Araks Yeramyan chose her inspiration well this season. About fifteen years ago, photographer Jim Naughten stumbled upon the Herero tribe of Namibia, whose members had adopted (and adapted) the dress of their late-nineteenth-century German colonizers, essentially as a poke-in-the-eye statement of defiance and pride. Not too long ago, Naughten went back to shoot the tribe members again, and this past March, exhibitions of those photographs went up in Brooklyn and London.
Cut to New York fashion week and the Araks presentation, which found Yeramyan absorbing the mixed-up fabrics and exaggerated volumes of Herero garb into her already eccentric aesthetic. There were some very pretty looks here: a silk zigzag-print skirt with an asymmetric flounce; a dress of blue jacquard with soft, angled ruffles; and a pleated white underskirt and shirtdress in gridded sheer navy that knotted in the front.
The trouble with Araks' apparel is that it's often unclear whom, aside from Araks Yeramyan, the pieces are being designed for, but there is a universality to these clothes; you could imagine lots of different kinds of women wearing them. This collection felt neither self-indulgent nor overdetermined in its quirks. Sometimes all it takes is the right inspiration.
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