The runways have become a platform for the questioning of gender that has long occupied LGBTQIA+ communities. This has happened at the fringes for decades, but with a new wave of trans and androgynous models recasting our notions of beauty, the project is going more mainstream. Gabriela Hearst credits her teenage daughters for advancing her own thinking; their conceptions of gender are at odds with the more static understanding that her generation grew up with. “Kids want to be free,” she said at a preview. “For them, gender is an imposition.” As a designer, she makes few distinctions between her women’s and men’s collections. On the autumn-winter 2022 runway, colors, materials, and silhouettes were shared across them. If you are familiar with Hearst’s work, then you know how truly important sustainability is for her – at her brand, there’s no place for greenwashing. This season, the collection’s aesthetic is close to nature as well. The luscious citrine and watermelon colors of her Manos del Uruguay–knitted chunky cashmere sweaters were achieved via botanical dyes. The print on the cashmere-silk knit poncho that was a focal point of the collection was taken from the artist Ana Martinez Orizondo’s painting of a tree. And the crochet motif on a sleeveless dress and a long-sleeve top and midiskirt was inspired by a peacock’s tail feathers. Safe to say Hearst is the earthiest luxury designer around. But she can do worldly too. Amber Valletta closed the show in a double-breasted suit made from sportswear wool whose sharpness belied its comfort factor. Trenches were finished with storm flaps made from panels of woven leather and silk crepe de chine that Hearst likened to armor. She was equally proud to point out that the elaborate pleating on the bodice and sleeves of a flower-print dress was done in New York’s garment district.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.