What is luxury? To Maria Cornejo, it's being able to be yourself. Cue the one-of-a-kind muses she chose for her men's and women's lines this season: her husband Mark Borthwick and Paper magazine editor Kim Hastreiter. Today's collection pushed the designer's own one-of-a-kind sensibility into fresher territory, while also revisiting the label's beloved past hits. Cornejo called the latter "a love note to Zero," apropos for Valentine's Day.
One new idea revolved around texture: Silk dresses in a clever blow-up print of fur fit snugly with genuinely tactile materials like pressed bouclé and a yarn-loop knit. (Another funny print was based on a smart friend's bookshelf that Cornejo said made her feel ignorant: "We're all feeling for culture, but we've all got ADHD.")
Cornejo rarely makes overt thematic references, but there was a sort of English countryside feel here, evident in all those rich grays and browns—see a shearling cape, an admiral's coat, and the woolly knits. It added warm familiarity to the designer's ultramodern codes.
The juxtaposition of hard and soft is a longtime area of interest, and here Cornejo applied that to dresses, giving her usual fluttery silks stiff wool skirts that hung loosely around the knees. The counterpoint was a sexy dress with a deep V-neck and crisscross back, an intended play for a younger customer—though the designer's impossibly cool take on the tuxedo with panels of jet beading was agelessly sultry.
There was also straight-up luxury on display, thanks in part to the fabrics: loads of vegetable-dyed leathers, llama wool, the aforementioned shearlings, gold-brushed tweeds. Best of all, Cornejo's materials are increasingly eco-friendly. Then again, you could argue that all great clothes reduce your carbon footprint. Explained Cornejo: "If you make things people want to wear every day, they're not going to throw them away."