NEW YORK, United States — Maria Cornejo took a brave step with her show on Monday. To reinforce her commitment to ethical fashion, she offered a collection made from a new, more sustainable viscose than the one she’d previously been using (there were also a handful of pieces cut from canvas).
She chose to present the clothes unaccessorised, in a monochrome palette. The models were barefoot. There were hair and makeup credits, but nothing you’d notice on the catwalk. When the world is full of noise, sometimes it’s silence that speaks loudest. Which might be one reason why Valentino and Rifat Ozbek’s all-white collections attained the status of fashion legend in the past.
Cornejo was hoping that the absence of colour would highlight the cut and construction of her clothes, but it was more a sensual, formless fluidity that impressed in the show. What definition there was came from the subtlest seaming and elastication.
More significant was the narrative she attached to her presentation. A recent trip to New Orleans left its mark on the designer. She imagined her models as white witches, or, in Creole culture, brides of Baron Samedi, the master of the dead. It was a gorgeous prism through which to view the glassy-eyed, tousle-haired girls on the catwalk.
In the showroom, Cornejo’s retailers would find the collection duplicated in prints and deep, dark colours. There would be shoes too. But the actual show offered the barest essentials, the purest declaration of intent, and maybe even a quiet revolution.