When Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim launched Monse in 2015, they wanted to make it a point that their new line was not Oscar de la Renta, where the duo had previously worked — and are now the co-creative directors of. But on Thursday afternoon at the outdoor Battery Bosque park in downtown New York City, the duo melded their design worlds together into a collection that was young, sexy and fun.
“I think we’re at a point where we wanted to let this collection be ourselves. Corsetry and petticoats are something we know really well and we love; we grew up with it,” Kim said prior to the runway show, which showed a majority of spring 2023 looks, with a few resort 2023 styles peppered in.
“For our return to the runway, it’s about embracing where we came from and blending it in with our Monse DNA. We have the undergarments and underdressing combined, in one collection,” Garcia chimed in. “We’re definitely embracing our athleisure but we definitely have other Monse DNA-isms — the shirting, lacing, deconstructing — but embracing a little bit of that Oscar DNA we have as well.”
The collection initially started by recalling a photograph Kim held onto from the duo’s back-to-back Monse and Oscar de la Renta fall 2017 runway show.
“There was an image Laura had of our very first Oscar collection rehearsal, where we did the two shows in one. When the models did rehearsals, they were only wearing petticoats with their hoodies. I remember being in that rehearsal and Laura was just like, ‘Maybe that’s what we should have done?’ Cut to seven years later, here we are,” Garcia said.
Moments later on the runway: black crinoline skirts with booty shorts, dubbed “athleisure petticoats.” They came long and short, with and without camo cargo pockets and were styled with cropped hoodies, harness and lace-up ultra-crop tops, a trenchcoat, striped wrap shirt and more. The designers added to the idea with sheer tulle layers, seen on printed shirtdresses and on the back and sleeves of a pinstripe blazer, which nicely contrasted the collection’s strong assortment of deconstructed, utilitarian garb — i.e., cropped, pocket-covered denim jackets, reworked shirting, tailoring and dresses with corset-inspired and harness lacing details, camouflage layers (an ode to the Battery Bosque’s tree bark) and cutout, youthful knitwear.
Overall, a strong collection filled with plenty of modern variety and craftsmanship from Garcia and Kim.
For the show, the designers partnered with City Harvest to give back to the community by donating not only the show’s ticket proceeds to the foundation, but also proceeds (excluding sales tax) from the collection’s “Ugly Turnip” novelty jumper from Thursday until Sept. 22 on the CFDA’s Shop Runway360 platform in partnership with American Express Platinum.