Sandy Liang’s Sultry Schoolgirl Uniform for Fall/Winter 2023

The New York-based designer has given a touch of a darkness to her cult-favorite whimsical designs

Saturday morning in the reading room of the New York Academy of Medicine, Sandy Liang presented her idea of the cool-girl uniform for her Fall 2023 Ready-to-wear collection; inspired by the drama of Renaissance detailing and infused with functionality fit for the modern-day woman. There was a sense of dramatic intellect in the venue, with bookshelf-lined walls and Ethel Cain’s “Family Tree (Intro)” playing as the collection commenced into the room. Styled by Dean DiCriscio, the presentation shines in its attentive quirks, from rhinestone temporary tattoos to delicate veils that cover the eyes of models. For Fall, the collection is a continuation of the coquette-ish energy that Liang is most known for, yet features a darker twist than past presentations. 

The idea of uniform that Liang has honed in on is synonymous with the schoolgirl look, seen in pinafores, matching knit sets, and sashes. These sort of uniform-staple accessories are essential to the Sandy Liang look, as the designer has chosen to create the dresses in a pre-styled fashion, with sashes, capes, and modesty panels built into dresses. While there is a clear influence from traditional uniforms, Liang has in a way subverted said tradition; seen in super-sheer tulle tops and dresses as well as a myriad of ultra-cropped cardigans and miniskirts.

As a downtown beacon designer, Liang has established a core design language that has kept the girlies coming back season after season. Big ol’ puff sleeves and babydoll dress silhouettes are a staple for the New York designer, as well as delicate rosette and bow accessories. This season also contains a continuation of Liang’s ballet-inspired footwear, with the designer presenting a new footwear offering in the Mary Jane double Strap, shown in black leather as well as in baby blue and red satin. 

The biggest moment of the show was without a doubt the closing look, a bright red floor length gown, marking the first gown presented by Liang. The dramatic column gown features attached sleeves and a massive bow that sits across the chest, centered by a rosette detailing. Liang has proved herself as a designer that understands the zeitgeist of the young woman’s uniform, her pieces are coveted by a cult-following; yet it is here, in the hinting of an expansion into a more elevated formalwear that is an exciting proposition for the designer. 

For Fall 2023, the New York based designer has taken her most successful designs and elaborated in a darker manner; a sort of signage that while the Sandy Liang woman is whimsical in her wardrobe, she also has a bit of a deeper, more sultry side. She contains multitudes, if you will.

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