Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim have spent most of the pandemic in New York. As the co–creative directors of two extremely NYC labels, Monse and Oscar de la Renta, skipping town to work remotely wasn’t exactly an option. But after a year of lockdowns, they’re feeling more hopeful about their city than ever. You can glimpse their New York pride—and wear it—in the standout print of their new pre-fall collection. Against white silk, an illustrated scrapbook of New York iconography features yellow cabs, bicycles, subway signs, and the Empire State Building. With new TV shows like Gossip Girl and And Just Like That… (the Sex and the City reboot) filming this spring, it’s easy to see the asymmetrical, NYC-printed slip ending up on a cast member.
The illustrations also appeared on a skirt and spliced button-down and became patches on the collection’s more utilitarian pieces, like a khaki twill romper. Garcia and Kim haven’t ordered a single roll of fabric since the pandemic began; instead, they’re working their way through their stock of denim, twill, silk, wool, and poplin. Being resourceful and concise in 2020 has paid off; while wholesale remains in flux, the duo reported a big spike in direct sales on their e-commerce site.
The rompers, cargo jackets, and miniskirts with exaggerated pockets here are familiar Monse-isms; ditto the knit sets in nautical stripes and a camel trench spliced with plaid. (It’s fair to expect a bit more experimentation in their return to the runway in September.) Cutout sports bras with “Monse” stamped across the crisscrossing elastic bands were an athleisure-y surprise, but Garcia and Kim believe there’s about to be a post-pandemic dress-up moment too. Their slip dresses and evening gowns looked uncomplicated and sultry. Women angling for a smooth transition to going-out clothes might style them with trousers and boots, as they’re shown in the look book, or they’ll pick up one of the new sweaterdresses. A rust-and-emerald version in a techy, sculpting merino yarn seemed prim at first but turned to reveal a deep scooped-out back.