collina strada envisions a genderless future for fall/winter 16

Hillary Taymour presented her latest womenswear collection on a gender-nonspecific cast of models. But it feels like fashion catching up to her rather than the other way around.

by Hannah Ongley
15 February 2016, 2:15pm

Jonathan Hokklo

"I just feel like it's the right time," Hillary Taymour explained about the genderless approach she took to casting the collection she showed at The Standard's Highline Room on Saturday afternoon. "I've only been wearing menswear lately, and the collection is very menswear-forward, and now feels like the time to do it."

For any other designer, showing a womenswear collection on an army of models that included only one cis woman might have felt gimmicky. But for a designer who has always explored androgyny in both her work and her own wardrobe, it was more a case of fashion finally joining in on the hymn she's been singing for years. It just felt natural. So did the way a pair of black bootcut trousers hung perfectly awkwardly from narrow, masculine hips, still falling slightly above the ankle. Or how the straightforward long-sleeved maxi gowns -- one heavy and black, another in white wrinkled linen -- didn't look awkward at all, only awesomely dystopian. "I think that's the best thing about it," Taymour said about the new life the collection took on when worn by masculine and gender-nonconforming bodies. As if to emphasize this, some of the pieces had too many buttons and not enough holes, making it look as if they'd been done up in the dark. Again, totally natural.

The one cis woman in the show was model and Instababe Dayna Marie, who recently returned to the world of fashion after losing her hair to chemotherapy. She looked like a badass Brooklyn mechanic in an oversized leather button-up and matching boxy trousers. "What Dayna is wearing — that was the most menswear thing that I did. It actually only ended up working on a girl, which is funny. We were like, 'it's not working, it's not working,' then finally we cast one girl, and it was like, 'oh!'" Taymour's personal favorite looks were a fluffy cream bomber jacket paired with more of those low-slung bootcut trousers in the same neutral hue, and some minimal cream overalls with a raw-hemmed white T-shirt. Bar one pink T-shirt and a metallic silver shorts set, the collection was stripped back to neutrals. The model's tattoos and bleached dreadlocks made the overalls just enough rock 'n' roll.

And what about those CamelBak drinking tubes snaking out of shoulder bags and into mouths? "They're all eating, and they have silver liquid. It's all about eating silver liquid," the eco-friendly designer explained. "We're going to go back to eating mercury and poison. That's basically what we're doing to ourselves anyways." A little melancholy, sure. But it's hard to be pessimistic about the future when it looks this damn good. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Images Jonathan Hokklo

collina strada
hillary taymour
nyfw fall/winter