The Hawaiian-born designer’s past work gives a sly nod towards ’80s surf culture (color-changing sunglasses, custom surfboards, splatter paint and pop-printed backpacks), but the new collection is more direct (expect liberal experimentations in neoprene separates). “I’ve been surfing for years, but never liked the jock-y part of it,” she says. Her version of the wetsuit is undeniably chic, with pieces including a ruffle-edged tank, graphic leggings, pocketed shorts and a jaunty beret—all reversible, to maximize one’s surf wardrobe options. “I surf in every piece, but I’ve always thought you could wear them in everyday life, too,” says the designer. Apparently she’s not the only one who thinks so: both Colette and Opening Ceremony have placed orders for fall.
The laid-back aloha spirit has clearly infiltrated Cassaniti’s work, which she says is “meant to be satirical, playful. What really bothers me about fashion is how seriously it takes itself, even when it’s trying to be ironic.” This is especially evident in her self-proclaimed “autobiographical” prints, which grace her backpacks and custom boards and are all inspired by recent maladies—Spring’s Pinkeye motif was the result of a year-long battle with contact lens allergies, while this season’s Hairy print came from a skin cancer scare.
Cassaniti already has big plans for her third collection, including further experiments with neoprene (a motorcycle vest was mentioned) and hard-backed luggage. But, as for her next round of prints, she playfully says: “You’ll just have to wait for my next ailment to happen.”
For more information, visit www.alexandracassaniti.com.