The designer proves that you can make a stunning collection while designing responsibly.
New York-based Jonathan Cohen is well known for his vibrant, colorful and patterned dresses — and while the brand's Spring 2023 collection sticks to that tradition, it also introduces some exciting new elements.
The designer was inspired by prolific female artists, including Frida Kahlo, Lee Krasner and Judit Reigl — women who all happened to be overshadowed by their male counterparts, and who explored elements of chance and spontaneity in their paintings, inviting viewers to detect patterns within abstract forms. That kind of gestural statement is present across the Spring 2023 collection, where flowers and dripping effects form expressive patterns. Rather than sourcing through a textile artist, however, Cohen created all the prints himself.
As in previous collections, florals are a recurring motif: Matilija poppies, snapdragons, hydrangeas and ranunculus form the building blocks for prints.
"The reason I really love prints is because I think it can tell a story really directly" Cohen tells Fashionista. This is apparent on a knit maxi with rainbow stripes that seem to be "melting," on a bustier-and-ball-skirt set with painterly florals, and on a multicolored silk dress with acid-drip polka dots.
Another big focus for spring is construction. "The shapes are evolving... You have the dramatic skirts, but the shapes are very strong," Cohen says. The designer certainly knows his way around a pretty dress, creating interesting points of tension with pleats and release points. Even boxier pantsuits retail the silhouette of a flowing dress, connecting it back to the DNA of the brand.
For Spring 2023, we also see Cohen step out of his comfort zone by making his foray into leatherwear: An embroidered leather trench coat, flower appliquéd leather sheath (made from leftover hide) and leather button-downs all imbue the otherwise feminine collection with a tougher and sexier touch.
"When I look at my closet, one of the pieces I've had the longest is my leather jacket. I bought it almost 15 years ago," Cohen says. "It felt kind of natural to bring it in."
The brand worked with American biotech company Evolved by Nature to create leather pieces with an Activated Silk™ finishing that is bio-based and PFAS-free, as an alternative to the pollutants typically used by the leather tanning industry. The company has "really done the work, to invest that kind of [sustainable] technology," says Cohen. In line with this approach to sustainability, the brand continues to recycle leftover scraps from previous collections into its new ones — in this case, flower cutouts stitched onto a black bustier and a turquoise evening gown, as well as the interiors of certain pieces.
See the full Jonathan Cohen Spring 2023 collection in the gallery below.
View the 27 images of this gallery on the original article