When Nicole Miller was brainstorming her resort collection, she wanted to channel the carefree feel of a summer escape, 2021-style. “This is all about taking a break from the city, building on the feeling of optimism that is currently in the air,” she shared over Zoom. “It’s like you’re heading on a camping trip; everything is easy and packable, capable of being washed out in a stream.”
It’s unlikely that Miller’s urbane customers will have to resort to such measures. Still, last year’s lockdowns exacerbated the desire for vacations of the old school variety and the clothing associated with them. Hiking, camping, and road trips all elicit nostalgia, but Miller wanted to avoid a complete rehash. As such, she peppered her collection with the familiar—punchy floral prints, upcycled military jackets, and flirty dresses—while adding in new elements. These took the form of an artsy riff on camouflage featuring illustrations of animals in disruptive colorations and brightly colored bodysuits in scuba material.
It’s hard to look at Miller’s pieces and not think about reemergence. The ease of her flowing prairie dresses, pastel jumpsuits, and mix-and-match separates was geared towards clients who are returning to their routines after months of solitude. They may not be 100% ready to abandon the comfort of athleisure, but they’re eager to ditch its sporty aesthetic. By offering a middle ground between the “going out” looks that dominated pre-pandemic and the lived-in vibe of the at-home wardrobe, Miller addresses their needs smartly. In the last few months, she’s been paying close attention to customer data. “It’s been such a departure from fall, which was 90% pants,” says Miller. “Now everyone wants dresses. There’s such optimism right now with the world opening up, and there’s been this return to dressing up.”
When it came time to shoot her lookbook Miller searched for unique destinations close to home. She and her team headed to Governors Island and the acres of luxury camping at Collective Retreats. The city meets country vibe—you can still see Manhattan’s skyscrapers in the distance—aptly summed up the collection’s mood. “A lot of people are looking for vacations with a bit of escapism, and I thought it was interesting that you could take the subway and the ferry from New York City and find yourself in a completely different environment,” says Miller. “There’s something wonderful about that, especially at this moment.”