Anna October RTW Spring 2023 – WWD

For her Paris debut, Anna October wanted to take everyone to the wild piece of land she calls her “pleasure garden” in her spring collection.

Set in the old studio of Eiffel Tower designer Gustave Eiffel, the set looked set for a picnic with a vintage lace and canvas tent, a swing hanging from a beam, and lots of fresh flowers.

But this is no romantic fantasy, and today’s women are not delicate creatures. October has a 12-year career crafting indulgent and spirited garments designed to help women look and feel good and be empowered by trampling on stereotypes about sexuality.

And making these pieces feel as good as they look leaves no license to be simple or room to take design shortcuts.

Exhibit A: a pair of pretty trompe l’oeil pants that looked like they were fastened with thin bra straps and just slid down, exposing the waistband of silky unspeakable.

Cue a 30-strong collection of seductive floor-length dresses inspired by lingerie, almost-subtle separates and the odd dramatic cape, cut from luxe materials sourced from stock. Handicrafts, particularly crocheted elements, made by a group the designer jokingly dubbed the “Babushka Mafia” – a cooperative of older women who keep textile traditions alive and work for major European fashion houses – gave these pieces a poignant nostalgic air.

It was absolutely perfect, and looking at her spring, you’d never guess that there was a war raging between her garden and this Paris presentation back home. Further proof that, like the women she designs for, October is more steel magnolia than wallflower. Anna October RTW Spring 2023 – WWD

Sarah Y. Kim

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