For pre-fall, designer Marina Cortbawi is debuting her largest Merlette collection to date. Over time, she’s evolved what was once a smaller selection of flounced cotton dresses into a rounded-out selection of ready-to-wear, which now includes knitwear and tailored wool offerings. 

The works of Lee Krasner, whose whose exhibition Cortbawi had seen while traveling to London, influenced a palette of rouge red, ultramarine blue and lavender grounded by black, white, damson purple and sand. Her new knits came in three weights: a long Italian merino bouclé cardigan, a selection of washable, eco-friendly cotton options and a medium weight alpaca blended wool selection that included a plush turtleneck, crewneck with sleeve details that referenced the brand’s continued eyelet patterns and a tiered cardigan (each offered in various colorways). All three groupings were exquisite, especially when layered over her English-influenced houndstooth suiting (a must-have pleated short and cropped blazer). The designer’s English references even extended into her look-book shoot and short film for the collection.

An ankle-length, lavender silk cotton gown with ruched details felt new, and proved standout, for the season while easy-meets-elegant updates to her flowing offerings melded elegance and ease. For instance, silk organza and cotton poplin dresses with gingham embroidery or frocks with new cubic, geometric and wave-smocked details. Cortbawi’s craftsmanship and dedication to consistency made the collection a success once again.

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