Shop Rent the Runway’s New Designer Collabs for Summer 2022

Rent the Runway heralds a summer wardrobe of unfettered exuberance: bold colours, bold prints, skin-baring cutouts and event-ready elegance. The luxury rental service’s Design Collective is back, this time with exclusive collections from four designers known for their electric, eye-catching pieces: Esteban Cortazar, Jonathan Saunders, Busayo Olupona and jewelry designer Pamela Love.

Since its inception in 2018, the Design Collective has featured some of the biggest emerging names in fashion including Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Thakoon Panichgul, Derek Lam, Marissa Webb, and more. According to RTR CEO and Co-Founder Jenn Hyman, Design Collective pieces are “consistently among the most requested and loved on the site”, but this season’s selections, in particular, “really represent the new guard. of fashion”.

Case in point: Cortazar’s collection, out today, features a range of playful dresses in warm hues, inventive cuts and sumptuous textures. A tank top mini dress, for example, is enhanced by the bold choice of a clementine-coloured knit material and an asymmetrical ruffled hem. Other flamenco dresses in the collection play with the same hem pattern, while a crochet midi dress in magenta and yellow colourways weaves in tiny cutouts for an accessible (yet sexy) station-ready look. . Finally, a linen-blend dress in a cheery pink embodies what Cortazar calls the “sense of freedom” he feels as a designer, two decades after debuting his first collection at New York Fashion Week, when the youngest creator in history to do so.

“We went through my archives together with the RTR team, and I came up with a color story based on my adoration for sunsets and sunrises, something that’s somehow always present in my work,” says Cortazar.

A dress from Esteban Cortezar’s exclusive collection for Rent the Runway.

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While the remaining designer collections will land separately on Rent the Runway over the summer (Saunders is slated for June 7, Love’s for June 16, and Olupona for June 26), shoppers can get a taste of what comes just by understanding their design philosophy.

Scottish designer Saunders is known for his unorthodox plays on traditional prints. its RTR collection will feature inventive florals paired with silky, forgiving materials. Love’s capsule will look familiar to her fans, showcasing her famous and iconic gold jewelry made with recycled materials and ethically sourced stones. Finally, the work of Brooklyn-based Nigerian designer Olupona is “inspired by Yoruba culture and tradition and tells a dynamic color story,” she told ELLE.com. His RTR designs will expand on the hand-dyed patterns that have made his garments in high demand at retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

a model wears a hand-dyed green and purple dress by busayo olupona
A dress from Busayo Olupona’s Rent the Runway collection.

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Overall, the collective’s designs are energetic, even flamboyant, but with a laid-back, approachable approach in line with RTR’s mission: shoppers want to “wear the fashion they’ve always dreamed of but doesn’t make sense. rational to own,” Hyman says. “It’s a perfect marriage.”

Of course, the company does not take such a turn without the data to back up its investment. Says Hyman, RTR subscribers almost select so-called “professional” pieces (think: your basic black blazer and matching pants) half as often as they were just three years ago, in the pre-pandemic period. That doesn’t mean tenants don’t want blazers; they just don’t want boring blazers. Demand for blazers in patterns such as plaid or pastel, or materials such as leather, is up 150% year over year, Hyman said. And customers are looking for options that will make them feel dressed and put together, whether they’re working from home or in the office.

Says Hyman, “This band perfectly embodies the happy, upbeat attitude our customers crave at this time when they’re coming back to not just fashion, but to living their lives in a more holistic way than they once did. in years.” She adds: “There is absolutely nothing subtle about [their designs]in the best possible way.

“There is absolutely nothing subtle about [their designs]in the best possible way.

⁠—Jenn Hyman, CEO and co-founder of Rent the Runway

And given that 98% of RTR subscribers discover new brands through the site’s rental service, according to Hyman, the likelihood of the Design Collective gaining ardent new fans is extremely high. Naturally, she’s one of them: her favorites from this summer’s crop include Cortazar’s crochet mini dress, Olupona’s green and purple one-shoulder dress and Saunders’ floral wrap dress.

For those who want to test out the Design Collective, Rent the Runway offers several rental plans, including a Fur Goods Plan for $94 per month ($69 for the first month); an eight-item plan for $144 per month ($94 for the first two months); and a 16-item plan for $235 per month ($149 for the first two months). Customers can also purchase items directly from the site.

According to Saunders, the rental model is one he and his fellow designers find encouraging as the fashion industry grapples with its waste problem. “I love the concept that fashion can be accessible while maintaining quality, and I think the ability to rent clothes encourages creative choices,” he says. “It challenges the traditional fashion cycle, and I feel like it aligns with where a lot of us are in terms of attitudes towards consumption.”

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