THERE ARE THE LOGO-HEAVY DESIGNER TEES THAT’LL INSTANTLY MAKE ONE LOOK FASHIONABLE. THEN THERE ARE THE DESIGNER TEES THAT ARE LESS ABOUT LOOKING BRANDED AND MORE ABOUT ACTING AS A CANVAS FOR ART AND MESSAGES THAT FASHION INSIDERS ADORE. PRE-FALL’S OPTIONS FALL INTO THE LATTER CATEGORY. AS THE SAYING GOES, IF YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW.
(This page) If band tees are the badass Bella Hadid of vintage-inspired T-shirts, ringer tees are the Gigi Hadid alternative: wholesome yet playful. Coach 1941 issues a series heavy on retro twee, what with cartoon-like apple motifs that are a nod to the brand’s NYC roots and imagery inspired by ’80s horror films.
(Opposite) At Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri replaces the pro-feminist slogans that have helped make T-shirts a brand signature (and bestseller) with painterly, posterworthy illustrations of female trailblazers like the 19th-century French actress Sarah Bernhardt and 20th-century African-American painter Lois Mailou Jones.
Creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s vision for Chloe this seaon is a timeless wardrobe that’s “French bourgeoisie meets British countryside”. Part of her line-up: A crew-neck T-shirt that intellectualises the classic logo tee by layering seemingly irreverent motifs and catchphrases (what does “a system of obsessions” mean?) – some with a weathered effect – over the brand’s name.
In 2001 – in conjunction with Max Mara’s 50th anniversary – American photographer William Wegman captured his pet subject, his very own weimaraners, swathed in the brand’s signature 101801 coat for a series of images. Flash forward to Pre-Fall 2020 and one of those portraits gets pride of place on a classic plain tee to lend a playful touch to a collection inspired by the rebelliously feminine Debbie Harry.
Text & Coordination Imran Jalal