It’s hard to get Daniel Corrigan and Chelsea Hansford, the creative heads behind the luxurious, wearable lifestyle brand Simon Miller, to say much about their friendship and how they balance or juggle their his-and-hers points of view for collections that are made for both men and women. What they will tell you, however, is that each of them has a four-legged best friend, and each will report that these four-legged friends run their lives.
When you and your friend/design partner both really, really love your dogs, you include them in your fall 2017 collection.
Ollie and Marcell, a Shar-Pei mutt and a Valley Bulldog respectively, are so much in charge of their Simon Miller humans that a number of this season’s styles are based on fabric printed with a found vintage stamp that just happens to bear a striking resemblance to both canines. Daniel and Chelsea showed us the pieces, and more, when we stopped by the studio where they were camping out before their Saturday-evening show.
The vibe inside the lower Manhattan spot, just down the street from where we first met the brand last year, was remarkably low-key considering the team needed to finish up these images and then, in 24 hours, fit out and finesse an entire presentation inside a Chelsea neighborhood flower market. But Daniel and Chelsea seemed to have all the time they needed to give me a sneak preview of their collection, and tell me that fall—besides the whole best friend/dog thing—is all about the extremes of masculine and feminine, for day and for night.
Thus far, what we’ve really loved about Simon Miller is their ridiculously easy silhouettes and the killer fabrics—almost always Japanese in origin. Our favorite styles have always been beautifully simple, really, the sorts of tactile, everyday pieces that become like a second skin. So this new direction felt like something to really pay attention to. Chelsea said she had an unexplainable urge to explore ladylike references, like pink. But when she pulled out a pink silk peacoat and a slipdress in the same fabrication to show me what she meant, she clarified that theirs is a “brick pink.” It’s not an obvious girly color—it’s like terra cotta suddenly got sexy.
On the other end of the spectrum, Daniel showed me some ultrasharp suiting they’d done: grey with pinstripes. They’re aiming for a juxtaposition, and it’s there for sure, but you might also see it as a gorgeous gradient—because everything on the rack, including the dog prints, felt like it belonged to the same girl.
Inside the flower market at the presentation the very next day (see second slideshow below), that’s precisely what the message was: The Simon Miller woman isn’t one kind of woman; she’s into earthy pastels and strong cobalt blue. She rocks power suits like she’s a guitar player in the UK ’60s, but she’s even cooler when she’s just hanging out in jeans. She’s into those quietly iconic mini Bonsai bucket bags, but now she wants a jumbo-sized one too.
She likes fishnet stockings and hoodies. You just can’t pin her down.
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