NOT THAT DELICATE: Tide is on a mission to make women’s lives easier. The laundry detergent manufactured by Procter & Gamble has embarked on a series of fashion partnerships — starting with Suno and Michael Costello — collaborating with designers to help them incorporate hand- and machine-washable clothing into their collections.
Though designer fashion doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with practicality, Tide is hoping to bring the notion of “washables” to the forefront. “We know that people want clothes that are easy to wear and easy to care for, but we know also that they’re afraid of the potential damage to their favorite garments that can come from washing machines,” said Amy Krehbiel, Tide’s brand manager. “Some people default to the dry cleaners or avoid wearing their favorite garments. But with the right care, these garments can be easily cared for at home.”
Tide worked with Costello and Suno’s designers, Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis, to experiment with fabrics and washing techniques. For Suno, the process was seamless. “We’ve always been focused on dressing women in a put-together but not-too-dressed-up sort of way. I think [the collaboration] made perfect sense,” said Beatty. The duo rendered two looks in their pre-fall 2016 collection in a hand-washable silk crepe de chine, retailing for $595 and $695.
Los Angeles-based Costello, who received a phone call from Tide about the collaboration, had a slightly more ambitious plan. “I didn’t want to do something that was going to be a simple, basic dress, something you can get anywhere,” Costello said. “I wanted to go all out with it and do something that was going to be over-the-top, that you’d never in your wildest dreams think you could throw in a washing machine.” He worked with Tide to test different fabrications and dry them flat to assess changes in color or shape until he got it right. The result: the lace-and-sequin gown worn by Laverne Cox at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
“It was a little challenging because we work with so many beaded and crystal fabrics and couture hand-sewing techniques….But we were really surprised with the outcome,” Costello said. “When we put it in the dryer, it came out looking really good.” Other celebrities wearing washable looks by Costello at the awards ceremony included Ciara, Meghan Trainor and Idina Menzel.
At the recent CFDA Awards in New York, designer Juan Carlos Obando also designed a “pre-washed with Tide” crepe de chine dress for actress Luisa Espinosa. Tide hopes to continue racking up more designer partnerships, but Krehbiel stayed mum on who’ll be up next. “We’re committed to always pushing this message,” she said.