"It wasn’t so much about a place or person. It was more about spring," Madewell's head of design Somsack Sikhounmuong explained at the brand's spring/summer 2015 presentation Tuesday. "Just the changing of seasons and the optimism that comes with it. It's more of an evolution rather than a revolution -- just subtle changes -- just pushing our girl forward a little bit."
The upcoming collection is about little tweaks and updates to the good old classics and wardrobe favorites, starting with lots of denim -- but with a renewed-retro twist, like a peplum sleeveless chambray blouse and '70s style flares. The denim category also features two collaborations: the first with Portland-based Kiriko on patchwork-detailed denim jackets and boyfriend jeans, and the second with Texan brand JM Drygoods for beautifully embroidered chambray shirts.
To update military-inspired wardrobe basics, Madewell worked with denim designer George McCracken to re-work vintage army greens, like a combat jacket re-fashioned into a sleek flight suit. "I love that jacket," Sikhounmuong said, pointing to a swingy parka styled over a plaid shirt and faded boyfriend jeans. "You always find army jackets and they’re always the wrong size or too big, so we made it small and cropped."
The presentation also featured a fully Francophile-d out corner dedicated to the culty Sézane collaboration -- including that La Superbe sweatshirt. (Taylor acoustic guitar, check; Olivier Zahm book, also check.) So how does Sikhounmuong see Parisian chic merging with Americana sensibility? "Both cultures share a love for effortless, just easy [style]," he said. "Sometimes I think the Americans take the comfort part a little to the extreme. So the great thing about the French girls is it’s still dressy -- you still look considered -- and you’re never messy, but you’re still very comfortable and effortless and it’s not trying too hard."
But back to next spring, which also features breezy prints like gingham, stripes, palm trees and batik polka dots; as well as texture play with white lace, burnt-out laser-cut mesh tops and beachy summer knits. Sikhounmuong also pointed to the wear-everyday selection of shoes -- tie dye ombre high tops, stacked heel slides and pointy toe mules -- and low-key, but totally chic new bags, like a featherweight camel tote with adjustable handles. "It’s just really easy," he said.
And then there's that ultra-light brown leather backpack that Emma Stone carries around everywhere. Sikhounmuong was basically like, why mess with a good thing? But they did make a teeny tweak by extending the straps in the front for ease of use. So will they send the actress the updated version?
"We should send her another one," he laughed. "A few."