For SS21, Commission explore the many meanings of home
Created during lockdown, the New York design trio’s latest offering looks homeward with references to the domestic interiors of their youths.
For designers Dylan Cao, Jin Kay and Huy Luong, Commission has always been a highly personal project: it all started, of course, with a photograph of Huy’s mother. Since, the figure of the East Asian working mom — inspired by memories of the trio’s own mothers — sits at the very heart of the New York-based label. And the concept behind Commission’s SS21 collection is no less intimate. This season, home is where the heart is.
For their latest collection, created amidst the pandemic’s lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders, the concept of “home” takes many different forms for the trio. There’s home in New York City: “The collection was started during our time quarantining, so the mentality with which this creative process occurred was very home-bound,” they say. Then there’s back home, the designers’ native Vietnam and Korea. “The last time we visited our real home countries was also two years ago. There was definitely a heavy nostalgia and longing for being with our family, since it’s the type of comfort we believe anyone would yearn for in a difficult time like this.”
In true Commission fashion, home — and comfort — translated across the collection through cleverly-wrought patterns and sentimental details, subtle references to the familiar interiors and housewares of the designers’ youths. This season’s patterns, custom designed, as always, by Huy, draw from the thick floral whorls of 80s upholstery, the dainty pastel blooms native to 90s curtains and the chunky deco of a kitchen tile. Then, the dining room linens: crochet bralettes are a nod to the doilies of decades past and a scalloped underskirt detail recalls the hanging, lacy edges of a table runner.
Home took on a newer, third meaning, as well. Last year the label relocated to a new studio space, nestled away in the city’s Garment District. “This sense of building a little family, our ‘creative home’ is also one of the roots of this collection,” they say. Settling into their new home-away-from-home, the designers were inspired by their neighbours: “the everyday men and women in the Garment District,” says Dylan, describing the idiosyncratic ways they mix prints, layering clothing to protect from the sun. One hot-pink look sees a tech-y pullover — thumb holes and all — worn beneath a boxy polo; it’s topped off with a pair of stylishly unstylish wrap shades. Elsewhere, a trouser is cut with two cuffs to give the illusion of doubling up.
“Commission itself started with the idea of offering classic wardrobe pieces. So we took SS21 as the perfect time to evaluate how the brand has evolved and to rework and refine our classic styles in a new way,” Jin says. While the collection was a smaller, more focused offering, it marked a more playful, eclectic approach, expanding and exploring points of reference beyond the working mother’s wardrobe. Poofy organza scrunchies see the Commission woman let her hair down — or up! — a little bit, and so do open knit bralettes, sensual bustiered details and cheeky cut-outs. There’s a softer, easier mood in the house of Commission, this season.