“Our business has transformed in the last year,” Cynthia Rowley explained over Zoom. Not only was online business noted to be doing well, but the brand also started selling with retail partners again (such as Matches, Farfetch, Saks and Neiman Marcus); an upcoming, disclosed collaboration is also on the horizon.
“There are rumors we got a new designer,” Rowley joked. The designer has, over the years, experimented with what works for her brand — showing on the calendar, showing off the calendar, working quickly with shorter lead times (the brand is working three months out at a time), etc. — but one of the key ideas she’s implementing is spontaneity. “To keep it fresh…we try to make it as exciting and as fun as possible.”
Jokes aside, Rowley’s resort collection (a season she also refers to as an “experiment before September”) was the result of keeping things light and fresh aesthetically, yet “serious” business-wise. Furthermore, the designer leaned into the joys of dressing up, which she plans to exaggerate for September.
The look: Pretty, playful fashions with fluid, voluminous shapes and bijoux details (even in sporty separates); a balance of “fun, princess details” with commercial appeal.
Quote of note: “People want a reason to dress up,” Rowley remarked over Zoom. “You would never have bought this last year [referring to last season’s boa’s and this season’s voluminous, bejeweled fashions]. Now, [people want] to have something that seems crazy and is a little princess-y.”
Key pieces: Billowing frocks aplenty — sheer, voluminous dresses, worn over sexier bedazzled bralettes, or floral-printed kaftans; little tube tops with full tulle skirts; sporty separates with ornamented sleeves; a signature wetsuit with juxtaposing, delicate wave print cascading across the bodice. Unseen from the look book, Rowley noted myriad swimwear with cutout details and jewel embellishments.
Takeaway: While Rowley’s resort fashions emulated playful femininity, she desired to capture the idea of “a moment in fashion” for the look book. Using movement (models on swings), she was able to do so while capturing the garments’ breezy appeal.
Regarding her September plans, Rowley responded, “Yes, big!” While the brand is still working through details, they plan to show in-person for New York Fashion Week.