Duncan RTW Fall 2021

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In lieu of holiday travel, Michelle Duncan spent time as a tourist in her own city. Having lived in New York for more than 10 years, the emerging designer had never visited the Statue of Liberty; she took advantage of the pandemic-driven, tourist-less city to explore Ellis Island, visit museums and stroll the streets. 

“Accidentally, I got super inspired by all of that,” Duncan quipped over Zoom. “It’s a little ghost-towny here, but I’m going through all of these places thinking, ‘Even though it’s quiet, this is the greatest city in the world.’”

Fall is Duncan’s love letter to New York; rooted in architectural lines, fine tailoring and a moody underbelly, with a hint of glam for nights back out on the town in the future. 

Duncan RTW Fall 2021

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The look: After-dark glamour rooted in Savile Row-inspired tailoring.

Quote of note: “This collection is an ode to the city. In part, it’s because of the structural nature of everything I do. I really haven’t pivoted and am staying true to form in some ways. Also with the anticipation when this goes live in the fall, people are going to be out and about. We’re going to be going to drinks, and still probably doing some Zooms, so how do we transition from this beautiful moment,” Duncan expressed, pointing to her crisp white tuxedo shirt with embellished collar, “into going out?”

Key looks: Tailored separates inspired by classic men’s wear, but fitted to accentuate the female form: an Italian gray overcoat, two new trousers (one wide-leg, high-waisted, the other cropped and with fishtail backs, a cropped blazer with signature bleeding heart embroidered decoration). The introduction of moody, deep black, velvet dresses for nights out — a dramatic, cupcake version or slinky body-hugging number with a sweetheart neckline and nipped waist. Updated pleated skirts and modest dresses zhuzhed up with metal grommets, elongated pleated collars and beaded embroideries.

The takeaway: The tightly edited collection showed growth from the young designer, offering up the right amount of tailored separates and statement pieces alongside evolved signatures within her “goth girl gone corporate” aesthetic.

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