Back in November, Maggie Marilyn launched a new capsule of 100% organic, traceable cotton and merino wool basics. It was an exercise in “true” sustainability: Marilyn is outlining the journey of each tank top, turtleneck, and trouser on her website, from the raw materials to spinning and dyeing to sewing, and eventually she’ll take back those pieces and recycle them into new ones. With prices starting at $65, they’re also a democratic option for women who can’t spend $1,400 on a ruffled blazer from Marilyn’s mainline. “Sustainability shouldn’t be a luxury—it should be something everyone can buy into,” she explained at the time.
Environmental and commercial ambitions aside, Marilyn had also been craving simpler, more anonymous pieces to pair back to her bolder stuff or just to throw on when she wants a cleaner look. That shift toward a quieter sensibility carried over to her fall 2020 collection: Free of the big ruffles and outsize proportions of seasons past, it wasn’t quite minimal, but will likely find a wider audience. Marilyn’s clothes are produced sustainably using high-quality materials, which makes them an investment; in 2020, there are certainly women who will shell out for a bubblegum suit, but the truth is many of us would consider the black version more “worth it.”
Marilyn’s new M.O. is to create relatively sleek, easy-to-wear items with her usual touch of romance and play—women searching for dresses to wear to next summer’s weddings will find lots of pretty, unfussy options. (Fall collections often ship in June or July at the height of wedding season.) A strapless LBD came with a knit bodice and full bubble hem, and there was a series of bias-cut slips and halter dresses in pistachio, lemon, and blush. Marilyn herself was more excited by the vaguely tomboyish pieces, like an oversized plaid camp shirt, and introduced her first “shearling” in a snuggly recycled polyester. If the offering lacked the drama of seasons’ past, there was a sense of maturity and confidence in its place. Marilyn is growing up—she started her line at 23—and managing to keep up in a rapidly changing industry. Not only that, but she’s also holding her brand to higher environmental standards. Few of her peers—or even the bigger, more established houses—can say the same.