“Who is the woman?” When it comes to fashion, that’s an age-old question. Buyers, stylists, editors, and publicists all seek to distill the essence of a designer’s point of view to a singular person—an existing archetype, a made-up persona, a real-life muse; any will do as long as the reference to which the garments are tied to is tangible and understandable.
At anOnlyChild, Maxwell Osborne gave himself the unofficial mission of defining his woman this season. “Last season was about this gathering, a house party where everyone is living under the same roof and wearing everyone’s clothes, so we showed it on different ages and sizes as a big range,” Osborne said. “This collection is more of a darker approach, about a person outside the party looking in and they’re pretty much taking things from the party and wearing them themselves.” The protagonist of the story is “making something out of nothing,” a founding principle of anOnlyChild along with the use of deadstock fabrics. But rather than projecting scarcity, Osborne’s fall lineup exudes opulence in a wealth of options.
Gatherings and bubble hems were common denominators in the collection, cleverly used on tops, dresses, and coats. Osborne employed volume and shirring as a tool for building a consistent silhouette and signature design details. Most striking were cropped bomber jackets made in leather and fabric with the shoulder dropped and the sleeves and back shirred, creating a spherical shape from every angle. The shirring also appeared under the plackets in quarter-button shirts, in the center front of silk dresses, and as details in elevated tracksuits. “The idea is that you’ll see these bigger proportions gathered or with cinched waists, but that comes from someone taking found jackets or pieces and making them work with their sizing and proportions,” Osborne explained.
He also carried over the short-sleeve suit from last season, which was inspired by the Kariba suits created by designer Ivy Ralph once worn by the Jamaican prime minister Michael Manley. This time around, the jacket was deftly cut in an exaggerated hourglass silhouette with puff short sleeves, worn both as a mini dress and as part of a fantastic two-piece suit. “People keep talking about a ‘West Indian’ aesthetic or the brand being a ‘Jamaican heritage brand,’ but that feels very strict. The brand isn’t about Jamaica, it’s more about the mentality of playfulness and having nothing and making something,” Osborne explained.
While Chapter 1 was personal in that it was Osborne’s return to New York Fashion Week, this season is even more so because “I can see myself wearing it,” he said. “It’s more in my wheelhouse, and I feel more comfortable here telling the story about who this girl is.” When asked to define her, he started, “you know, the girl on the go, very New York, she wants to dress up...” before stopping with a laugh. “Everybody always says the same thing, but this is her,” he said, pointing to a model in a sheer blouse and wide-leg pants. At anOnlyChild, “the girl” is defined less as a specific person and more by a sensibility. That mindset will help Osborne keep growing as he settles into this next chapter.