TRE by Natalie Ratabesi Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear Collection

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How we’ll dress to “reemerge” has inspired a great debate among designers, retailers, and fashion obsessives. One faction predicts a return to sexy, decorative, audacious clothes, the kind that demand an audience; the other maintains that we’ll never give up the comfort and security of our year-long loungewear binge. Both extremes are just that: extreme. Intuitive, rational designers like Natalie Ratabesi understand it will likely be a mix: Some days, she just wants to slip into a beaded gown and five-inch heels again, and others she’s content in her new uniform of blazers and vintage Champion sweats. Her fall 2021 collection for TRÉ reflected both impulses, with plunging cutout bodysuits at one end and snuggly sherpa hoodies on the other.

The surprising word Ratabesi used to describe it all was “humble.” She’s spent the past year meditating on fashion’s purpose, its future, and most importantly, what her customer actually needs right now. The answer was radically simple: less. Less clothing, less fashion, less pressure. The idea of creating a giant collection just for the sake of it—likely with clothes TRÉ’s customer wouldn’t be able to wear—didn’t feel right. Instead, Ratabesi slowed down and refocused on what is “essential,” not in the manner of T-shirts and jeans, but pieces you can wear and treasure.

If that sounds like a recipe for minimalism, look no further than the denim chaps and intricately cutout bodysuits. The fall 2021 collection is built on clothes that can do more and work harder: The chaps were styled solo (for the truly daring!) or layered on top of other jeans, while the aforementioned sherpa hoodie fully reversed to green nylon. An XXL shearling vest was similarly double-sided, and a few of the bodysuits had attached balaclavas that could be worn like hoods. Over Zoom, Ratabesi said they’re made of a super-plush, chenille-like fabric—not the usual micro-rib or stretchy jersey. They’re no doubt among the season’s most luxurious underpinnings; Ratabesi called them “made-in-Italy bodysuits.”

Ratabesi is rarely without a blazer, even in our work-from-home days, but fall’s hero jacket was a softer, roomier silk bomber. A glossy fuchsia version was dyed darker at the edges to look worn-in, while another came in baby pink and flipped to army green. The mix of a comfy, cocooning silhouette, refined fabric, and luscious color summed up precisely how Ratabesi wants to look and feel: polished and new, but at ease.



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