The weight of the world seems to be on everyone’s shoulders. Collina Strada designer Hillary Taymour used her S/S 2020 show as a platform for performative protest, underscored by a celebration of sustainable fashion. She's widely known for the latter but this time around involved an unexpected twist. Set outside along the block that lines Stuyvesant Square Park, a rather ideal setting for Taymour's collection, she emulated a typical New York farmers’ market with a line of booths housing fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, and baked goods – all courtesy of Misfits and Local Roots. The hippie vibe was present, sans-Birkenstocks, but that was Taymour’s agenda; she wanted to project a modern version of being in a vintage store.
Collina Strada Spring/Summer 2020 runway show in New York. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.A “real” cast of models – from moms bearing young children to expressive elders, and a staged streaker and LGBTQ+ friends – were garbed in completely repurposed deadstock materials. The exception being the jersey fabrics which was noted in the show notes as being a material that the team is “urgently seeking sustainable options [for].”
The collection, titled “Thank You Very Much for Helping Me,” was a playful call to action for an industry that just doesn’t seem to listen, or often lacks the means and/or motivation for the time being. On each seat at the show, reusable Baggu brands sat atop a climate change cheat sheet referencing “the ways to help me” – that is, our dear planet earth. The guide was created by Céline Semaan, founder of Slow Factory, “a design lab working with companies to research and implement sustainability-focused initiatives,” and shared tips like “shop local, support your farmers’ market and small-scale sustainable food production,” as well as “repair your clothes, don’t throw them away. Buy vintage or second hand, try a rental service.” The list went on, designed with emoji-esque graphics to make the serious issue a little more palatable. A nice touch considering how stressful and overwhelming it can get sometimes when bombarded with Mother Nature's sufferings.
Putting aside the social cause and plea for a sustainable world, Taymour debuted 34 looks in total all dipped in a psychedelic concoction and following a 60s love-child aesthetic. From reworked dye effects and nostalgic embellishments, the newness was in the details this season. Slinky slip dresses and skirts alongside swimwear-inspired shapes and form-fitting tops ruled the runway, despite the prints and patterns emerging as the focal point. The accessories were also a key standout with Taymour partnering with Hoka on decorative sneakers with ruffled trims and Perler beads.
The runway-cum-concert surfaced indie favorites Zsela and Tei-Shi, who broke up the show by two musical segments and ended with a free-for-all as guests, were invited to take home the remaining produce that was scattered on tables and crates along the catwalk. And what better ending than grabbing your recyclable Baggu bag and filling it up with local produce to really drive the sustainability message home?