February 13, 2013 New York
Threeasfour's shows tend to be more theatrical than most, and this season's Hole Gallery presentation was no different. Ophiuchus, played by a ginger-haired actress named India, modeled outfit number one, a gold offering plate positioned next to her. (The room smelled like the inside of a Russian Orthodox church.) Each subsequent model—Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and so on—blessed Ophiuchus in a ritual that was similar to a churchgoer kissing the cross. "We're spiritual, yes," said Gil at Threeasfour's Chinatown studio hours before the show. "But it's not about religion. It's about your inner soul."
If that all sounds a bit highfalutin, rest well knowing the designers are sincere. Beyond the fanfare, they want to create clothes people will actually wear. This season, they accomplished that with a small-is-beautiful collection of experimental (but not unapproachable) dresses, coats, and trousers. Circles, an ongoing theme for the label, were beautifully represented in curved seams on a burlap coat embroidered with tiny mirrors; a lavender dress adorned with seashells, another oft-used element; and a black jacquard and crocodile blazer, one of the collection's more commercial pieces. The real specialness was in the lining—every burlap piece opened to a metallic jacquard, "like a shell," said Donhauser.
While Threeasfour has no intention of taking these clothes to the masses, they do want those who invest in the special pieces to get plenty of use out of them. "Construction and fit are important us," said Gil. "Practicality is key." That pragmatism was evident in the team's "plegging" pant, a skinny trouser made of gray knit and corduroy, with curved seams elongating the leg. Threeasfour has designed one-offs for mass retailers including Gap in the past, and they'd like the opportunity to do more collaborations. Here's hoping it's written in the stars.