Is there any garment as anachronistic to the athleisure-filled modern fashion landscape than the pannier? The undergarment, which exaggerates the hips while retaining a flat front and back, hasn’t been fashionable since the 19th century, and yet, every time a designer offers a riff on artificially wide hips, I melt. Especially when it’s done by someone like Rosie Assoulin, as the expectation with her clothes is that people actually wear them. They’re not siloed to a spectacular runway show or the red carpet. Assoulin specializes in these delightful details, and, as you may have guessed already, her fall 2022 collection features a lot of big hips.
As is often the case with Assoulin, this collection is driven by the silhouette. She particularly aimed to balance hard angles and soft draping. The opening look, in powder blue moire accented by caramel-colored gloves, is a crop top with a jutting ruffle inspired by the silicone bib Assoulin’s young daughter wears while eating. The skirt mirrors the top’s 3-D shape, but while the latter feels futuristic, the former is historical. Still, they work together, the sweeping fabric with the sculptural accents. A similar effect is delineated into a more everyday piece in a black coat with different colored ribbons running down the front. The enhanced waist-to-hip ratio here suddenly looks a little more wearable, just like the bib does in a cadmium red dress.
But enough about silhouette: Let’s talk about pattern. Nature-inspired watercolor prints run throughout the collection. On the vegan shearling coats, they look straight out of the ’70s. The star of the show is a top with an oval front depicting a blossoming tree and its roots. Here the design takes precedence over the actual garment, but the tree’s symbolism of constant evolution was crucial to Assoulin’s conception of the collection. It’s not as novel an idea as many of Assoulin’s designs are, but a nice reminder all the same.