February 09, 2006
Maria Cornejo has built a devoted downtown clientele at her 6-year-old Mott Street store. On Thursday morning, a small group of editors and buyers made the traffic-clogged trek from Bryant Park to see her fall collection. It was close quarters, but her clothes didn't disappoint. Curved-seam constructions have been showing up on other designers' runways of late, but Cornejo has been refining these sorts of shapes for seasons. Cocoon jackets looked fresh in claret and ivory tweed edged in silk velvet, and she updated tucked-hem dresses with a gauzy wool floral. Coats, always a strong point, came in alpaca and cinched under the bust Cossack-style. From there, they bubbled gracefully to the knee or flared out at the hips. To these signatures she added capes and leggings, two of the season's key silhouettes. Now all she needs is a larger venue closer to the tents that will give her collection the breathing room and the attention it deserves.