IN EARNEST by Bryon Lars Spring 2023

A few years back, Byron Lars changed the name of his eponymous brand to IN EARNEST by Byron Lars. The reasons for this name change are varied and multilayered; however, for those of us who love Byron Lars and his vision of his ever-evolving consumer the reason for the name change is obvious. Byron Lars is earnestly and honestly the real deal. And this spring 2023 collection confirms that fact.

Season after season, Lars keeps his collections, fresh, current and beyond fashion trends. Inspired by 1940s Harlem, Byron Lars found an ingenious way infuse a Harlem 1940s fashion aesthetic into his spring 2023 collection. “At the end of the day, it’s about evoking the joy of dressing up exemplified in Harlem of that period, since I think we are most definitely ready if not longing for that level of expressiveness again in the way we present ourselves with clothes,” says Bryon Lars.

Interestingly Lars’ atelier is based in Harlem and this outing was the first time Lars has presented his collection in New York City since renaming his brand in 2020. “With IN EARNEST, we need to look at things differently, through a different lens than what we’ve done in the past. It is reflected in the design, in the business, and in how we want to present our concepts to the public. We are so inspired by the multi-disciplinary art forms and wanted to have fashion represented among artists of all kinds,” says IN EARNEST by Byron Lars business partner Sheila Gray.

Though Lars consistently seeks to keep his collections fresh, updated, and culturally relevant what does stay true to the brand’s fashion DNA is Lars’ remolding on traditional silhouettes and unexpected combinations of fabrications, textures, colors, and layered looks. Only a designer of Lars’ design acumen can continually evolve the Gibson Girl silhouette, keeping this traditional silhouette relevant and fashion forward.

As expected from the king of mash-ups, there were many other unexpected looks from the cargo culottes and lace motorcycle jacket to a red striped bustier top with floral harem pants. The designer also played with contrasting hard and soft elements, showcasing Black vegan leather ensembles as well as cocktail dresses of chiffon, lace, and florals. One defining element of this season’s collection is the dramatic display of the feminine form with an hourglass shirtdress, bustier detailing, puff sleeves, and peplums.

For pattern, the collection relied on a full mix of bold florals, bizarre prints, abstracted sequins, and stripes. Transparency was also a key element with lots of sheer paneling and a fully sheer qipao-style dress. The overall mood was a romantic nod to the styles of the 1940’s when American fashion was both traditionally feminine and utilitarian inspired.

What also stood out in this collection was Lars’ selection of the right models for the correct garment. From standard-sized models to plus-sized models to seasoned models, every model was perfectly matched to the right garment. A special nod goes out to supermodel Coco Mitchell who strutted down the runway in a silver, black and white sequined harem jumpsuit. Only a model of Mitchell’s caliber can show this look off in a way that makes every woman want to have this garment in her spring wardrobe.

Images courtesy of VERY New York PR

Standout looks, and there were many, include the white oxford boob button-down shirt w/palazzo jean, black vegan leather puff-sleeve sheath, black and white oxford stripe hourglass shirtdress, camouflage guipure lace jacket with sequined tap short, floral lace garden party dress, and floral sequined fit and flair dress.

William S. Gooch

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