Jonathan Simkhai knows dresses inside and out, so it’s easy to trust New York-based designer’s opinion on the subject. According to the 2015 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund winner, dresses make up half of his business. Since launching his namesake collection in 2010, Simkhai has become known for his beautifully made contemporary designs that feature modern twists like off-the-shoulder sleeves, sheer inserts, and flattering pleats, as well as his A-list fans, including Amal Clooney, Michelle Obama, and Karlie Kloss, who recently got married in one of his designs.
Simkhai, who was in Toronto recently to show his latest collection at TNT in Yorkville, aspires to create seasonless designs. “Even though this collection is entitled pre-fall, it’s very summer focused, and there’s a lot of great pieces you can wear for the summer to transition into fall,” he says. At the top of his list is a turmeric maxi of cascading gauzy material. “I love the strong shades of yellow,” says Simkhai, holding up the dress. “It’s a great piece that you can wear to a party, to a wedding and also with sandals to the beach if you throw a jean jacket over it. There’s a lot versatility with something like this.”
Simkhai moves onto a shorter high-neck dress in a dusty rose colour. “For summer, I love the idea of monochromatic dressing, and being able to wear a tonal pairing in all white or shades of blush,” he says. Darker accessories will take the dress from one season to cooler months ahead. “One of the other things I’ve done a lot consistently in the past year is lingerie dressing,” says Simkhai. “There’s something really beautiful about slips and camisoles. I love the idea of wearing a slip over a pant or with shorts in the evening.”
Ready to slip on something special? Click through for six top dress trends that are about to take over summer 2019.