Emily Bode likes telling stories.
When the designer first started showing her Bode brand at New York Fashion Week: Men’s in 2018, she set the tone by creating installations that spoke of her New England roots and her ability to repurpose heirloom textiles to create one-of-a-kind men’s wear pieces.
While her aesthetic has since been copied, that hasn’t caused her to shift gears. Instead, she’s continued to hone her skills, creating one-offs from antique fabrics for customers at her retail store in New York City and online, while also producing a commercial collection from reproduction textiles for her wholesale customers that follows the same path.
Bode had started to show in Paris before the pandemic, but it forced her to return to New York for her fall collection, taking over a space on Broome Street to replicate her Uncle Bill’s bedroom in 1969. That year, 20-year-old Bill Bode took a year off from school to race cars on a frozen Lake Champlain, play Monopoly, visit Woodstock and immerse himself in the pop culture of the time.
An assortment of his niece’s newly created shirts, jackets, pants and suits was strewn around the floor, the unmade bed and desk throughout the installation. The offering had a late ’60s/early ’70s vibe that Bode used to update her signature bowling shirts with Western-themed Roy Rogers prints and India-inspired references. She also expanded her assortment of knitwear, offering up embroidered animal prints and other “boyish” references on sweaters and introduced a mohair cardigan. Bode also stuck to her tried-and-true, using quilts to create coats, patchwork jackets and even a jacket and matching pant ensemble.
Perhaps the most striking part of the collection was her use of a newly acquired stash of antique buttons from 1908 to 1925 to embellish a suit as well as the cuffs, collar and graphics of a button-down shirt.
“My goal is to engage people with these crafts,” she explained, “and preserve the history of the textiles and materials.”
So what’s next for the designer? She said her goal is to continue to expand her retail footprint, with Los Angeles and London tops on her list.