Christian Cota has been busy. In addition to exploring upstate hiking trails—part of what led him to this season's functional, technical mood—he also collaborated on a collection of shoes with Aldo and worked with Saga for his first serious foray into furs. But back to the hiking: Inspired by serious mountain climbers and their gear, as well as the dress of high-altitude natives—Tibetans, Andeans, Himalayans—Cota approached his clothes from the inside out, thinking about things like secret pockets, reversible fabrics, and detachable hoods. The influence of the Tibetans, et al., came through in a heretofore unseen interest in draping and the growth of Cota's knitwear category. For the most part, everything worked. The lambskin leather top that opened the show had a soft, textured look; if it wasn't what you'd pick out for a walk in the woods, it had an ease to it ideal for wearing day-to-night in the city. A felted wool pencil skirt with a swathe of fox running down the front was country-chic; conservatively cut and colored in a soft brownish gray, it read as a luxury item with legs.
Cota played with abstracted animal prints this season, mixing them together or blowing them up. A cable-knit jacquard sweater looked cool patterned as an oversize skin. The black pants it was paired with, which featured a reptile print that started from the back and worked its way fully down the calf, were less successful. In fact, most of the animal motifs could have been done away with; there was enough of something new going on without them. This was by no means a perfect collection, but for Cota it represents an essential step. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominee and FGI Rising Star Award winner has proven he can cut a beautiful dress and create a mean print. Now we know he can also take on fur, knits, draping, and outerwear.