Han Chong’s strength at Self-Portrait has always been understanding how women want to feel when they go out. For several years, he was known for his “wedding guest dresses”—cocktail attire made youthful and sexy via graphic lace and bold colors. With weddings and events on the rise again, he’s seeing lots of interest in party clothes right now, but his customers are shopping differently than before: They want special dresses, but they expect to be able to wear them with sneakers, boots, or sandals. The rigidity of a single-occasion garment feels outdated in this moment. And then there’s the cost-per-wear benefits of owning fewer garments and getting real use out of them.
Self-Portrait’s resort collection, arriving in stores now, mixes the label’s signature lace and bouclé knits with the sultry, strappy, drapey Y2K-inspired look that’s so popular with young women now. Asymmetrical swimsuits are layered under blazers, acid-y jersey dresses are ruched to the hip and slashed at the ribcage, and marled knit dresses and skirts come with cutouts and wrap-effect details. Chong said his sweater business is booming; ribbed cardigans with lace collars and jeweled buttons lend a touch of his signature charm, and he’s leaning in to the idea of Chanel-ish skirt suits with bouclé jackets, bras, and matching skirts. However, it was the final look—a blush sweater dress with buttons trailing up the side—that actually looked like something you’d wear over and over: with knee-high boots to the office, sneakers on the weekend, or heels to a party.