"I like things that look like they don't have a sell-by date." As a modus operandi, that could be career suicide for a fashion designer. But for Maria Cornejo it's an approach that continues to pay off. Her independent label turns fifteen this year—an anniversary project is in the works for September—and she just landed a long-sought account: Bergdorf Goodman.
For Cornejo, no sell-by date means no collars, no buttons, and nothing else superfluous. The patterns do the talking here. The patterns, and the prints. For Resort, there's an abstract animal motif, a photo print of a light installation snapped at a Paris art exhibition, and a digital tree print overlaid with a geometric design that made a good metaphor for her current obsession—the intersection of the natural world and the high tech. For every piece in navy and white cotton tweed, there was another in a spongy technical mesh.
The collection travels from Deauville (an entirely unintended consequence, she said, of using so much navy and white) to North Africa. "I was thinking about Egypt, Morocco, places I would like to go, wishful thinking." But save for the bikinis and cutout maillots, these weren't destination clothes. Cornejo's sensibility is as urban as ever. Witness the white cotton cocoon coat that reverses to a navy rain slicker, and the dependably chic jumpsuits that you can dress up or down, depending on the height of your heels.
The piece that delivered the most newness was a silk twill ankle-grazing dress color-blocked in silvery gray and midnight. Ageless and timeless, just as she likes it.