"After these crazy 18 months, we started thinking about how we can escape mentally, emotionally, physically," Laura Kim, one half of the creative duo behind Monse, says, of the inspiration behind the brand's Resort 2022 collection, which debuted at a Manhattan skate park during New York Fashion Week. (Monse has moved away from the traditional fashion calendar, so spring will come in a few months' time.) "My best escape is the gym: working out, hiking, skateboarding," she continues. "That's why we're showing in a skate park."
As they planned out what the line would look like, the team talked about spending time outdoors and other ways people get out of their heads, like recreational drugs — specifically, mushrooms and weed. (The latter was legalized in New York state this summer.) "It was about exploring, literally and figuratively," Fernando García, Kim's creative counterpart at both Monse and Oscar de la Renta, says.
In this collection you'll find pieces that feel functional (sports bras, cargo pants, oversized hooded knits with open backs) but are elevated aesthetically, with that Monse sensibility — through tailoring, slouched shoulders, a bold color palette and a calculated level of deconstruction. Some of them, like a series of peacoats featuring football-like lacing down the front, build on themes explored in past seasons, Garcia notes. The brand's athletic offerings have been selling well through the pandemic, so there's lots of that throughout, too.
"It feels very harness-y, very exploratory, very you-have-to-wear-boots [with it]," Garcia says of the offering.
The stand-out, though, is a print Monse developed that marries all the different sources of inspiration the designers had top of mind while working on this collection, with illustrations of mushrooms and rock climbers.
"I personally love doing prints — that's why I love working at Oscar. We make, like, 10 prints a season," Kim says. "I do like them to be very personal." (Beyond the tongue-in-cheek reference, "mushrooms are so cute, more than anything.")
"They always tell a story specific to the brand," Garcia adds of Monse's approach to prints, noting that the ones that customers respond to the most "are something that can be practical for every occasion. A 'no-print print' sounds derogatory, but what it means is that you can wear it multiple times without people remembering that you wore the exact same dress yesterday."
See the full Monse Resort 2022 collection in the gallery below.