Last year, Jason Rembert spoke candidly about overcoming a creative rut during the greyest days of COVID, and the solemn mood seemed to seep into the fabrics, which included a lot of hard-edged black. Rembert’s inspiration has since returned in full force. The proof? He’s trying his hand at a Resort collection—a concept that demands bon vivant-friendly wares—for the first time ever.
What a difference a year makes. The studio space Rembert has staged his casual presentation in is brimming with jewel-toned colors. There’s a set of ruched flamenco-red dresses, a sunflower-yellow gown with intricate embroidery and a fringe bottom, and a burgundy number that features a giant bow on the chest. Everything feels ready to be worn at a party. “I just wanted it to be fun. I wanted it to be joyous,” he adds.
He also wanted to subvert what people expect from resort clothes. “I think a lot of times when people think about resort, they think of relaxed and easier fabrics that are lightweight.” He points to a sprawling gown over in a corner, the train snaking around itself on the floor. “This gown is tulle,” he says, “yes it’s a lighter weight, but at the same time it has so much detail to it, so many intricacies. I wanted to play with that concept of soft and hard, feminine and masculine.”
Rembert credits this exploration of duality to the women that fill his life, like Issa Rae, Lizzo, Queen Latifah, Taraji P. Henson, Rosario Dawson, and others. Rembert has dressed all of these women on more than one occasion—either as a stylist or as a designer (sometimes both). His stylist’s eye shines during a relaxed in-between moment, when he ponders why all his clients seem to be interested in wearing fall-leaning outfits on the red carpet, even though we are entering the sultriest days of summer. Then, in a flash, Rembert returns to designer mode and dissects the construction of a dress for an editor.
This is what makes Rembert a successful designer. He can anticipate what women want and need out of their clothes. For him, flexibility is a chief concern. He remembers styling Queen Latifah in a dress he had created. It was a size four. “Queen Latifah is not a size four,” he says. “But I didn’t alter the dress at all. The dress still had the possibility to perform to her size. And that’s done through cuts, fabrics, all sorts of things.” He points to multiple pieces from the Resort collection that may have a specific size assigned to them, but can easily adapt to anyone’s needs.