GABRIELA HEARST SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

Sacred geometry posits that God is the geometer of the world. In the immortal words of Ariana Grande, “God is a woman.” Hearst did a nice job channeling her work.

By Balthzar Malevolent

GABRIELA HEARST SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

New York’s strict COVID-19 regulations effectively killed Fashion Week here. Save for a small handful of IRL shows, designers produced videos, bumped their presentation dates back to mid-October, or sat the season out entirely. Gabriela Hearst decided to take her collection to Paris. In the five years since she launched her eponymous brand, Hearst has gone from an unknown to the CFDA’s Womenswear Designer of the Year. When she picked up the award last month, it was the first time a woman designer won the prize in five years. A Paris show is another notch in her belt: a signal of not just her success, but also of her ambition.

An editor on the ground in the École des Beaux-Arts courtyard venue, who had never seen a Hearst show in-person, summed up her impression: “juste.” The collection of 30 looks efficiently telegraphed Hearst’s point of view; it was just enough. Juste also means fair, and certainly, Hearst’s efforts around sustainability this season were impressive. She offset the show’s carbon footprint with a donation to Madre de Dios, a Peruvian NGO that protects the country’s Amazon rainforest and monitors its endangered species, creating jobs in the region in the process. And she continues to be a leader in the use of upcycled materials and deadstocks.

“It was really important to us to push ourselves creatively, to not let the pandemic stifle us,” Hearst said on a Zoom call. “It became the craft challenge.” The GH tailoring that has made its way onto the backs of influential women like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Meghan Markle, Jill Biden, and Oprah Winfrey, took a backseat. Instead, and in keeping with the themes of comfort and ease that have defined the season so far, Hearst trained her focus on knitwear: A long crocheted tank dress of many colors and its ivory sister were both striking, as were a pair of handknit cashmere ponchos with fringe that nearly reached the ankles in back.

The collection’s genesis was a shell bracelet from Easter Island, a gift from Hearst’s mother back in January. The designer recreated it as shell trimming along the edges of circular cutouts and on the straps of two repurposed silk dresses, making keepsakes to treasure of what were otherwise simple silhouettes. The shells led her to explorations of the golden spiral, which she reproduced in embroidered seaming details on a pair of slub linen trenches and on an aloe linen dress. Sacred geometry posits that God is the geometer of the world. In the immortal words of Ariana Grande, “God is a woman.” Hearst did a nice job channeling her work.

Gabriela Hearst Spring 2021 RTW.
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