Women are the future but gender is undefinable. - Collina Strada
These words are the perfect introduction to the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection by the New York-based designer. On February 13th, 2016, the fashion house put on a remarkable presentation at Made Studios as part of New York Fashion Week. Leading up to the event, we were already big fans of Strada's body of work. The creator of some of our favorite all leather ensembles and more, Strada's designs are both bold and understated. Gracefully embracing elements of both mens and womenswear, we were very much looking forward to the latest offerings.
We love nothing more than a high concept show and right from the start we were pleased with idea.
In an industry where androgyny has become the norm and gender is irrelevant, no one has yet done an all male show for a women's collection. Collina Strada will push boundaries beyond expectation, using only male models for her AW16 presentation at Milk Studios.
The theme of the show was equally as thought provoking. The designer was inspired by matter ingestion, or a condition known as Omniphagy. With this phenomenon, the user can eat anything without harmful effects regardless of what they consume, they can consumer matter in any form - solid, liquid or gas. This theme played in quite nicely with the fashion on display. Using a variety of fabrics from leather to denim, the clothes carried a very unique kind of uniformity. Not directed at any particular person or gender, but at the human form. The exaggerated proportions and monochrome palates did a wonderful job of feeling both terrestrial and cosmic at the same time. It was clear the ideas were meant for something beyond fashion of the moment but almost seemed to foretell where the designer thought fashion was going.
Ahead of the presentation, we were able to speak with head designer Hillary Taymour and talked to her about her vision for this collection and her line.
The Brvtalist: Focusing on the A/W 2016 collection - How do you see this collection fitting in with past collections? Do you see A/W 2016 as a natural progression, a completely new direction or both?
Hillary Taymour: I see this collection as a natural progression, by keeping it very minimal and monochromatic we've made it a bit more edgy and fun, which we've shown through the casting this season.
TB: Talk about where the idea came from for Omniphagy. It's a remarkable condition and I always love to see some science on display. What was the inspiration for using this theme?
HT: I just wanted it to feel very future. We wanted everyone to be eating and drinking silver in the show, it feels like mercury and this shift from how we consume today.
TB: The use of all men for a woman's collection is a bold statement. This seems to go beyond the unisex concept into something completely different. Why use all men for a womenswear collection?
HT: The future is genderless. I think it translated well with the collection and continues with the future feel of the show.
TB: Leather is a standout material in your work. Talk about your love for this fabric and how you take something that's so often used and make it so uniquely Collina Strada.
HT: I tried to make leather pieces that don't exist already, we don't need another designer to create another motorcycle jacket. I like to make something new and fresh while still timeless.
TB: Talk specifically about the presentation at Milk Studios. What was the ambiance you wanted to create and how do you think it played into the designs?
HT: The show is at the Standard, it's a really unique space with wood paneling. It has a mid century modern aesthetic which compliments our silver mercury feeling to create this futuristic space.
Taymour's line certainly accomplished what it set out to do - that is create a futuristic show where boundaries are not necessarily lost but completely redefined. The designs were put through a different paradigm and this was evident by looks that are not easily categorizable and very off center - two things that always resonate loudly with us. We would like to thank Hillary Traymour for her responses and we look forward to seeing more of her work in the, dare we say, future. For more information, please visit Collina Strada.
Photo Credit: Johnathan Hokkolo