Jonathan Simkhai Debuts With Brand SIMKHAI at NYFW 2023

Simkhai crafts a collection of meanings and memories

Before the Shah of Iran was exiled, Simkhai’s grandfather ran a lace mill in Tehran. Now, Jonathan Simkhai has officially entered a new era, one that breathes new life into his heritage. Debuting under the name of SIMKHAI, the Fall 2023 collection is a result of the designer’s longing for meaning and purpose. The collection is grounded, and coherent, and it offers an escape path from an upside-down world–a world where day and night, fun and work, have become meaningless.

The answer to chaos seems to be found in Simkhai’s craft and the recollection of his past. Diving into his own story, Simkhai designed pieces that are in direct conversation with classics. Clarity and precision weave together on the fabric, shaping a kind of simplicity that resounds as loud as a revolution. Traveling back to tailoring and rediscovering the art of craftsmanship allowed Simkhai to see the body for the first time again, and celebrate it through a fresh perspective. The result is a set of timeless pieces.

The first exit, a long-sleeved black dress, captured the essence of Simkhai’s thought process. Smooth lines embraced the body of the model, in what appeared to be an effortless outcome of Simkhai’s expertise. On the waistline, diamond-shaped golden plates seemed to hold the center of the dress–and the center of Simkhai’s idea–finding perfectionism in balance. Equilibrium is what echoes in the following pieces, too. Coats and jackets find harmony in large black leather belts, and the golden plates reappear as chunkier pendulums in gold jewelry.

The brand also continued Simkhai’s collaboration with visual artist George Harvey. For this season, the duo developed liquid-like prints, the result of zooming microscopically into a crystal. These dresses become a synonym for fluidity and for a new way to look at the body, celebrating it with all its curves and shapes. 

Finally, the collection honored the designer’s connection with lace. This time, Simkhai used organic and abstract motifs, combining lace with a bugle bead technique. This approach let the lace evolve into three different colors of mixed beads and crystals, adding complexity and character to one single garment. The dynamism of the garment at the bottom and the one-shoulder shape remind us of the vigor and stamina of a flame–attributes that Simkhai successfully found in the reminiscence of his skills.

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