Zero + Maria Cornejo
February 14, 2010 New York
Cornejo launched menswear last season and clearly had it on her mind today. Androgyny is a longtime Cornejo thing, but Fall took its cues more specifically from what the designer called "the darkness of Europe." The mood was perhaps more Island Nation than Continental. Her protective, cocoon-y silhouettes tailored in dark, nubby wools; her tweeds and a blown-up plaid; and even a chunky corduroy evoked the blustery British countryside or Scottish moors. Of course, you can't invoke menswear without showing pants, of which there were many to choose from. The tapered and slouch-hipped trouser, a brand staple, came with cool but subtle origami folds.
Softly architectural silk dresses—another cornerstone the Cornejo cult is built upon—were pieced together from solid black and prints charmingly based on her own iPhone photos. There were new frocks to love, too: for day, a sophisticated and structured crisscross shift in an inky navy lacquered wool with a raffia texture; for evening, take your pick of a sublimely simple blush silk column with exposed seams or a minimalist black silk number with panels of bright gold beading here and there. Moving from Norfolk to Natal, Cornejo turned things vaguely tribal ("It was like coming from England and going toward Africa," she said) with a vivid mustard-hued abstract animal print and terrific, flat, cutout leather bibs (rather like Zulu neckpieces) made by her stylist, Victoria Simes.
"Everybody does fashion right now, and nobody needs any more clothes," Cornejo said backstage. "You have to do things that are desirable and look lovely and authentic." Wise words. Mission accomplished.