Rosie Assoulin Fall 2023 Ready-to-Wear


Rosie Assoulin is as energetic and bubbly as her clothes. The set for the pre-fall and fall lookbook (the company is combining pre- and regular seasons into just two collections a year) was RPM Raceway in New Jersey. Assoulin was just as eagerly discussing the new clothes on the models as the go-karts and flashing lights of the games in the hangar-like space. She was like, well, a kid in an arcade.

Childhood did inspire the clothes, in two ways. The first was old Delia’s catalogs, that relic of ’90s cool teens. Assoulin remembers stealing her older sister’s copies and obsessing over the outfits, even though she never bought anything. That tweenage yearning for the woman you want to be but just aren’t quite yet serves as the emotional pull of the collection. The second touchstone was Assoulin’s grandparents, and the walks she would take with them down Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn (she laughs that they would call it the “Champs-Elysées of Brooklyn”). Her grandparents wore sportswear that made swishing sounds, which Assoulin recreated with one of the khaki zip-off coats from the fall line. It’s a hard line to walk: making clothes that are sophisticated enough for buyers who can spend several hundred dollars on one piece, but still speaking to your childhood desires.

The models posed on the racetrack, in claw machines, and with plushy animals. A stripe motif appears throughout the collection—on mini skirts and matching jackets, on satin cargo shorts, on a semi-transparent blue and black gown—and it reads as a hybrid between ’70s graphic design and motocross. The most literal interpretation of the Delia’s catalog is a two-piece blue halter and maxi skirt inspired by a tankini that Assoulin vividly remembers seeing. Assoulin shines with her evening wear, and somehow makes a tankini feel appropriate for a formal wedding (maybe one held at a beach).

To that point, the strongest pieces in the collection are the most formal (though the tube socks and caramel-colored coat with apple green stripes decked out in PVC-free sequins are certainly eye-candy). An elegant white gown with emerald green and navy panels on the side would be perfect red carpet fodder for Sporty Spice in the girl group’s heyday. But it’s the black tuxedo maxi skirt with a champagne dinner jacket with a cropped watteau cape that is the standout: pure elegance with a wink. Now that’s the woman you dreamed of being as a teen!

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