Cigars and Crocodiles at Jonathan Simkhai

In “The Betrothed,” poet Rudyard Kipling writes of a man forced to choose between his fiance and his beloved cigars. He concludes, “A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.” Some 120 years later, Jonathan Simkhai has shown a collection of his signature shoulder-and-leg baring provocateur athletica that would’ve let Kipling have it both ways: it was inspired by a cigar humidifier. In front of stark white bookshelves, the newly minted CFDA Incubator graduate showed three groupings of expertly angled skirts, sportif halternecks, and streetwear shorthands like sweatshirts and mesh.

The first of the posse suggested a master of the universe sipping cognac—only she’s doing so in a camel leather halter top and sweeping chalkstripe trousers, or perhaps a bomber jacket or sweatshirt with gentlemanly leather shoulders. The second clutch presented combinations of patent croc and mesh. White lines traced the comely contours on a long-sleeved black mesh pinnie dress; a shoulder-less dress in high-impact brandy patent croc had a skirt that was less a peek-a-boo slit than a “Hellooo boys!” cut-out; and a white sculpted halter gave an angular peek of the croc on matching white wrap skirt. Last was an oil-slicked croc group that was, again, all shoulders and slits up to there.

If Simkhai’s woman is breaking into the liquor cabinet and ashing her cigar in a croc skin tray, these looks suggested she’ll be taking the fast car, too. Indeed, a good cigar is a smoke, and this woman is smoking.

Photography by Koury Angelo and Joe Marquez

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