When Amal Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker wear your designs months before your NYFW debut and Net-a-Porter immediately picks up your first collection, critical success is imminent. Such is the case for Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s new label Monse, which despite being only two-seasons old, has been worn by celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Kerry Washington, and Allison Williams, just to name a few.
Monse, named after Garcia’s mother, is the brainchild of recently appointed creative consultants for Carolina Herrera and former Oscar de La Renta alums (Kim was the studio director and head daywear designer while Garcia oversaw the eveningwear designs.)
Their first collection, S/S 16, came with high expectations and centered on creative interpretations and the deconstruction of a wardrobe staple: the button down-shirt. Kim and Garcia reworked this basic essential into dresses with oversized shirtsleeves wrapped and knotted across the shoulders, asymmetric blouses in jewel tones, and a beige taffeta skirt with pajama snap closures. Other looks included a black satin sleeveless gown with the label’s ubiquitous shirtsleeve-wrapped shoulders, worn a few weeks after by Selena Gomez, and an off-shoulder silver mini later worn by Lady Gaga on The Tonight Show.
Their succeeding collection took inspiration from vintage men’s suits, with a particular focus on the suit lining, which they incorporated into oversized blouses, asymmetrical dresses, sailor pants, and double-breasted jackets. Evening wear options were clearly a focus, with metallic wool coats, taffeta bubble skirts, striped bias-cut dresses, and a twisted Grecian gown in pale pink velvet, later seen on Brie Larson at the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar party. Monse’s design aesthetic is prevalent throughout: fresh, modern pieces that are sexy while allowing ease of movement. “It has to look easy, like it just took her five minutes to get ready,” Garcia has said.
Some have attributed their inevitable success to connections made during their cumulative 18-year tenure at de La Renta, which Kim and Garcia have been vocal about; citing support from power stylists Erin Walsh, Kate Young and Cristina Ehrlich, who helped them dress celebrities at an early stage. Undoubtedly, it is their individual strengths and immense talent that has resulted in their hit collaboration and their next collection a highly anticipated one.
—words by Megan Que