What a stunner at Laurence & Chico this past week. You know it is going to be a beautiful show the moment the first model danced and twirled down the runway in unbridled joy, and also by the sighting of Rico Nasty and J. “Miss J” Alexander from ANTM (America’s Next Top Model) at the very front row— decked out in extravagant pearls, ribbons, and feathers from the collection.
And what an extravaganza it was! The co-designers Laurence Li and Chico Wang loosened up significantly from last season, letting all their creative impulses run wild in this collection. Everything was doubled, tripled, quadrupled up: it was not enough to do just denim-on-denim, so Li and Wang went beyond, with denim heels, denim tote, and the biggest dome-like denim bucket hat you’ve ever seen, all done in intricate lattice work laced with countless pearls. It was the same treatment for every other element. Logo prints came in glossy silks and then broken apart by wild patches of red, cartoonized leopard prints. Ruffles in primary reds exploded in a jumbo-sized modern fantasy of ballerina tutus.
However, the reason for this collection’s success was more than just an explosion of elements. Everything binds together in such a harmonious way because of the rigueur in their extravagance. Pearls, denim, tweeds— everything was grounded down by very simple and functional silhouettes like tweed skirt suits and jumpsuits. The excellent tailoring was just the cherry-on-top.
This combination between constraint and spectacle showed an acute awareness and understanding of changing global fashion trends on the part of the design duo. On the one hand, there is a growing focus on traditional concerns like tailoring and functionality in the fashion world, on the other hand, the demand for individuality, volume, and outré fashion styles is higher than ever. And Li and Wang just ticked all of those boxes. No wonder Lady Gaga, Cardi B and Lizzo have all been sporting their designs recently.