Of all the challenges expressed by designers this season, having to change the approach to design because of the inability to hold a physical show didn’t seem like an obvious one until Dion Lee mentioned it on a recent call to discuss his spring collection.

“How you communicate a collection can change how you design as well,” he noted. “Not having a show and that process of putting together for the runway changed the approach of how I put it together.”

Over the years, Lee has crafted some truly eye-turning pieces blending sex appeal, experimentation, tailoring and craft. Of late his focus has been on incorporating structural pieces and leather into tailoring. Here he integrated the leather with other fabrics in a way that was more wearable, including a key knit dress with flashes of skin down the torso.

The collection was more relaxed in general than in recent seasons, focused on separates and a blend of earthy and urban inspired from New York’s lockdown classification as a tropical weather region. The concept was reflected most noticeably through structured leaf-shaped tops and camo looks set against workwear staples (many of which eschewed gender specificity and all undeniably cool), but also through the introduction of crochet and macramé techniques that provided a hand-finish and tactile element Lee was missing from working remotely. While an open ventilated trench and laced-together suit provided the cool factor, the pairings of macramé and leather provided a visually interesting juxtaposition and fresh approach to what’s considered edgy and sexy.

Read more from WWD:

Ones to Watch: K.ngsley

7 Latinx Designers to Watch This Season

Yeohlee RTW Spring 2021 review