Women Dressing Women and Using Their Designs to Send Messages

Women Dressing Women and Using Their Designs to Send Messages at New York Fashion Week | style

A dress can be something political (in fact, in most cases it is), but fashion as a creative proposal is not obliged to position itself, it would be necessary. What is striking, however, is that the biggest demands of New York Fashion Week these days coincided on the catwalks of women's brands. Or maybe not so much. While the parades were taking place across the city in the basement of the Metropolitan Museum at the Costume Institute, they announced that they would extend the temporary exhibition “Women Dressing Women” for several weeks. An exhibition that recalls how what is now understood as the North American fashion industry was founded on the work of many creators. Some famous, anonymous or forgotten. A historical review that, from the gallery space, seems to challenge the reality of a calendar in which they represent a minority. It is not something that only affects New York, the case is repeated throughout the luxury market, but the setback in this sector is still symbolic since it coincides with a reactionary boom.

Just as women in the past chose radically modern ways of dressing, New York Fashion Week designers are engaging with the present through their different realities. The temporary exhibition at the Metropolitan served precisely as a starting point for Hillary Taymour, the designer of Collina Strada, to create a collection that glorified female power. “Welcome to Collina Gym, where your inner feminine power is chiseled outward,” was the message of the press release that greeted guests in a Rockefeller Center basement. Using projections that recreated her glitchcore references and based on color explosions, the designer managed to recreate the atmosphere of modern temples of body worship, but with a completely different energy: “The female mind and body have always been modeled through the imagination of.” “Men,” he continued, “it’s time we reframe this flesh-thinking vision to make room for something closer to the reality of femininity.” One that, above all robust and diverse: muscular bodies that are rarely seen on a female catwalk, queer bodies, pregnant bodies, disabled bodies or voluminous bodies, which are once again an example of what it means to live diversity with conviction. and not for a fee. About you? Light clothes that didn't hide them but rather celebrated them; Tops that replicated the silhouette of armor but were based on soft and fluffy silk micro-ruffles; shiny T-shirts as if they were dipped in oil or sweatshirts with protective elbow pads.

More informationSome members of the gym proposed by Hillary Taymour for the Collina Strada brand.Some gym members at Hillary Taymour's suggestion for the company Collina Strada.Getty Images

Sandy Liang's collection was dedicated to “a schoolgirl who grows up to be a princess.” The New York designer, who grew up in her parents' restaurant in Chinatown, knows a lot about dreams and wishes. She also knows where the weight of the industry lies: Her grandmother, who emigrated from China in the middle of the last century, was one of the many seamstresses who worked in the Garment District of Manhattan for less than minimum wage. The area where most of the workshops were located. Liang's studio is now located in the neighborhood where he spent his childhood, where he also has his shop. Her brand celebrates its first decade in peak form with an eclectic proposal inspired by the aesthetic of Sailor Moon and its Chinese heritage. In fact, some of the accessories may have come from the closet of that grandmother who came to New York in the 1960s. For Liang, kitsch or nonsense is not a weakness, but rather an opportunity to reappropriate an entire narrative that has long been reviled by canonical history. Tracksuits with flowers made of the same fabric, ballet flats, flared skirts that both women and men wear or suits that hide bows in the back. There's a reason why Liang is one of the favorite names among coquettecore followers.

Three suggestions from Sandy Liang: Princesses and Schoolgirls.Three suggestions from Sandy Liang: Princesses and Schoolgirls.

Tory Burch is an admirer of Claire McCardell, one of the few American designers to receive recognition in the past and one of the protagonists of the show at the Met. She is credited with being the creator, or at least a very good ambassador, of American sportswear and who laid out guidelines for a style that Burch now represents. His brand turns 20, rejuvenated, and several collections are already laying the foundation for a new, fresher brand. Last Monday night's parade at the Bryant Park Public Library was a celebration of the path taken in recent years, this time playing with volumes and silhouettes. Trapeze dresses or geometric skirts are constructed the way bags are constructed: “The architectural shapes are constructed from the inside out, an approach used in the making of the bags.” Patterns that not only do not follow the lines of the body, but countering them by creating safe zones around them, trousers with front darts that shoot forward, polished jackets and color combinations that lay the foundation for where this style can go. Easy American That McCardell defended 80 years ago.

In his new collection, unveiled Monday in New York, Tory Burch continues his process of redefining what American sportswear is today.In his new collection, unveiled Monday in New York, Tory Burch continues his process of redefining what American sportswear is today.Getty Images

Gabriela Hearst's show rivaled New York's first snowstorm in more than two years. But the crowd managed to reach the Brooklyn Harbor warehouse, where the Uruguayan began the parade wearing several coats that looked particularly desirable in the low temperatures. While many of the week's guests got their fur coats back (the reactionary movement can also be felt in the closet), Hearst played trompe-l'oeil with pieces that looked like animal skin but were actually made of woven cashmere in different ways. There was also what appeared to be a cowboy in a double-breasted trench coat like a dressing gown and pants for both men and women, but which was actually a fabric made from recycled cotton and hemp. Wool that looked like astrakhan or leather, patterned as if it were a much lighter fabric. Her palette comes directly from Leonora Carrington's mural “The Magical World of the Mayans,” a work that landed in Madrid exactly a year ago at the first retrospective of the surrealist painter's work. “She was a visionary: she saw both the future and other worlds around us,” wrote the designer, who came out wearing a red “Save the Children” cap to salute. “Much of what concerns us today was already on her mind in 1940: feminism, environmental protection, spirituality outside of organized religion, the ability of nature to heal us, and above all, the interconnectedness of it all.”

Textiles trompe l'oeil in the new collection by Gabriela Hearst.Textiles trompe-l'oeil in the new collection by Gabriela Hearst.Getty Images

Disputed Gender, Judith Butler's canonical book in which she established that gender is a social construct, was the spark of inspiration for Ulla Johnson's new collection. The Brooklyn designer debuted five male models in her outings, dressed in the intense colors and delicate cuts typically featured in her collections. But his subversion was not there. Her work revolved around elements traditionally considered feminine, but with a different perspective than Liang. In front of an imposing crochet sculpture by Abby Cheney, Johnson played with shoulder pads, nipped waists or ruffles, which she layered with sentimentality, for example by overloading a dress with nine rows of them. Openwork, embroidered or handmade crochet dresses give the whole thing their artisanal stamp.

Plays of color were the protagonists on Ulla Johnson's catwalk.Plays of color were the protagonists on Ulla Johnson's catwalk.Getty Images

Last Friday, while live music from Loren Kramar, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta played, the creatives at Eckhaus Latta presented a collection that reviewed the core points of their style. Playing with proportions and textures under a concise palette, but without losing sight of a very special sexy point that the duo highlights. There was no shortage of nods to the more utilitarian aesthetic, reinterpreting American style while drawing inspiration from the workers on whom the chimera of the American dream is built. Big boots that could almost be mistaken for factory safety shoes, cozy coats with faux fur, very low-slung pants and lots of jeans.

The parade on the heights of Eckhaus Latta.The parade on the heights of Eckhaus Latta.Getty images

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits