NEW YORK, United States —
Maria Cornejo’s design signature has evolved quietly, gradually. No bells and whistles, just the undying devotion of loyalists who treasure the intelligence, the versatility and the timelessness of her clothes. But that isn’t to say that evolution doesn’t take a leap every now and then.
“The freedom to create something new again,” that was the way Cornejo saw her Spring collection. A clean canvas, she called it, and she extended the painterly analogy with shades of untreated canvas — white, gesso and clay — and a print of rough brushstrokes. But if there was a rawness, even an urgency, to that, Cornejo softened it with long, flowing, artist’s-muse silhouettes. And there was nothing arte povera about the fabrics, all created in-house. Lush cottons, crumpled paper-thin leathers, double-faced canvas (Cornejo certainly got a lot of figurative mileage out of that particular material this season) and a clever post-it-note fringed effect made a subtly deluxe impression that felt like the “something new” the designer was talking about.
The knitwear was similarly special, but with a twist — it was hand-loomed in Bolivia — that gave it a distinctive Cornejo edge. You can only imagine there must be moments when a designer with such a particular point of view must feel frustratingly pigeon-holed, but with this collection, Cornejo flipped frustration the bird. That always-mystifying Zero took on new meaning: Ground Zero, as in a fresh start.