SUNO AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR NEW YORK
Madness is one of the great literary themes, and indeed a thread running in various ways through all the arts. Fashion is an outlier: Madness hasn’t had much purchase here, perhaps because it’s a psychological state difficult to articulate through clothes with any discipline or control. And so Suno duo Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis must be congratulated on their ambition this season, not only for addressing themselves to this interesting theme, but also for attacking it with real rigor, and from unexpected angles.
Appropriately enough, the starting point for this collection was Bertha Mason, the “madwoman in the attic” in Jane Eyre and in Jean Rhys’ sultry Jamaica-set prequel, Wide Sargasso Sea. With those precepts in mind, Beatty and Osterweis moved between tropical floridity and haute bourgeoise formality, a dialogue expressed most vividly in the collection’s varied florals, but also communicated via the trade between lean, constricted shapes and those soft and fluid. A few of the looks, such as a black printed silk dress with racy sheer panels, merged both tones in a striking way: The sheer lace seemed to have broken through the dress’s decorous facade. Elsewhere, a prim shirtdress with an embroidered floral effusion gave a similar effect.
The theme seemed to have pushed Beatty and Osterweis to try out some new silhouettes. This was Suno’s most form-fitting collection, but also the one featuring its easiest shapes. On one hand, there was a very ribbed knit turtleneck dress, with a kind of lacquered tricolor stripe; on the other hand, there was a long, loose T-shirt dress in a sheer, iridescent jacquard with naive, Marimekko-ish flowers woven in. Both numbered among the collection’s standouts. Less showy
pieces were equally strong, too: The low-slung trousers were a case study in fashion sanity. (Beatty advised, after the show, that customers should buy a size up to mimic the runway fit.) Outerwear was a highlight as well, notably the big striped coat woven with fur, and the cozy ski sweaters will be a hit at retail, no doubt. The embroidered microflorals offered a dainty take on the handcraft that’s a Suno signature.
There was enough here to satisfy a loyal fan of the brand looking for more-of-same or, at any rate, more-of-similar. But the emphasis was on looks that may prove more controversial—as must be the case with any collection premised on expanding the brand vocabulary, as this one plainly was. This wasn’t by any stretch a crazy collection, but it did burst with new ideas.