“I don’t think it’s the end of our businesses, I think it’s a matter of us tuning in, understanding and shifting,” Nili Lotan expressed via Zoom, sitting in her lower Manhattan design studio and showroom. A month ago, the designer didn’t think she and her team would manage to be where they are now, at the end of a successful market week (per the designer) with a full resort collection.
Months ago, the designer’s mood board was filled with the brand’s usual repertoire of embellished, Seventies rock-‘n’-roll glam, but when COVID-19 hit, a redesign for the season felt necessary. During the early months of lockdown, Lotan homed in on her brand’s sales, studying Shopify orders to understand what women are buying, giving the designer a refreshed perspective of what women need today. Lotan’s response: a simplistic, calming resort collection of luxurious, wardrobe essentials influenced by a new image-filled mood board of girls in the Seventies “listening to music, staying at home, relaxing and thinking rather than being on vacation or running around.”
The designer started with a serene palette of light blues (to a wider degree than the brand has ever offered), winter whites, gray and sand; colors that not only emulate calm, but also remind the designer of home and safety, having grown up along the Mediterranean. Lotan then focused on work-from-home wear for the collection’s base with elevated, casual lifestyle garments like simple cotton sweatshirts and sweatpants (said category was so popular during lockdown, the designer mentioned it was reordered). She balanced these offerings with dressier garb for entertaining at home. Crisp, cotton button-downs (especially great in light gray) with clean, denim jeans in lieu of the brand’s usual sensual, breezy blouses, while ribbed and cable-knit baby alpaca and cashmere sweaters offered a more polished take on cozy. A handful of ponchos — like a cream cable-knit version — and outerwear — ranging from soft fringed, suede jackets and slouchy, shearling coats to a classic, cream trench — topped off the looks with just enough flair.
Overall, Lotan’s “less is better” re-shifted approach made the collection a success.