Keep it Light with Dsquared2, Salomon, and Feng Chen Wang
Open your windows, let some air inside. Keep it light, airy, even revealing—we can all use some levity, even in our wardrobes. Think: mesh.
OAMC Pink & Blue Chem Tote
Missing the abandon of your middle school soccer field? Throw this over your shoulder—in a mesh knit reminiscent of a scrimmage pinny, the Chem Tote will never lead you offside.
Random Identities White Mesh Boxing Shorts
As much as we love a skirt moment, there’s something to be said for long, flowing shorts: “Yes, please.” Breathable mesh in delicate white makes for an elevated take on the seasonal staple.
Feng Chen Wang Blue Mesh Jacket
Studying in London means this designer has a degree in Spring-showers—feel the breeze.
Dsquared2 Off-White Mesh V-Neck Sweater
Take the synthetic technicality of mesh and make it raw—featured here in ecru cotton. For that 2020 vintage feel.
Salomon Blue XA-Comp ADV Sneakers
You won’t get far with wearability if you forget all about breathability, but these sneakers have got it covered with perforated details and mesh panelling. In a powder blue to match the sky, there’s no limit to how high you can climb in these.
Christophe Lemaire founded his line in 1992, later serving as creative director of Lacoste and head womenswear designer at Hermès. In partnership with co-designer Sarah-Linh Tran, Lemaire presents an understated, feminine interpretation of menswear-influenced tailoring, with fiercely modern modifications and an ineffably Parisian ease. Beautifully cut trench coats, sweater dresses, loose trousers, and cocooning knits are crafted from soft and rich fabrics, offering a quiet yet confident proposition of luxury for the urbane Lemaire woman.
Watch the men's Fall/Winter 2020 - 2021
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the late 80s, Ann Demeulemeester became known as part of the Antwerp Six, a group of radical new designers famous for their forward-thinking style. Demeulemeester released her eponymous label in 1996 with an avant-garde menswear collection, earning immediate recognition for her unconventional, deconstructivist designs. Her streamlined silhouettes and elongated cuts call to mind a sensual, emotive aesthetic that draws influence from Gothic, punk and Japanese culture. Now under the creative direction of Sebastien Meunier after Demeulemeester's departure in 2013, the brand continues to refine her darkly poetic vision.
British designer Paul Smith and German artist Christoph Niemann bring to life a cheeky capsule collection reflective of daily life in New York City. Niemann, whose work regularly appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and National Geographic, is a self-described ‘visual storyteller’ best known for his witty abstracted illustrations. Over the years Smith too has established himself as a distinctive voice in menswear recognized for his irreverent yet clever designs -- uniting high-end English tailoring with striking colors and offbeat patterns.
With this capsule collection, classic Paul Smith silhouettes become blank canvases for Niemann’s playful depictions. Casual basics are given an unexpected twist: bright-colored sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts, totes, and wallets are emblazoned with Niemann’s quirky black and white graphics. Intended as light-hearted and fun, this collaborative project is a perceptive and astute meditation on the hilarious yet thought-provoking banalities of everyday life.
Trend Alert! Talking on the Phone
In 2014, paparazzi caught Rihanna on her way out of Da Silvano after dinner one evening—it wasn’t her Dimepiece LA sweatpants, or her orange boucle cropped jacket that caught attention, but another statement piece: her T-Mobile flip phone. Months later, Anna Wintour was seen T9ing courtside at the US Open. After a trip to Tokyo, Kim Kardashian sported a hot pink Ferrari-branded flip phone. The fashion world laid its claim on personal technology long ago, and now brings back the simplicity of aughts-era tech with the same ease it does low-rise jeans and baby tees. In 2020, the rest of the world is catching up—in the form of the newly re-released Motorola Razr, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip.
The Motorola Razr may have been the first mobile phone to define itself as a fashion statement; it was, in its original form, a cult classic: Paris Hilton famously sported hers like a Birkin bag at the 2004 Academy Awards. It was the gift basket item that claimed the attention of every A-lister in Hollywood. It showed up courtside at Wimbledon, in the hands of the recently retired Maria Sharapova. Both David and Victoria Beckham had one, and soon, so did everyone else—Mischa Barton, your high school best friend. Had the designer phone eclipsed the designer handbag? Motorola levied the Razr’s fashion status by working directly with designers to remix the colorful clamshell design.
A collaboration with Kimora Lee Simmons resulted in the Baby Phat i833, a baby pink version that was quilted and encrusted with 0.4-carat diamonds. “The new, limited edition Baby Phat i833 phone by Motorola is actually like a piece of jewelry,” Simmons said at the time.
That slim, sleek flip-phone’s fashion adjacency catalysed years of collaborations between mobile phone makers and designers. There was the limited edition partnership with Dolce & Gabbana, to make the gold-plated V3i; in 2005, Donatella Versace lent her name to the all-gold Nokia 7270—it came with a Swarovski crystal hand strap. In 2007, Prada designed a limited edition LG phone, the first mobile with a full-size touchscreen display.
It was slated to revolutionize phone design, to become the hottest release of the year. (It was not. A few weeks later, Apple debuted the iPhone.) The following year, Samsung tapped Armani to design its take on a luxury touchscreen. The pinnacle was unquestionably the Diorphone, a clamshell design by Christian Dior, featuring crocodile skin and 640 Swarovski crystals. It retailed for $26,000.
The first era of designer phones coincided with a period of great optimism around personal technology. Texting was nascent, and phones hadn’t yet become heavy with the burdens of email, work chat, Instagram. Velour track suits were in and pocketable cell phones were still something of a novelty. The Razr, with its wafer-thin profile and electroluminescent keypad, was the most novel of all. Its genius was not owed solely to technology, but also to trend: Motorola created a product that celebrities coveted, but that anyone could buy. To compare that time to the year 2020, a period defined by its tech-related anxiety, is nearly impossible.
At best, our phones are boring, the designs iterative and dull. At worst, they are symbols of stress, instability, despair. A cell phone is now both the year’s must-have item, and an item you must have—a necessary credential for modern life.
It is bold, then, that Motorola has chosen this moment to reintroduce the Razr as a fully functional smartphone. It is not a practical phone, but one that oozes status, both for being on the cutting edge (foldable screens!) and for its $1,500 price tag. This is not the phone to buy because of what it does, but rather, what it says. The retro design does for personal technology what normcore did for fashion: it takes the symbol of being out of touch and makes it, against all odds, the most in vogue.
With its nostalgic branding, Motorola has reinvigorated excitement around technology-as-accessory—what a quaint, fun idea! At the least, the marketing is working: Motorola reportedly had to push back its release date due to the demand. People want the reinvented Razr even if the hinge makes an unsettling creak and the mechanics suggest it will not survive limitless opening and shutting. The Razr is not a utilitarian device! It is more like an uncomfortable pair of shoes: flawed, but fashionable.
Other manufacturers are similarly returning to their early-aughts roots, remaking their devices in the image of fashion. To promote the $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung partnered with Ashley Williams, who sent it down her SS20 runway in a custom-sized miniature handbag; and Thom Browne, who created a limited-edition version of the phone, along with matching earbuds and watch-strap. Priced at $2,500 each, his phone has sold out twice over.
These collaborations say the same thing as the designer phone of 2004, but the message has taken on a new undertone. It’s not just that devices can be made more exclusive, and more expensive, with the help of a fashion house. Personal technology has become an extension of fashion: a luxury product rather than a basic necessity; a product you covet, rather than one you need.
Flip phones are, of course, reminiscent of this simpler time, when puka shell necklaces and the president were still well-liked, when a conversation had a definitive end. Thom Browne’s version of the Galaxy Z Flip harkens to an even earlier time, before technology played such a big role in our lives. The screen display’s Venetian blinds, and its series of custom sounds, like a rotary phone ringtone and a typewriter noise for the keyboard, make it seem positively mid-century. The thing the designer likes best about the phone? You can close it. Where the modern cell phone, with its cinema-sized screen, is like a portal into distraction, the power move of the moment is to show that you are not always on, that you have escaped the deluge of notifications—that you have a phone you can shut.
The flip-phone resurgence represents a potent nostalgia for a time when our relationship to technology was active, intentional. When people stood on corners with their elbows cocked, pacing, the device held to their head, instead of walking while scrolling, talking to no-one like babbling zombies, always half-preoccupied. This time around, our fascination with the fashion flip phone isn’t novelty, it’s the desire to see a phone for what it is: an accessory, not an appendage.
Arielle Pardes is a Senior Writer for WIRED in San Francisco. Her work focuses on our evolving relationship to technology.
Spring is suggesting that it might be paying us a visit anytime now, and in the spirit of all things refined, we’ve rounded up the key ingredients. Echoes of warmer materials like wool pair with weather-ready nylon poplin, while a splash of color mixes things up without being too extravagant. If it’s seasonal sophistication you’re after, read on.
Kwaidan Editions Black Kitten Heel Mules
Less is more when it comes to elevation, and the kitten heel is proof. Attaining new heights doesn’t always mean you have to go high—sometimes keeping up the pace is the epitome of cutting-edge.
Bottega Veneta Blue Mini The Pouch Clutch
A tasteful pop of color can stir up some fun in the humdrum of basics. Bottega’s pouch in ice is twice as nice worn with your favorite neutral palette.
Maison Margiela Off White Recycled Nylon Trench Coat
Rethinking the trench coat starts with calling to mind some ecru-ish white. Nylon poplin offers a future-forward spin on Spring’s most iconic overcoat.
Jil Sander Silver Double Hoop Earrings
A hoop on the lobe is worth two in suspension—don’t get it? Take a peek at these Jil Sander Double Hoops. Uncomplicated in their sleek simplicity, doubling the hoops means subdued style x infinity.
Joseph Beige Beth Cardigan
If you stand in a field at sunset, the grass becomes a spectrum of color—from pearly pink to dusky blues, to burning fiery orange. A minimal, tasteful ode to luminosity, the Joseph cardigan in “straw.”
Ann Demeulemeester Off White Silk and Wool
Creased Trousers Natural materials are a treasure, and inherently luxe. Silk and wool trousers offer an at once breathable and insulated take on Spring style. If Annie Hall did one thing right, it was trousers like these.
An extension of her Central Saint Martens graduate collection, ‘Sex Wax’, Louisa Ballou debuted her eponymous beach and swimwear label in 2019. Born in South Carolina, the young designer finds inspiration in her coastal upbringing, utilising her line to explore the rich subculture of surfing. The sensuality of water and its relationship to the body finds expression in Ballou’s dynamic collection, with her colourful one-of-a-kind prints making reference to the tropical environment in which she grew up.
Known for her vibrant prints and innovative silhouettes, Ballou creates bold, eye-catching statement pieces: nylon one-piece swimsuits and bikinis feature unexpected cut-out detailing, asymmetric constructions, and O-ring hardware embellishments while alluring mesh bodycon dresses offer an alternative to the more beachwear-inspired pieces in the collection. With a focus on quality and fit, Ballou’s line of versatile elevated swimwear staples strikes the perfect balance between functionality and seductive appeal. Offering an alternative line of contemporary beachwear, Ballou adds an exciting new voice to the world of luxury swimwear design.
Having become an increasingly central part of designer collections, the versatility of women’s activewear is both aesthetic and practical. Advanced by the inherent sleekness of technical fabrics, the collision between performance-based clothing and elevated design is surprisingly effortless. The on-the-move ease of the sports bra has propelled its integration into all facets of life, similar to the way in which sport pants, dresses, and leggings have transcended the framework of athletic attire to become ubiquitous womenswear fixtures, uniting prim elegance with performance-centred edge.
Across this latest influx of women’s designer activewear, heritage sportswear staples and expressive designer interpretations unite technically-engineered textiles with constructional elegance, bolstering upgraded sportswear’s status as an increasingly prevalent artery of modern women’s apparel.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR RSS FEED