Of all the designers to enter the swimwear market, Dion Lee is the one for whom it's the no-brainer. Not only because Lee is Australian, but also, and especially, because he is a designer engaged with the body. You do want a swimwear designer to think as Lee does, engineering new and artful ways of revealing, elaborating, or concealing the natural female form. The suits Lee created for the swimwear capsule he launched this season aren't exactly paradigm shifting, but they do boast his signature mix of sex and rigor. And you suspect there's greater innovation to come.
Thinking about swimwear got Lee thinking about water. And water became the main theme of this collection, expressed through both print and construction. More specifically, Lee found himself extrapolating the idea of oil and water, and how the two fluids co-exist, but in a state of perpetual separation. Hence the rather trippy prints here, and the abstract graphic cutouts and welded embellishments. The shiny finishes, too, were inspired by oil slicks, whereas water got additional play in Lee's patternmaking, which emphasized wavelike forms and Möbius draping. A leather sheath dress, for instance, boasted a sculpted shoulder that just about looked surf-able. That was the collection's most dramatic look by far; in general, the clothes were relatively down-to-earth. It was nice to see Lee applying his engineering talents to pieces that were really relaxed, like his easygoing white slipdress with an orange neoprene lining. Like water, it just flowed.