Designer Marina Cortbawi has been building out the airy wardrobe of her Merlette customer with 100 percent cotton dresses, skirts and tops over the past few years. Her designs are voluminous but light and have a timeless sensibility. For her latest, Collection 6, Cortbawi focused on building out the wardrobe of her Merlette customer, while consciously designing new layers and silhouettes with a multiple-use, waste-friendly sensibility.
“We are thinking about less waste. I think people are buying less clothes, well they are, statistically…so thinking how versatile is a piece? Our coat is a dress, it’s a coat…it can be paired back to the pant or the dress…short dress, long dress. How many uses does each piece have is always a question we ask with design,” she described of the brand’s first outerwear option: a more-so weighty cotton twill taupe wrapped coatdress with slight balloon sleeves and removable belt — there were even high-waisted trousers to match. There were great pieces throughout: a burgundy balloon-sleeved blouse, a previous season’s tiered dress updated with chenille stripes and even an eyelet lace organza bridal gown.
Cortbawi added that since she’s using the same fabric every season — cotton lawn and poplin, which was improved to PEMA quality for Collection 6 — the brand is reducing wastage by maximizing their usage and using every bit of fabric, even if that means creating online exclusives with leftover bits. “I like the simplicity in that,” she mused. Feminine silhouettes cute enough to Instagram, but classic enough to withstand the 10-second scroll.