Blooming Queens. Collina Strada SS22

Nature. Sunset. Raving. Queens. Situated on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop garden in Sunset Park, the Collina Strada show was a vibrant welcome back to physical fashion shows in New York. Hillary Taymour described the scene as following: “We’ve got a farm queen, broken skater queen, prom queen, and a frog princess.” The simple message was that after a year of doldrums, we should all have the freedom to dress up as the queens we are. For spring-summer 2022, the designer has found a happy marriage between the natural world and the world around her. She’s deftly fusing literal garden references with real-world pragmatism: the actress Sasha Frolova walked in a macramé skirt and a hand-beaded bodysuit hand-in-hand with her grandmother, who played the gardener. The voluminous, wafty dresses, mostly layered over pants on the runway, were for those sticky summer days when you feel ick about your body, but you’ve got to go out. A new trouser style had a thong built in, for when you feel hot, and belts were made to look like crystal tramp stamps – for when you feel really hot. There were tons of new layering pieces like upcycled tees, cargo trousers, bias-cut and draped midi skirts, and even swimwear, not to mention the sculpted horse and beetle corsets. Look even closer, and you’ll find dozens of new accessories too, like upcycled raffia bags and necklaces and straps made from studio detritus. The level of handwork in this collection was dialed up exponentially, with hand-beaded pasties and flowers accompanying more producible items like doodle jeans and a new collaboration with Levi’s that birthed star-studded straight legs and classic denim jackets. On the runway Taymour dialed the wackiness of it all up to 11 as well. Models plucked carrots, sprinted down the catwalk, waved, laughed, and hugged while two live performances took place. The front row – composed of Kim Petras, Tommy Dorfman, Hari Nef, Aaron Philip, Camila Mendes, and Ella Emhoff – was eating it up, maybe even literally. An errant carrot on the runway, while rhinestone-studded, would have made a nice snack. In addition to bringing the good vibes and high octane fun to NYFW, Taymour also brings a deep commitment to reducing waste, turning bottle caps into pieces of high fashion jewelry. As we return to Fashion Week “as usual,” more of her peers should consider doing things the Collina Strada way.

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.

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