Set against the backdrop of the View at the Battery, audiences gathered along the benches of the park as bystanders watched from afar. A rather candid setting for a runway show, the production invited nature into its setting rather than disrupting it. Hummingbirds and city pigeons flew alongside bees who buzzed gracefully between stoic models.
Thanks to creative maestros Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim, who are also the creative directors of Oscar de la Renta, Battery Park experienced an innovative take on luxury womenswear. In Monse’s 2023 spring ready-to-wear collection, Garcia and Kim bridged class and vivacity.
To bring the show to life, Monse partnered with City Harvest, a New York-based rescue organization whose mission is to prevent food waste from restaurants around the city. A personal donation to the charity was mandatory prior to attendance by all individuals regardless of affiliation.
The collection is comprised of 38 full looks and featured two key pieces: corsetry and petticoats. Inspired by their days at Oscar de la Renta, Garcia and Kim found a nostalgic way to reflect the brand’s juvenescence. From incorporating structured patterns like plaids and grids to completely scrapping the board with more experimental accents like leaf-shaped cutouts, the collection brought the park to life as a walking homage to the setting around it.
To complement the label's support for City Harvest, the collection also featured two particular pieces that reflected items familiar to all: two classic black sweaters, one featuring a stack of embroidered bananas, and the other with a growing radish. The pops of color coming from the fruits and vegetables were a hypnotizing neon that drew audiences toward its charm, reminding us of the entire reason we were all there: supporting Monse Maison and City Harvest's collective mission to end hunger and food waste in New York City.
In addition to the collection itself, Monse brought to life last year's collection with some familiar faces who elevated the outdoor runway with class. Flaunting a stunning black pleated Monse gown complemented by a Prada purse and arm cuffs was fashion creator Best Dressed, who elevated her look with chic silver jewelry that presented a more gothic look.
Stunting a more contemporary look was Gossip Girl’s Zión Moreno, who sported a mini black corset paired with a colorful pleated miniskirt. Following with even more color was actress Jamie Chung, whose floral gown was a true crowd pleaser.
Reigning in support of their fellow designer was the creative powerhouse group known as the Slaysians, featuring designer Phillip Lim, fashion creator Tina Leung, and socialite Ezra J. William, whose group is not complete without Monse’s own Laura Kim herself.
Others gracing the park with elegance were co-founder of Milk Makeup Zanna Roberts Raiss and Instagram’s Director of Fashion Partnerships Eva Chen.
As a womenswear label originally inspired by the metrics of menswear, Monse’s newest collection challenges the boundaries of gender through their modern takes on conventional corsetry by flaunting exo-skeletonic skirts almost reminiscent of de la Renta’s more traditional gowns. However, Monse put their own twist on femininity by challenging what society believes the bodice to be with a collection that contrasted skin-tight leggings and waist-hugging corsets to ballooned skirts and free-flowing mesh cover-ups.
This season, Monse did what they always do best. That is, they yet again transformed the traditional bounds of womenswear by deconstructing the status quo to create something daring for your next spring closet.