AW17: Gabriela Hearst Debuts A New Practical Luxury



Sustainable fashion has had a rough break lately, with Suno shutting its doors and the industry questioning the financial strength of ethically sourced fabric, but Hearst’s NYFW debut was determined to render the reused de rigueur. Upon entering, showgoers were greeted with rows of featherweight pillows in hues of cream, grey and a muted dusty rose, all theirs to keep and, in keeping with Hearst’s ethos, made by Manos del Uruguay from cashmere and wool yarn leftover from the collection’s finest knits.

While she launched her brand in Fall 2015, Hearst has already managed to make fine, often weightless and manipulated knitwear her signature. A navy cashmere double-breasted overcoat with hip hugging pockets walked the runway first, model Margaux Lenot’s legs clad in breathable black merino long johns. Later, paper-thin bordeaux and black cashmere turtlenecks sat sheer under a floor-length plaid wool overcoat and a plunging velvet neckline, while a navy merino henley fit neatly beneath a plaid double-breasted pantsuit.

Similar knits were layered with sportswear inspired looks. A monochromatic poppy red pantsuit was paired with a matching cashmere silk turtleneck, while a cerulean version peaked out from behind the cut outs of an emerald off-the-shoulder dress.

Hearst added sharpness to her collection through structured accessories. Black and white leather booties with an angular toe were perched on stacked stone heels in turquoise and howlite. Platforms came in a variety of styles, first as offset t-straps in cognac and black leather, then as more colorful suede or duotone loafers. The Ella Bag, Hearst’s take on her cult-status bucket bag, came complete with rounded accordion pleats and a clasped metal frame in addition to a neatly arched leather strap. Similar sculptural handbags were seen throughout the show in neutral shades of snakeskin.

Subtle texture wrought the runway, with silk fringe and velvet as the key players.  In one of the more unexpected looks, the ivory neckline of a herringbone velvet jumpsuit winked at showgoers between strands of silk fringe draped over a bias cut dress. Likewise, raw backstock Swarovski crystals were dappled across two navy velvet dresses, a welcome early nightfall for a 2pm show.

Part of what Hearst calls “resourceful luxury,” every detail in the show, conceptualized by Bureau Betak,  from the rented pews to the metal floorboards, was meant to leave as little impact on the environment as possible.  Many pieces were limited-edition, including the waterproof Prince of Wales trench coat and the dreamy Swarovski dresses, and over a third of the looks used recycled materials or fabric direct from factories like Loro Piana. “I just want to convey the message that I want [the collection] to be luxurious and beautiful, but not wasteful,” Hearst told WWD. Overall, even at its most luxurious, the collection personified Hearst’s practicality in forming a wardrobe women would want to wear over and over again. (Luckily, Hearst will be a repeat on the NYC runway next season.)

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