Know Your Labels: AltewaiSaome

Designers who deserve the megaphone treatment strike again


Annotating deliberately sexy silhouettes in fashion does not typically include the sophistication or impression of insouciant female empowerment that appears in the wake of a shape that deliberately and more importantly, thoughtfully conceals the female form. This almost always leaves room for intended mystery. Pundits of the art include Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen for The Row and very recently, too, the guys behind Tome.

To evoke that sense of made-for-a-woman-who-lives-not-just-wears with a selection of saucily slit pencil skirts, plunging necklines and bodices is pretty impressive. The accepted logic is that a tight skirt or a deep-v exists to appease the male gaze, when really (in the instances that are noteworthy, at least), they’re there to appease the gaze of another kind of woman. One who is similarly proud of herself but projects that awareness differently, like Natalia Altewai or Randa Saome of their namesake line, AltewaiSaome.

Perhaps, as Altewai says, “she is not afraid to play with fashion.” Or maybe it’s as Saome put it, “To be seen in the crowd.”

With their quiet cut outs and accentuated waist lines and irreverently sexy pants, they’ve built a vestiary understanding that to be for yourself does not have to mean to be cloaked in thousands of layers. (Though make no mistake — that is nothing wrong with that.)

After graduating from school in Milan, Altewai and Saome returned to Sweden, where they’re from, and launched the collection. Of having grown up in the former, Altewai says, “there is a sense of minimalism that influences the style. It is very subtle.” Saome interjects, noting that the line may have been more influenced by their time in Milan.

The minimalist thread woven through this collection, which stays away from salient color, shouldn’t be mistaken for trendy, though — at least not the way we know it. “One can create their own trends simply based on an appreciation for fashion,” Altewai suggested, providing intended proof for a temporal bravura in black and white as pants and high neck, long sleeve poplin blouses, which were just shown for resort.

What seems most compelling, though, is that in spite of this idea that a woman in AltewaiSaome is not afraid to be seen, she’s also not starved for the attention. Sure, her entrance is dramatic and her exit can be monumental but that’s only unilaterally speaking. Fundamentally, she’s dressing herself, for herself. Nothing proves this better than Altewai’s perception of fashion at large. That it “is an expression of one’s identity. This can never truly be expressed if you dress for others.”

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