposition to the relaxed undertones of the garments. It’s slightly unconventional while still feeling super cool. Paired with the playfulness of the lines and movement, I find myself intrigued by what’s next. It’s one of those ever-flowing cycles of excitement that I haven’t seemed to shake just yet.
Speaking to Emily Mercer of WWD, cofounders Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim highlighted their motive for their 2023 showing.
“We’re definitely embracing our athleisure, but we definitely have other Monse DNA-isms — the shirting, lacing, deconstructing — but embracing a little bit of that Oscar DNA we have as well.”
Addressing the Shock of the Queen’s Death
What’s particularly wild about this show is that before the models walked the runway, news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death had travelled amongst the onlookers. First-hand accounts highlighted the many shocked faces and hand-over-mouth-to-neighbor’s-ear motions.
We all knew where we were when the deaths of Hollywood greats like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Robin Williams were announced. Could you imagine the historical importance of a moment like this? The death of the most famous, longest-reigning monarch ever! Is it selfish to say that it added a slight touch of…monumentality to the event. I’m a terrible person. In short: Queen Elizabeth II died for Monse.
The Heart and Humanity of Fashion
Unrelated to the fashion industry, but totally on brand with fucking HUMANITY, Monse opened admission to the show for a minimum donation of $50 to City Harvest, which is aimed at preventing food from NYC’s many many many restaurants from being wasted. Sustainability on all fronts. A brand with a heart. Respectable.
A Successful Partnership: Garcia x Kim
What works for Creative Directors Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim is their seamless departure from their more sophisticated Oscar De La Renta. The great part is that you don’t even consider that this partnership is behind the Oscar brand.
They have the innate ability to transfer their skillset without copying and pasting their brand story. They can hold themselves apart from their Oscar work to the nth degree. In other words, they can multitask.
Garcia and Kim consistently outdo themselves when it comes to rewiring the image of cool each year, all while evading the very easy decision to just go out as culture vultures.
The 2023 Resort Show: An Analysis
The backdrop for the show was Battery Park in Manhattan, New York City. Monse has a knack for the humanity and realism of their runway shows. It’s beautiful because it’s not overpowering in its relationship to the models and the garments. It’s a melded partnership, with the greys of the gravel and pavement and the greens of the surrounding nature. It’s a walk in the park.
The opening piece sets the stage for deconstructed freedom. Hard, industrial garments are imagined in a flexible, liquified motion. Ice cold mercury on a hot summer day.
From there, we see more laced tops and selectively flowy skirts. Nothing too out-of-the-box while remaining fitting to the brand.
In terms of the landscape of fashion today, there’s definitely been a rise in look 12. The popularity of this silhouette today is unparalleled; it’s the staple for what sexy and effortless is. What’s better is that it works for all shapes and sizes. It’s on par with the minimalism that ready-to-wear promises in the new generation. The bucket hat was again a great embellishment to the look; it brought the eye back to Monse.
There was free-flowing androgyny and gender minimalism; the looks were clean and seamless to the touch. The pairing of knits with mesh; all just played to what going by your own rules is like. A little of the ODLR opulence flew into this, while still maintaining the casual energy that Monse has established.
Consensus: Monse Moves with Modernity
What’s unique about this particular show is that there was a conscious decision to bring some of their Oscar De La Renta expertise, precisely the richness and splendour, into Monse. It was quite the risk, considering that both brands’ target consumers are not completely on the same wavelength. There’s a stronger, more daring edge to the Monse buyer.
I’m glad Monse doesn’t stray too far away from their signature deconstructed blouses. They add breathable friction to the mix with looks that don’t veer off into a new millennium. It’s elevation but in the most editorial way.