Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh have found a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic: the creative duo behind the Botter label finally had the time to fulfill their dream of starting a coral farm.

With the help of a local diving club, they set up the structure long-distance in Curaçao, where Botter’s family is originally from. Herrebrugh was raised in the Dominican Republic, and the Dutch pair’s gender-fluid clothing is rooted in Caribbean culture. Their fall collection, titled “Romancing the Coral Reef,” was their most explicit love letter yet to island life.

After a lo-fi collection last season, at the height of the lockdown measures, the pair were operating at full throttle again, with clothes that combined clever fabric research with their signature razor-sharp tailoring in a palette of ocean colors and warm coral hues, punctuated with Day-Glo brights.

A case in point: an inky parka featured slits at the shoulder inspired by diving suits, that allow you to peel back the sleeves. It was part of a selection of garments realized in a chic taffeta-like material made from recycled ocean plastic, with a portion of sales funding the coral nursery in Curaçao.

A spongy turquoise knit top, meanwhile, was inspired by the brand’s signature shoe, which splices oversize men’s loafers with Nike’s Vapormax. The laced necklines were borrowed from the sneaker’s upper, with a sideways glance at Dutch historical costumes.

Upcycling took an esoteric turn this season: sun-bleached windbreakers were made with French umbrella maker Piganiol, using remnants of its colorful outdoor installations in shopping districts, while jewelry came in the form of intricate airbrushed fishing lures by Japanese specialist Dowluck.

Botter said he was inspired by the way people on Curaçao have reacted to the current economic downturn by wearing their flashiest outfits. “Pride is the only thing that they have still have, and nobody can take that away, so I think it’s a beautiful way of showing things off,” he said.

The aquatic theme extended to the video shoot, which took place in a studio as dark as the bottom of the sea. It didn’t do full justice to the clothes, which cried out to be seen in sunlight when better times come again.

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