Music, as is often the case for designer Jonathan Cohen, was the starting point for his Fall 2024 collection, which takes cues for its full spectrum palette from concert lighting’s kaleidoscopic color combinations. Last summer, Cohen caught tours by some of his favorite musical artists including Beyoncé and the Cure. The experience of being back in an arena with thousands of other fans for the first time post-pandemic got him thinking about the role live music has played in inspiring his fascination with color ever since he attended his first concert, Boyz II Men and Brandy, as a child in San Diego. He has often photographed lighting effects at concerts to remember the incredible way floodlights and spotlights paint venues with light.
The Jonathan Cohen world has been defined by vivid seasonal prints since the start. In this latest collection, concert light colors see their most literal expression to date in two abstract color field Luces de Concierto—Spanish for concert lights—prints. Rendered in soft pastels and bright warm hues, they are splashed across a single-breasted cady suit, as well as a pintuck dress, belted coat and full skirt, all in wool. Cohen created these densely layered digital compositions by combining some of his own concert photos (including Janet Jackson, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, and Rosalía), with screen grabs from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Maps” performance at the 2004 MTV Movie Awards and other favorite YouTube concert videos. His Fall 2024 mixtape also features glimmer metallic knit separates representing strobe effects and a pitch black wool-silk collarless jacket dramatizing the magic moment at the start of a concert when the stage lights blink on via hand stitched lines of pink and gold thread.
On the B side, Cohen explores two visual art examples of painting with light. The Multicolor Glass Pansies print, seen on a silk matching set, plays with transparency and opacity to emulate the look of Dale Chihuly’s rainbow garden installation of hand-blown glass blossoms on the ceiling of Las Vegas’ Bellagio casino. (Hardcore Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans will recognize Cohen’s flower choice as a deep cut to the “Maps” performance backdrop.) A series of architectural satin pieces including a peplum top, miniskirt, wide-leg pants, and voluminous gowns feature artful cutouts composed of lines of knotted bows that recall Lucio Fontana’s slashed and hole riddled canvases.
Upcycling and zero-waste design remain of paramount importance to Cohen, so tiny laser cut scraps from the viscerally pierced skirt of a Fontana yellow satin dress are re-applied to its bodice. They are also combined with other off-cuts to form an intricate flickering light pattern on an A-line skirt and floral bouquet details on cotton poplin shirting. Elsewhere in the collection, fabric remnants of all shapes and sizes are redeployed as pipings and linings. Fall 2024 marks the second season of Cohen’s footwear collaboration with Larroudé, and every remaining bit of fabric is used to rework the accessories label’s Kate over-the-knee boot and Candy point toe mule with upcycled patchwork pansies and Luces de Concierto bows.