Inspired by Cubism, Christian Cota
decided to see what would happen if he turned his soft draping into hard lines. The outcome, for the most part, was a confident and polished collection from one of New York's most buzzed-about young designers. Invoking Cubist methodology, Cota pulled things apart and then put them together again. A short, strapless faille gown in an abstract zebra print was actually two dresses in one: He made the first in black mesh, the other in the print, cut them apart, and then combined them. The puzzlelike result had extremely clean lines and an appealing volume. Another dress had a basket weave of hand-painted blue and gold leather across the bodice and down the skirt. The handiwork was obvious, but instead of looking crafty it was graphic and slightly futuristic.
Cota developed three of this season's prints in his bathroom. A palette's worth of paint was splashed onto a sheet in his tub, and then digitally rendered. Ultimately, he ended up with the same design viewed from three different perspectives. The best called to mind the blurred headlights of cars moving fast on a city street. It looked hip on a short skirt paired with a sleeveless chiffon top in another of the print's iterations. Cota has tremendous breadth, and last season he was hampered by his attempt to do too much at once. His artistic vision is still a work in progress, but this collection had a cohesiveness the last one lacked.