While Gabriela Hearst‘s organically beautiful vision at Chloé gradually starts to thrive in Paris, back home in New York, she does what she does best. In the crowd at spring-summer 2022 show were Naiomi Glasses and TahNibaa Naataanii. Members of the Navajo Nation, they collaborated with Hearst on the woven swatches that were inset into the bodice of a sleeveless dress and the shoulders of a trench. Glasses organized the arrangement (she’s a graduate of the Creative Futures Collective, which is dedicated to empowering creatives from disenfranchised communities), and Naataanii, who is a sheepherder and a weaver, did the hand work, with the help of her mother and daughter. At a preview, Hearst said, “I like to make sure that what we do is good for more people than just us.” Her press notes put it this way: “Being able to create beautiful pieces that are desirable and at the same time that empower others is probably one of the most satisfying personal experiences.” She also worked with Manos del Uruguay and a Bolivian collective, Madres & Artesanas Tex. The former are responsible for a couple of gorgeous chunky runas, and the latter for pieces in a finer gauge multicolor crochet based on a swirling, abstract painting Hearst made with her children. The non-profits are her regular collaborators, but she also talked about helping a close friend through a mental health crisis, and incorporating the art her friend made during her crisis into the spring collection. The flower print pieces that are the result of that process didn’t make it into the show, but in the studio they looked bright and lively. On the runway, Hearst’s verve is sometimes smoothed out in favor of concision and clarity, a certain fashionable decorum. But those who know Hearst, or even just follow her Instagram, are familiar with her irreverence, her inner wild child. She makes a dignified suit, but she’s also a woman who loves dip-dye.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.