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Commission Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear Collection

The line between boring clothes and beautiful ones is fine. Is a beige blazer the epitome of elegance and refinement or is it a total snooze? What about a plaid midi-skirt? Or a black trench? The make-or-break details that will set a gorgeous wide-leg trouser apart from its lesser peers can be so small you have to squint in person to see them. Dylan Cao, Jin Kay, and Huy Luong obsess over this stuff, toying with seams, lapels, stitching, and silhouette for weeks on end at their brand Commission. Their fall 2021 collection is a tour de force of tailoring, with drop-waist silk Deco dresses, low-front check blazers with slightly forward shoulders, smock tops with adjustable sleeves, and midi pleated skirts in a fox and hare pattern hand-drawn by Kay.

The collection looks rich, luxuriant, and polished—which is where the trio’s cleverness comes in. Cao explained they found inspiration in the tailor shops his mother would visit in Vietnam during the ’70s. She would go, he explained, with Western catalogues and have business suits and skirt sets custom made to emulate the trends abroad. (It was always sets, he stressed, never a wafty sundress.) The trend at the time in Vietnam was to look as put-together as a businesswoman walking down Madison Avenue, playing with notions of power and wealth along the way. So the giant faux-fur coat and the pearly trench that appear in Commission’s fall collection are send-ups of style and social class. The plaid here is an oblique reference to the way Burberry’s signature tartan invaded culture in the ’90s and ’00s, spawning a world of knockoffs. Even the hand-drawn print is supposed to look like the thing you would find at an English heritage brand, but instead it comes from a trio of young Asian designers.

Subversion without substance never works, but Cao, Kay, and Luong back up their big ideas with strong silhouettes and a gentle color palette. The additions of a new knit dress and a second bag shape will increase the reach of their message this season.

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