In just a few short years, New York designer Jonathan Simkhai has charmed a cross section of the celebosphere. Taylor Swift, Kerry Washington, Kendall Jenner, Anne Hathaway and Gigi Hadid are just some of the famous ladies who’ve stepped out in his sweetly revealing styles. Though his peekaboo lace and cutout constructions are undeniably sexy (Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski are fans), Simkhai carefully offsets these body-baring looks with structured silhouettes and delicate embellishments that make his creations elegantly wearable (Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett prove this to be true).
By balancing structure and sheerness, Simkhai has struck on a particular kind of sexiness that appeals to the modern woman. To make his strongly feminine designs, he relies on modern influences wrought in nostalgic fabrications. This is especially visible in his lacy spring 2016 collection.
We spoke with Simkhai about his success, modern romance and how to wear lace with swagger.
Your collections are very romantic. What is modern romance to you?
Yes, my collections tend to be very romantic. I think that’s because this way of dressing, for me, represents an ideal. These days, romance seems to often get lost amongst all of the dating apps [Simkhai’s brother is Grindr founder Joel Simkhai] and social sites, as well as our need for instant gratification. For me, modern romance is about reflecting on what is considered traditionally romantic and updating it to feel appropriate for our modern day.
Runway images by Jessa Carter
Where is the most romantic place you’ve been recently?
After the fall/winter 2016 show, I took a mini vacation to the Caribbean island of Anguilla—a literal paradise with turquoise waters and white sand beaches—it’s hard not to feel romantic there.