The idea of suiting as the basis of a modular wardrobe is a recurring one this pre-fall season, but it’s always been part of Deveaux’s remit. The American sportswear idea, said co-founder Andrea Tsao, is “something that we’re really trying to do, [as are] a bunch of younger, independent New York brands.”
Deveaux is entering the new year in a streamlined fashion, the result of a kind of rebrand that started last year to move the company, related Tsao, “away from chasing the kind of youth factor that seems to work really well for other brands, but not necessarily for us….We wanted to make sure that we doubled down on some of the core principles of the brand, amd what that ends up meaning is that it’s very product based.”
Less has always been more at Deveaux, a brand which has consistently leaned into workwear, easy tailoring, and a minimal palette. Work-, camp-, and button-down shirts are core pieces in the current collection. Wardrobe classics they might be, but Deveaux offers them with the proverbial “twist.” The men’s camp shirt features slits; an oxford-style topper has wrist ties. For pre-fall 2023 there’s a focus on materiality. Design director Awnny LaPlume explained that the team worked with natural fibers as well as recycled ones from mills that limit water use and carbon emissions. What looks like denim is actually a twill fabric that’s been indigo dyed; elsewhere, the leather-look designs are made from a water-repellent coated fabric.
The full pant that is everywhere this season was present in Deveaux’s offering, as were peplums and skirts-over-pants approach to layering. One of the elements that stands out in the women’s collection is the longer proportions, the other is the drapey feeling of many of the fabrics, which lend the smart-casual lineup a sense of ease. Deveaux also entered the handbag game this season with two made-in-Italy styles, both structured. One was inspired by a cylindrical back support pillow; the other is tulip shaped, with side zips that alter the silhouette.
There are some pieces that are shared across the women’s and men’s collections, but the latter pushes the envelope a bit more. Semi-sheer shirts and curved-seam pants are anything but trad, even if they don’t scream. As Tsao notes, “I think the woman and the man who are wearing Deveaux aren’t always the loudest people in the room.” That doesn’t mean they fade into the background, however.
“Maybe I’m biased,” said Tsao, but “I think selling a collection that’s quiet is harder because you’re saying, ‘Hey, here’s a lot of clothes that might look like a lot of clothes that already exist.’ But for us, it’s important to say, ‘Hey, this is what we stand by, and if these are the types of clothes we’re looking for, there are people who are looking for them too.”