Et Ochs Resort 2023 Collection

Michelle Ochs is now four seasons in with Et Ochs and she’s in growth mode. At a resort preview, she said, “I wanted to build a lifestyle. I’ve been thinking about how to get her dressed again, what does she need? What is she looking for?”

Most designers I’ve visited this season had something similar to say about their customer: she’s ready to dress up. For Ochs, this means expanding her range to give her customers more options. “She’s loving the separates, so we’re doing more of those and expanding outside the body,” she said. “Outside the body,” as in beyond the bodycon dresses that have been her signature since the Cushnie et Ochs days. She ventured further into denim and re-introduced leather, translating elements she’s developed so far (see: bias tape seaming, for instance) while keeping the vibe that defines the Et Ochs woman.

About those bodycons silhouettes. Made out of power stretch viscose, they strike the balance between the slinky going-out silhouettes that have taken over the runways and the shapewear popularized by the likes of Mugler and SKIMS. The best way of describing the effect these Et Ochs pieces have on the body is through a sound effect we made in her showroom. I won’t bother with an onomatopoeia here, but imagine the noise a suction cup makes.

Ochs said she was looking at both mid-century modern furniture and the ’90s children’s animated TV series Rugrats for inspiration. Rugrats? She said she loved the way the cartoons were drawn, and that the wiggly lines that outlined the characters can be found in furniture, too. “The odd and unexpected curvature in the cartoons really stayed with me, so I wanted to translate that into the shapes in the clothes.” The outlines came to life primarily as padded cording; some were functional, containing wires to create shape or serving as thick spaghetti straps, and others were just decorative details. Rugrats also inspired the palette, built primarily with soft fuchsia, cyan, and chocolate brown.

The cartoon provided the collection’s playfully saturated tones, and the furniture the grown-up chicness that characterizes Et Ochs. Provocative, sensual, and amusing are three words the designer wove into our conversation, ending our chat by stating she “wanted to be playful.” If you’re wondering, she says she’s a Tommy Pickles. I’m more of a Suzie Carmichael myself.

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