Amidst the swirling tides of fashion, Dutch duo Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter anchored their BOTTER Fall/Winter 2024 collection with an unmistakable message: reality bites, and fashion must chew. Gone were the whimsical seahorse backpacks and inflatable jackets that propelled Botter into the spotlight; in their place was a lineup of smartly tailored menswear, punctuated with subtle playfulness and a resolute focus on wearability.
“We felt this is not a time for fantasy,” Herrebrugh explained backstage, a sentiment echoed in the collection’s grounded aesthetic. Work shirts morphed into blazers, patchwork coats draped over shoulders, and trompe l’oeil shirt-and-trousers jumpsuits offered a modern take on practicality. This most realistic collection to date marked a shrewd shift for the 2022 ANDAM winners, tapping into the growing demand for office-appropriate attire, which now accounts for a quarter of all department store menswear sales.
But reality hasn’t extinguished BOTTER’s signature spark. Playfulness shone through in unexpected details, such as a repurposed bicycle saddlebag adorning a blazer or pants transformed into a cocoon-like blouson. In a witty twist, the infamous petrochemical logo became “Hell” emblazoned on a swimsuit, a tongue-in-cheek commentary on humanity’s relationship with the environment.
“We’re here to talk about certain things that happen in the world and translate them in a relatable or poetic way,” Herrebrugh explained. “But it can be quite straightforward like this.”
Sustainability, a cornerstone of the BOTTER brand, found subtle expression in an artfully frayed Canadian denim tuxedo-a testament to the circularity woven into the fabric of the collection. One could easily imagine breathing new life into worn pants with felted patches or upcycling discarded denim, with the caveat that replicating BOTTER’s precise execution would not be a casual stroll through the park.
The intricate patchwork and layering hinted at another message: the nomadic spirit of migrant populations, a “tribe that’s moving constantly,” in Botter’s words. He finds beauty in this often-overlooked facet of society, which the collection delicately captures through its fragmented aesthetic.
Ultimately, BOTTER Fall/Winter 2024 was a powerful testament to the duo’s ability to blend dreamy escapism with grounded practicality. While their work may transport us to fantastical underwater landscapes, the logic behind it remains firmly rooted in reality-a reminder that even the most breathtaking flights of fancy are grounded in the tangible world. As Herrebrugh aptly puts it, “We can be realistic and have a beautiful message within that.” And in this collection, that message comes through loud and clear: face reality head-on, with a touch of poetic ingenuity.