Beauty & Fashion

Anna October Pre-Fall 2024 Collection

For the last two-plus years, since she landed in Paris just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anna October has moved from strength to strength against all odds. And she’s seen some long-held dreams come true, as part of the “Women Dressing Women” feature in Vogue’s March issue, in an ongoing collaboration with J. Crew (where her latest capsule of summer cocktail-and-wedding-guest looks drops in June), and in her day-to-day life.

Now, she reckons, it’s time to build. “After 14 years running a brand, I no longer want to sit around and think about who I am. It’s time to assert myself as a designer,” October offered during a phone call from her fast-growing studio in Kyiv. “Yes, I can do a beautiful dress. But it’s about more than that. I’m looking at bigger themes.” Despite what this lookbook might appear to suggest: no, October is not expecting.

Describing these images as an extension of last season’s botanical garden theme, she said she got excited about Pegah [Farahmand]’s idea of photographing mothers and children. “I’m tired of glamorizing only skinny girls in heels,” she quipped. “Now I want to shine a light on the poetry of everyday life.”

Leaning into an obsession with vintage glass, porcelain, and lavish dinner spreads, October gleaned inspiration from the hyper-realistic work of British artist Issy Wood, transposing delicate 3D florals onto a white bustier or a Wedgwood blue skirt hand-embroidered by women artisans in Ukraine. Those, plus a sleeveless ivory column dress wrested into a knotted front, represent a new avenue for the designer, who these days finds grounding in texture and relief. A white slip dress with a bodice in beaded crochet looked strong. So did a draped, fitted ivory taffeta bustier, paired here with a black taffeta skirt.

But a newfound diversity in terms of age, shape, and life stage—the designer’s most eclectic casting to date—may prove her smartest move of this season. It’s a message of optimism, she allowed. “Pessimism would be boring,” she said. “This collection is about the triumph of life. Amid cataclysm, creating and welcoming new life is the only way.”

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