Jonathan Simkhai Pre-Fall 2019

With two six-month-old babies at home, Jonathan Simkhai hasn’t been traveling much. He’s gone back and forth to New York and taken a few stateside work trips, but mostly the designer has been focused on his budding family life in Los Angeles. As a result, his last few collections have felt decidedly softer and more streamlined, with some of the clothes thoughtfully referencing his new laidback California lifestyle.

For Pre-Fall, Simkhai took a mental vacation to a place far from diaper changes and hikes through Runyon Canyon. The designer shifted his focus back to a holiday he once spent with a close friend in Marrakech, a place that has stayed with him since they visited several years back. Simkhai showed his silky slip skirts and sultry dresses in colors inspired by those found in Morocco, including the rich hues of turmeric and bougainvillea flowers. A chiffon metallic gown with cut-outs referenced the shiny silver and gold treasures he’d seen lining the makeshift store fronts in the Medina.

Simkhai looked to the intricate tile patterns found throughout the riads in Marrakech for a beautiful print he used on a summertime maxi dress. He incorporated beadwork on bodysuits for evening, as well as touches of lace under the slit of a skirt and at the bust of a dress, just enough to make you think you were looking at his recently launched lingerie line Night Night underneath his ready-to-wear.

References to Morocco can often be too on-the-nose. While some of the metallic pieces felt slightly like they belonged back in the era of Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakech, as a whole the collection had a pleasing transportive vibe. It may still be some time until he, his husband, and their little ones can take a trans-Atlantic journey, but until then he can go anywhere with his designs.