Markarian Resort 2023

Resort fragments designers’ attention. They have to consider opposing climates and offer events and escape dressing all at the same time. This year, said Markarian’s Alexandra O’Neill, “we really wanted to do a collection that would work just as well on a tropical vacation as it would for a New Year’s celebration. Macrame, best in a bead-fringed mini, spoke to the former; a strapless fuschia minidress with embroidered squares, rectangle, and heart embroidery, the latter.

O’Neill leaned into the ’80s, the decade in which she was born, for her palette and a bold floral print. A hero piece, in the form of a black bolero jacket with red piping and glass “M&M’s,” also had some of the decorativeness of that time. The team was listening to the 1980 hit “9 to 5” and other Dolly Parton tunes, as they put the collection together. This designer’s take on the “working girl” theme—and on fashion in general—is focused on out-of-office options. “I like the idea of leaning hard into the femininity of pieces because for so long I think that women weren’t really taken seriously if they dressed a certain way or didn’t dress a certain way…. I don’t feel like that should be the case,” O’Neill said.

The designer was, as Kate Bush sings, “running up that hill” this season. There was a fire at the fabric factory she works with—no one was hurt, thankfully—and the team had just a month to start over. The result is a something-for-everyone collection which lacked editorial cohesion. The connection between a leisure suit and a Jackie-like bow sheath was hard to parse. It’s possible, though, that this “anything goes” approach or “enjoy it while you can” feeling is a kind of expression of underlying anxiety. “I think everybody feels as if something is coming, like we’re on the brink of something that’s not excellent,” said O’Neill. “I’m one day at a time right now.”

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