Prairie Dress on Ice. Batsheva AW20

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There’s no street style in New York without the Batsheva dress. Batsheva Hay‘s prairie look has trickled down to other, local brands’ repertoire, which just reassures her success. The designer expands, trying out new things. The autumn-winter 2020 collection  had no runway, but a look-book featuring… figure skaters. Batsheva and her husband, Alexei, had conspired to shoot this collection guerrilla style in the American Dream mall, and stumbled upon a figure skating competition on the day they went to scout locations. “Part of what I’m always trying to prove is the wearability of my clothes,” she said, “and athletic movement is the definitive wearability test.” The skaters spin, twirl and jump in Hay’s chiffons, cottons, and custom flower pot embroideries, frozen mid-gesture by the camera. It’s intentionally not glamorous (and definitely not Tonya Harding) and the styling is kooky in its spontaneous way. For the season, the designer brings in evening-worthy sparkles, vintage flocked wool trenches and a red bustier “going out” top. It’s proper hot. For prairie girls not ready to give up their pastoral vibes, Hay offers ruffle V-front dresses and smocks, as well as velvet leopard with a wider, less Victorian neckline – this one is my personal favourite. Sounds (and looks) like lots of fun.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Signatures. Batsheva Pre-Fall 2020

The Batsheva dress: high-neck, nipped waist, ruffle sleeve, full skirt. That distinct silhouette made designer Batsheva Hay‘s brand become one of New York’s biggest favourites. And even though season goes, this dress – often made from ornate, vintage textiles – doesn’t get boring. Still, now Batsheva has to move on creatively. And looking at her pre-fall 2020, she thrives. Meet the smock frock, which works as a housecoat in velveteen leopard and crimson moiré. “That’s how I want to dress now,” Hay says. And what Hay wants remains the backbone of Batsheva. New, over-sized shapes and menswear-ish separates (like a Western shirt) make debuts. Hay’s choice of fabrics – a mix of quilting materials and unlikely fashion candidates like burnout velvets and suit linings – keeps a consistency between her circle skirts and more structured day dresses. Get the Batsheva look.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Law of Batsheva. Batsheva SS20

Within just a couple of seasons, a Batsheva dress became a classic in New York. No wonder why: her signature prairie dresses, often made out of vintage textiles, are comfortable, flattering and the wearer never really has to think how to wear it: they work with everything. Batshave Hay‘s spring-summer 2020 show at the New York Law School (fun fact: before starting her label at home, Batsheva was a lawyer) was an actual lecture. Jamieson Webster (a psychoanalyst), Chiara Bottici (a philosopher) and Melissa Ragona (an art historian and theorist), three academics in three diverse fields, engaged critically with Batsheva’s newest collection, while models walked through a lecture hall. Writer and podcaster Aminatou Sow introduced and moderated the panel. “They make me feel like a pioneer woman who can’t be fucked with,” Sow said of Batsheva’s garments. The lecture was called “Neck, Wrist, and Ankle: Recurrence in Batsheva’s Clothing” and each speaker presented her essay accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation of pertinent details and helpful quotes. Hay’s panel of critics laid out lots of excellent points, including a description of her clothing as “defense of the tender areas of the body”. Fashion being intellectual is a rare, but great sight. Especially, when the clothes keep up with the theory. The prairie dress was present in the line-up for a few times, in tiny florals, polka-dots and print patchwork, but there were also some new additions: blazers with big, Victorian shoulders (speaking of the Victorian topic, the ‘Victorian Secret’ pun on the finale dress was brilliant, by the way), a ruffled day dress in a red zebra pattern and gorgeous shoes made in collaboration with Brother Vellies.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.