Anyone who’s spent much time on the internet in the last 12 months would know the word “chaotic” has become a kind of millennial/Gen-Z rallying cry. Ate a bowl of cereal and a Diet Coke for dinner because you couldn’t be bothered getting groceries? #Chaotic. Inexplicably cried to a Taylor Swift song in the shower? Chaotic AF. In an era defined by ‘Zoom parties’, designer face masks, and hand-to-hand combat over lavatory supplies, it’s perhaps no surprise that the closest we’ve come to defining our time in a phrase is “pure chaos”. So, how to design clothing for the chaotic generation?
If anyone’s up to the challenge it’s Hillary Taymour, creative director of the buzzy New York label Collina Strada, who kicked off the first physical New York Fashion Week in 18 months with her spring summer ’22 collection this afternoon. As far as ‘setting the tone’ goes, Taymour nailed it first try. Collina Strada’s eclectic, acid trip-esque designs have attracted an array of Gen-Z style stars, among them Kim Petras, Tommy Dorfman, and Ella Emhoff, all of whom appeared in the show’s front row, signalling that New York Fashion Week is ready to embrace the new guard of American designers and the new A-list that follows them.
As for the clothes, they were a natural extension of the aesthetic Taymour has spent the last 10 years quietly crafting. Beautifully cut lightweight dresses dyed in summery shades of apricot, lemon, and turquoise. Cargo pants—part of the cascading neo-Noughties revival currently taking over fashion—were on display, as were low-rise denim embellished with hand-painted stars, and tie-dyed camisole tops. Swimwear, courtesy of kitschy one-pieces and strappy psychedelic-print bikinis, was layered over shirts and trousers, while the final few looks featured complicated corsets that paid homage to Vivienne Westwood, who’s archive is hugely popular among the Gen-Z set Taymour’s collections tend to court.
“We’ve got a farm queen, broken skater queen, prom queen, and a frog princess,” Taymour explained in a post-show interview, a surprisingly concise summary of the collection’s twisted archetypes. While we’re not quite enjoying the rollicking ‘post-pandemic’ fashion month we’d all hoped for, Collina Strada’s bold, intelligent, playful, irreverent, and impeccably crafted collection proved that—even without a #hotvaxsummer—the future for American fashion is looking bright.