Rosie Assoulin is as vibrant and alive as her clothes. The set for the pre-fall and fall lookbooks (the company combines pre-fall and regular seasons into two collections each year) is RPM Raceway in New Jersey. Assoulin eagerly discusses the new clothes on the models, the go-karts in the hangar-like space and the flashing lights at the races. Well, she’s like a kid in a playground.
Childhood does inspire clothing in two ways. The first is old Delia’s catalog, which is a relic of the 90 cool boy. Assoulin remembers stealing her sister’s copy and becoming obsessed with the clothes, even though she never bought any of them. The teenage yearning for the woman you want to be but haven’t quite become is the emotional pull of the series. The second touchstone was Assoulin’s grandparents, and the walks she would walk with them along Brooklyn’s Ocean Drive (which, she laughs, they would call “Brooklyn’s Champs Elysees”). Her grandparents wore tracksuits that swished, which Assoulin recreated with a khaki zip-up coat from the fall collection. It’s a tough line to walk: Make clothes that are sophisticated enough for buyers who can spend a few hundred dollars on one, but still match your childhood wishes.
Mannequins, crane machines and stuffed animals on the runway. The striped pattern appears throughout the collection—miniskirts and matching jackets, satin cargo shorts, a translucent blue and black gown—and it reads like a remix of graphic designs from ‘ body and off-road motorcycles. The most immediate take on the Delia catalog was a two-piece blue halter and maxi skirt inspired by a one-piece swimsuit Assoulin vividly remembered seeing. Assoulin shines with her evening gowns and somehow makes swimsuits suitable for formal weddings (maybe ones at the beach).
For that matter, the strongest pieces in the collection are the most formal (although the tube socks and caramel coat with apple green stripes are adorned with PVC-free sequins Definitely eye-catching). During the girl group’s heyday, an elegant white gown with emerald green and navy trim would have been perfect red carpet material for Sporty Spice. But it was the black tuxedo maxi dress paired with a champagne tux and cropped waistcoat cape that stood out: pure elegance and a wink. This is the woman of your teenage dreams!