For Spring/Summer 2022 Mimi Wade goes back to Hollywood. Having relocated to Los Angeles during the pandemic to be close to her grandmother, Wade’s new collection draws inspiration from the City of Angels, with artists Petra Collins and Moni Haworth capturing the clothes in their natural habitat.
Wade’s Granny Pammy, an actress and model during the Golden Age and a lifelong influence on the designer, is immortalised in flaming prints across a black satin a-line skirt and a draped black chiffon dress. This exploration of legacy is continued via Wade’s frequent visits to vintage fairs, where faded tees from the last few decades were sourced and then remade, like scouted starlets.
The emblems and motifs on these upcycled pieces conjure up tourists past – an American Express logo meets a gentlemen’s club; a Disneyland sign looms over a cocktail menu. Lace hems and inserts marry the sporty Americana with a more traditional glamour, while some shapes recall cheerleading uniforms, bordered with imagined team colours in muted purple and shocking fuchsia. A new party dress silhouette is introduced in two different fabrics, green moire and pink satin, harking back to the exaggerated elegance of the 1980s.
Wade also revisits some of her own signature styles including the ‘Fran’ cardigan which debuted at Autumn/Winter 2020. Made from brushed mohair worthy of Ed Wood and trimmed with a spray of ostrich feathers at the collar and cuffs, the knit returns in a variety of new hues: pink, baby pink, lilac and teal. A ‘ballet’ dress in fluorescent mohair with feather trim evokes a dancer’s costume, while the twinset is reinvented in a snow white micro-sweater with heart-shaped cutout, delicately embellished with Swarovski crystals and paired with matching mini skirt, thong and cat bonnet.
Wade’s mohair bikini has also been updated, now accompanied by fluffy biking shorts, cropped cardigan and pink bunny ears; a descendant of cartoon rabbit My Melody, Playboy playmates and even Harmony Korine’s warped American odyssey Gummo.
Collins and Haworth situate the looks in an appropriately cinematic LA fantasy; girls lounge by the pool, wander around a gilded mansion and eat fast food on a private jet, dazzled by the spotlight or just the blinding California sunshine.