join the cult of batsheva
Designer Batsheva Hay’s presentation, ‘The Love Machine,’ paid tribute to Courtney Love and reclaiming the power.
Photography Mitchell Sams.
Batsheva Hay’s vintage-inspired frocks look like something out of Little House on The Prairie or Anne of Green Gables, with their frilly collars, long sleeves, and modest cuts — but since presenting her first collection last September, the designer’s grown a cult-like following among celebrities like Lucy Boynton, Lena Dunham, Natalie Portman, and Erykah Badu. And fashion went batshit for Batsheva: The New York Times referred to Hay as an “urban pioneer girl” and the New Yorker described her style as both “subversive and coveted.”
There was a lot riding on Batsheva’s Autumn/ Winter 19 presentation, and whether or not the prairie dress moment had any longevity. But the designer did not disappoint. Hay set up shop in a downtown space (382 West Broadway), where she and her seamstresses are sewing custom dresses until February 20, and the storefront was transformed into “The Love Machine” for the show. Ladies were working on their Singer sewing machines, which lined a spiral staircase at the center of the space, during the presentation and it was crowded with eager onlookers. Even Courtney Love was one of them. A live band played from the floor above, all clad in metallic Batsheva numbers.
The presentation was equal parts runway and theatrical performance. Each model stood at the top of a balcony overlooking the crowd, read one of Courtney Love’s Hole lyrics, which were scribbled on sheets of paper, out loud, before crumbling them up, and tossing them off the stairs as they descended. Christina Ricci opened the show, wearing a prairie dress in a Russian grape motif, and as the other Batsheva women followed, they lined up around the stairs. The designer introduced separates in the form of Holly Hobbie bloomers and a brown cord Peter Pan jacket and skirt. Dennis Lanni fantastically wove ribbons and flowers in the models hair, and dresses were worn with everything from Nikes to witchy tangerine boots.
The finale occurred when Esther McGregor emerged as Miss World, singing Courtney’s song of the same name, and all the models joined in at the chorus: “Now I've made my bed, I'll lie in it/ I've made my bed, I'll die in it.” The whole spectacle was about “refraining and reclaiming the power” and “coming together for the love of handmade things, beautiful fabrics and independent women.” Our only question is, where do we sign up?