It began with a flower and a bowl of water. I’d gone to Chelsea to buy dahlias—one of two blooms on my mind as I started thinking about my next collection, the other a black-eyed Japanese anemone, unavailable at the market in winter. Returning home bouquet in hand, my friend the photographer Spencer Ostrander and I got the idea to float a dahlia in water. We liked the way its petals distorted when submerged, and Spencer took photos, catching floral reflection in the glass of the water bowl. The effect was beautiful, and reminded me of fighting fish mirroring each other when they meet in the sea. I have my own pet fighting fish, and Spencer took photos of its flaring fins. I began daydreaming prints abstracted from these images, and sketching pictures of twinned, twined anemones. This season, reflection was my theme.

But the spirit of the collection that emerged is one of liberation. Everyone’s so ready now to go out, and see people, and have fun—and I wanted the women wearing my clothes to be dressed to embrace their freedom. A sense of ease was key, for me—fluid silk separates and dresses, like the maxi-length, fan-favorite “Nicole” dress, updated with a waist-cinching belt; recycled ponte tops, skirts and sheaths as stretchy and body-skimming in activewear, shown this time out in a fractured, funhouse mirror stripe pattern; wear-anywhere sweaters with sumptuous hand-embroidery. I’m especially pleased embroideries like the dandelion on one wool cardigan, the result of a new collaboration with a women’s co-op in Peru that works with recycled yarns.

Another expression of the idea of “liberation” is in these clothes’ playfulness. The kick-out hem of a tailored jacquard miniskirt. The flash of leg revealed by a pleat-detailed cady dress—one of my best-loved constructions here, simple yet flattering. A cheerful spray of anemones; the polka dot-like repeat of tiny dandelions embroidered on deadstock cotton. And—of course—the celebratory, confetti-like effect of pieces constructed entirely of paillettes hand-formed in our studio, using remnant fabrics from previous seasons. As part of our ongoing work to eliminate waste from our production process, we also deployed remnant fabric to wrap the stones sewn onto cocktail looks, and the buttons on several jackets. A pop of color—but this detail is also a storytelling device, nodding back at the hands who have worked on these garments. That’s another way of connecting with my clients, of saying: Here, I made this for you.

-Jonathan Cohen

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