Michelle Duncan’s debut runway show displayed growth within her unique, special “prep-meets-punk-meets-power-businesswoman” point of view.
In just two years, emerging designer Michelle Duncan has grown from showcasing a handful of tailored, attitude-forward garb in the moody underground Holy Ground restaurant in TriBeCa to debuting a 25-look collection, her largest to date, and her first official runway show for New York Fashion Week.
While the designer’s fashions have always held a unique and special “prep-meets-punk-meets-power-businesswoman” point of view, spring displayed growth through silhouette (especially in daywear); palette (bright pink! fiery red!), and a surprisingly sexier feel (influenced directly by the hot Miami sun, where Duncan had recently escaped to from the New York cold last winter).
The look: An extension of Duncan’s hallmarks: juxtaposing timeless, heavily tailored styles with unexpected details and a new upbeat palette.
Quote of note: “I had been in Miami from the pandemic — there was something about this personal transformation that was happening, in that color was suddenly everywhere for me,” Duncan said postshow.
“I was thinking about how our aesthetic was black and dark, (which is still our thing) but wanted to bring it, add a more feminine side. I had a lot more joy and hope in my own life, from his transformation. That’s what I wanted to reflect through the clothing; everyone wants to have a good time now, and feel great.”
Key pieces: New takes on poplin shirting: sweet shirtdresses or standout cornflower blue tiered tunic, worn unbuttoned over a matching pleated, embroidered skirt with sheer knee-high socks and Doc Martens oxfords. Finely tailored Savile Row-inspired separates signature tartan styles, pleated midi skirts and drop-waist dresses; boyish short-shorts, and a bubblegum pink blazer and matching cropped top, paired with low-slung red trousers and mesh tights.
Baby-doll logo T-shirts with voluminous, embellished cupcake skirts — the idea was continued into a selection of sexy, edgy-yet-timeless cocktail options, like a simple body-hugging LBD or slip-style tank atop a red grommet-embellished skirt.
The takeaway: Although debuting consistent, updated versions of signature (now core) styles made sense for her runway debut, Duncan should lean in confidently into her new, expanded collection ideas and silhouettes for her next effort. They both felt in line with the brand’s core DNA.