September 10, 2009 New York
Despite the seeming suddenness of his success, Graham has actually been in business for almost ten years, and the collection had a maturity and quiet confidence that can only come from experience. Graham has, obviously, found his voice by now, but he remains excited and challenged by his craft. This season he expanded his universe by adding a frisson of S-E-X to his rustic (by way of Disfarmer and Walker Evans) leanings. "I love anything Victorian—petticoats, corsets, that covered-up feeling," he said. "But I'm trying to be less literal and more relaxed about the details, so I can bring them to a new customer." Well, there should be plenty of those. And—with both Nancy Spungen and Lillian Gish on his inspiration board—they'll be a diverse lot, too.
A grunge-y distressed-flannel print and some "grandpa" suits with off-kilter waistlines and outsize proportions (described by Graham as having a Bukowski Barfly edge) added a tomboy counterpoint to the romantic embroidered and beaded pieces, some of which were inspired by old sheets and bedspreads. But nothing was too pretty. Graham's work always has a Miss Havisham quality to it—as evidenced here by shredded details, an eighteenth-century floral fabric "rubbed out" with bleach, and a bustier that looked like it had been torn off a decaying gown. Beautiful rot, indeed.