Home Coming Looking to his family heritage and his new Los Angeles life, Jonathan Simkhai still calls NYFW home
The Fall 2020 Jonathan Simkhai collection felt close to home for the designer who drew upon both his current home in Los Angeles and his family ancestral home of Iran for his inspiration. For the former, he looked specifically at the work of photographer Julius Shulman’s images of the city of Angel’s modernist architecture which directed his own study of simple and geometric construction as it applied to wardrobe staples. To that end, the trench was exhibit A.
Opening up the show was a round-up of this classic reimagined with enough thoughtful examination and creativity to convince even the biggest devotee of the closet must-have trench to add a few more. From the first look out that featured black contrast insets and a leopard print on a more traditional trench to a black jumpsuit with trench upper, or a simple chic tone on tone trench-inspired pantsuit. Other masculine dress standards were refreshed with a riff on a plaid suit interspersed with a pleated black slip dress or houndstooth.
But Simkhai has a softer side and displayed his family’s Iranian roots in another aspect of the collection that was exotic, spicy and majorly sensual. This particular inspiration came from finding old family photographs, pre-1979 Shah-overthrow when his relatives were dressing quite modern. Fringe scarfs took on new life as trims on a sweater dress skirt or swinging in 2-foot plus fringe on a sexy halter wrap dress that employed colors like ‘saffron ice cream’ and a paisley scarf print. Rich luxe knits in a long gown or a bra and cardigan harken to the easy, and practical approach to living and dressing in his new adopted hometown of LA. He grounded the looks in a down to earth lug sole boot, marking the designer’s first time to launch footwear.
Dressed in his own version of a trench-inspired jumpsuit, Simkhai took his final bow with exuberance and his studio team. Post-show Simkhai told The Impression, “I thought, ‘what am I doing going out by myself?’ My team deals with me and the collection every day, even when I change my mind. It’s such a passion project and labor of love and they are always there for me.” This comes as no surprise as Simkhai is just as irresistible as his clothes.
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