The morning of September 11, Jonathan Cohen showed his Spring/Summer 2016 collection at Industria Studios in Manhattan’s West Village. The collective mood, and the collection itself, was at once somber and ebullient. Cohen’s subdued color palette was reduced to earthy shades of land and sky, with hints of subtle hints of gold against many shades of black. His shapes and aesthetic gestures, however, were as big and bold as ever. Lightweight jackets came with floor-skimming superhero capes, and Infanta-style cocktail dress hems were full of spirit.
Cohen referenced Kintsugi—the Japanese art from of repairing broken pottery with metallic lacquer— both figuratively (“I wanted to find beauty in something that seemed old or used and reinterpret it,” he shared) and quite literally, with original photorealistic prints of broken glass, pottery, and dried flowers manipulated and transferred onto silk georgette and jacquard.
Intentionally jagged-cut openings doubled as jacket or skirt vents and were expertly pieced back together with metallic thread. Standouts include a deceptively simple petal printed fil coupé gown; a distressed “pressed suede” shorts suit; and a pair of slim, mixed-media cocktail dress (one in black pony hair, and another in the aforementioned suede and printed jacquard) with thigh-high slits, each edged in gold.
On the topic of precious materials, Cohen introduced a limited edition line of 18K gold hoop style earrings with jeweler Lizzie Mandler. There are two very special variations using diamonds and sapphires, each with exposed settings. Of the collaboration, Mandler shared, “Coincidentally, we were both researching pottery—well, I was taking a pottery making class. [laughs] Once we decided to collaborate, we picked up the sapphire to complement the deep blues seen in a lot of the broken Chinese pottery.” If this is Cohen’s vision of picking up the pieces for the sake of unity, we’ll gladly join his party.
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