Just before models started down the Monse runway on the water in Battery Park the news broke that Queen Elizabeth II had died. You could see the attendees’ shocked faces and overhear them telling their neighbors. I say this not because it’s relevant to the clothes that Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim presented, but because it would feel odd not to acknowledge the world historic event that happened during the collection’s presentation. For the assembled crowd the answer to the question “where were you when you heard Queen Elizabeth died?” will be, “at a Monse show.”
But back to the matter at hand. The price of admission to the show was a donation (minimum $50) to City Harvest, a food rescue organization that prevents food from New York City’s restaurants from going to waste. The food theme only continued into two of the garments in the collection: a banana sweater and one with a misshapen radish—proceeds from sales of the latter will go to City Harvest.
The main story of the collection was the sheer petticoats and corsetry. Garcia and Kim are also the creative directors of Oscar de la Renta, and have until now tried to keep Monse’s sporty insouciance separate from Oscar’s feminine opulence. This season, they blended the two. The natural way to do it was by embracing proportions that you’d see in an Oscar de la Renta collection, but descontructing them in a Monse-ian way. “The undergarments of Oscar became the garments of Monse,” Garcia said. An instant classic: an ankle-length sheer full skirt (with an elasticized waist) paired with short shorts, Teva-style sandals, and a trench coat with slits down the sleeves. “The trench coat is made to be worn with a petticoat. You can wear it without, but it’ll cover the big volume of the skirt,” Kim explained, a bonus for customers who shop both of their labels. These big, see-through skirts were a natural evolution, and a fittingly dramatic garment to present at the top of New York Fashion Week.