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Marina Moscone’s pandemic pivot

Vancouver-born designer Marina Moscone.

Jake Rosenberg / trunkarchive.com/Handout

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in North America, Vancouver-born designer Marina Moscone was fresh off her most successful show to date. At New York Fashion Week in February, the designer’s signatures – modernist tailoring, seductive draping and custom luxury fabrics – were on display with broad-shouldered smoking jackets, a twisted ivory silk crepe dress and fur coats made entirely of vintage and upcycled mink. Hailed as one of the standouts of the season by the likes of Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily, Moscone’s sumptuous vision of 1970s glamour felt right on the money for fall 2020.

A month later, not only were luxury shoppers suddenly more preoccupied with the comfort of sweatpants than the swish of evening gowns, but most fashion labels had ground production to a halt. Moscone, however, didn’t miss a beat.

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“We closed on Friday and on Monday, we were working virtually,” she says. Since she runs an in-house atelier in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, Moscone was able to continue operations with her team of 15 employees. “I make expensive clothes, which are not really essential to people’s well-being, so turning our operation into something benefitting people in a hard time was the only way forward for us,” the designer says. In March, the team started creating hundreds of surgical masks for New York’s Bellevue Hospital. In April, they began work on Moscone’s Resort collection, something she hopes will serve as a balm for these trying times. “My instinct was to take the time to develop something really, really beautiful,” she says.

The designer’s signatures are modernist tailoring, seductive draping and custom luxury fabrics.

Stefano Ortega/Handout

That instinct has always been central to Moscone’s point of view. In British Columbia, the designer remembers being influenced by art, culture and her father’s Italian heritage from an early age. She studied at Parsons School of Design and designed for New York labels such as Peter Som before co-founding her own label alongside her sister Francesca in 2016. Since that launch, her label has been rooted in minimalist glamour and a contemporary versatility.

“Marina is making very chic, classic updates to evening wear, with a twist. I always bought her collection for my stores because it falls into the category of luxury investment pieces,” says Kristen Cole, a fashion consultant and former buyer for luxury concept shop Forty Five Ten. “As consumer habits change, women will still buy investment pieces. I always appreciate craft and gorgeous fabrics because those elements never go out of style.”

Moscone was hailed as one of the standouts of the season by Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily.

Stefano Ortega/Handout

Moscone’s Resort collection features a remix of yarns and fabrics from previous seasons that were woven together using in-home looms, and then draped and sewn with her giving direction over FaceTime. “I would say it’s like a virtual design and sewing circle of sorts,” says Moscone. Her custom fabrics, which include double-faced Scottish Donegal cashmere and velvet devoré burnout patterns for fall, are typically milled in Italy, something she plans to stick with as restrictions allow.

“Our woman will want to feel protected and a little bit nurtured,” she says, explaining that even though the individuals who buy her clothing may not be wearing them out on the town, beautiful clothes still have a place. “She’s not going anywhere, but our pillars of design are still there.” – Randi Bergman

Pearl’s new look

The popularity of the pearl has spanned centuries and shows no sign of expiring as designers give the glistening orbs new lustre for fall. Acne’s sheer tights come dotted with perfectly placed spheres, transforming the wearer’s legs into jewellery. At Burberry, the line between bauble and garment is also blurred by an ornate fastener on a wool jacket. Bottega Veneta takes a playful stance with whimsical creatures hand painted on baroque earrings. Loewe spells out the trend, literally, with pearl encrusted cursive Ls atop renaissance leather boots. By now, you’d think Chanel would have run out of ways to reinvent its favoured embellishment, but oversized pearls as the strap of a cross-body purse suggest there’s still more ways to play. Alessandro Michele at Gucci is also no stranger to pearl adornments, and his latest expression uses the gems as a graphic accent on ladylike shades. – Nadia Pizzimenti

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Acne tights, available through acnestudios.com.

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Burberry blazer, available through matchesfashion.com.

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Bottega Veneta earrings, available through ssense.com.

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Loewe shoes, available through loewe.com.

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Chanel bag, available at Chanel and through chanel.com.

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Gucci sunglasses, available through farfetch.com.

Makeup upstart 19/99

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As unrealistic beauty standards are slowly being thrown out the window, a Canadian company is ready to share its own inclusive approach to cosmetics. Based in Toronto, 19/99 launched in April with the goal of narrowing the generational beauty gap by creating products meant to be used by people of any age.

“We definitely started by focusing on changing the conversation around aging and beauty,” says Stephanie Spence, who co-founded the brand with Camille Katona. The pair introduced their vision of cosmetics for all with two multi-use products: the Precision Colour Pencil in a versatile, statement-making red, and a transparent High-Shine Gloss. Both the pencils and the gloss are meant to be used on lips, cheeks and eyes, embodying the brand’s less-is-more approach. “We decided to go with the pencil format because it’s classic, it’s not intimidating, but at the same time it allows you to apply product precisely,” Katona says.

This fall, 19/99 is introducing a brown shade called Barna to the pencil collection. Along with a neutral pink added in the summer, it completes their trifecta of universal hues. “We wanted to start with the makeup kit classics to introduce people to the brand before we go into more experimental colours,” Katona says. More outré options are on the way for the holiday season. – Caitlin Agnew

19/99 Precision Colour Pencil in Voros, Neutra and Barna, $26 each through 1999beauty.ca.

Deluxe lotions for overwashed hands

GARDEN VARIETY

Cosimo Sereni/Handout

Beloved for being over-the-top in everything it offers, Gucci is bringing its extravagant aesthetic to a trio of hand creams. Each is delicately scented with floral blends by master perfumer Alberto Morillas, the nose behind several of Gucci’s fragrances.

Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden Hand Cream Trio, $200 at Holt Renfrew.

HIGH FIVE

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For a no-nonsense, New York approach to pampering your skin, look no further than this new formula from Malin + Goetz. Containing vitamin B5, honey and fatty acids, it’s designed to effectively nourish hands without leaving a greasy residue behind.

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Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment, $28 at Holt Renfrew.

SHEA’S ALL THAT

Karité specializes in unrefined shea butter that’s sustainably sourced in Ghana. Its hand cream is one of just two products the company produces and is a skin saviour come colder weather, tending to hand irritation caused by exposure to the elements or frequent washing. – Caitlin Agnew

Karité Hand Cream, $49 at the Detox Market.

Look for The Globe and Mail Style Advisor magazine’s holiday edition in the newspaper on Nov. 20 and catch up on back issues at tgam.ca/styleadvisor.

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