Australia’s hottest genderfuck presents its latest collection in New York’s Soho, and it’ll leave you pining for the sex club.
Dion Lee is on an enviably steep upward trajectory, and the showing of his Autumn/Winter 2021 collection Horsepowerfeels like a momentous turning point. Unveiled in a construction site that will become the label’s first New York store – and its first store outside of Australia – the collection is a deft evolution of his famed signatures and house codes. A sign of things to come. “I feel like I am still unknown in America”, he has expressed. Well, that’s certainly about to change.
I first became properly aware of Dion Lee in summer last year, admittedly a little late, when a friend of mine wore one of the label’s strappy Teardrop tanks on our night out at Jackie O’s in Mykonos. Probably the gayest night of my life. Ever since, I’ve been seeing Lee’s looks pop up on the lithe bodies of celebrities everywhere, from Ariana Grande in her “Positions” video, to that meme where Dua Lipa was mistaken for AOC, to, most recently, Jacob Elordi’s Man About Town cover. He also counts the Calabasas set and the Hadids as big fans.
So, why has it been such a hit? Maybe it’s the elusive draw of clubby, sweaty, sexiness in one of the un-sexiest years on record. Maybe it’s his uncontrived, genderless balance of ease and strength, fluidity with a touch of fetish, that has nailed the consciousness of the “fashion vanguard”. Whatever the reason may be, Lee’s brand has skyrocketed from insider Australian independent to zeitgeisty must-have over the past year in particular, resonating with hot young things everywhere.
But Lee is more than just Hollywood’s hottest corset. The Autumn/Winter 2021 collection is a clever new chapter; a twist on his strength meets softness DNA. The brand defines it as “an exploration of strength and control, through the language of horses and breathing”. Lee is renowned for his mastery of form and understanding of the body, and this season he sets his sights on our physiques through an equestrian lens. Traditional saddlery techniques are deconstructed throughout, as harnessing leathers wrap and wind to become sculpting bralettes, cinching ankle cuffs, choker details and a structured skirt. This equestrian influence is also incorporated into the outerwear offering, as leather buckles flare from the shoulders like epaulettes and a deconstructed take on a horse’s saddle creates new shapes across jackets. We see it again reflected in gold custom Dion Lee hardware.
This Horsepower is counterbalanced by the softer side of the collection, reflecting this language of breathing. Pure and organic. Ribbed drape knits fall from cut-outs inspired by lung formations. There’s also an Australian effortlessness to it all that reminds me of home. The macrame dresses and trousers, the swimwear turned eveningwear, the sheer fabrics, the natural palette, the slinky tank tops and muscle tees.
These contrasting elements seamlessly collide and meld to create a distinctive world that feels refreshingly new. It’s Berghain-chic. Adonis-luxe. A sweet spot somewhere at the intersection of Mugler and Mykonos, Peter Do and Jacquemus, bondage and Bondi Beach.
On the hoofs, Lee launches a collaboration with Both footwear – the equally hot-right-now Parisian label that has also collaborated with Souvenir Official and Clergerie. There are gloriously c*nty thigh-high boots alongside knee-highs that appear to mimic the silhouette of a horse’s leg. One of the few reminders that this is in fact an Autumn/Winter collection comes in the form of warming shearling-lined boots. Both’s signature vulcanised soles define workwear-inflected boots in white and black.
One look that I’ll be paying off on Klarna features a ribbed muscle tee slashed like a 6-pack at the stomach and finished with curved straps framing the shoulders. On another favourite, denim is deconstructed and reconstructed as a corset and lace-up jeans, reminiscent of that iconic Britney Spears 2001 AMAs look. Another is in a beautiful shade of deep, dusty heather, with a strappy tank top that appears to channel the silhouette of a horse’s head, buckled to expertly tailored trousers that fall from the midriff and expose the hips.
Once again, Lee presents clothes with a clear point of view, bold in their simplicity, smart in their sensuality, aspirational in their craft. When we’re finally able to dance together again, this is what we’ll be wearing.
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Check out some of our fave looks from the Dion Lee AW21 collection below.
12 April 2021