While the past year of pandemic has had many designers concerned with just getting through the day-to-day and figuring out how to dress customers who have nowhere to go, Gabriela Hearst has been focused on loftier things. Case in point: her Fall/Winter 2021 collection, which was inspired by the medieval saint Hildegard of Bingen.
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A writer, composer, philosopher, mystic, and Benedictine abbess, Hildegard was a regular Renaissance woman, except that she predated the Renaissance by about two centuries.
‘’I’m convinced’’,” Hearst said, ‘’that if she had been a man we’d know her name like we do Leonardo da Vinci’s’’. In fact, Saint Hildegard of Bingen was an extraordinary woman who believed in the green power of nature, she applied the renaissance principles of Art and Science centuries before this period started, and her Universal Man predates Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian by some 300 years.
‘’Green power’’ animates this collection. Hearst worked her core silhouettes – linear, elongated – to striking effect. Strict trench coats were softened with bow-like shoulder detailing; lace inserts gave knit dresses an elegant – and sensual – touch. All along, Hearst remained true to her sustainable ethos which she applied to every element of the collection and digital presentation, which featured models walking on wet grounds.
In keeping with recent seasons – and perhaps in a nod toward compassion as a divine force – Hearst worked with ‘’women-empowering’’ non-profit co-ops in Uruguay and Bolivia to create some of the pieces. She also invested in carbon offsets meant to neutralize the impact of the show, this season with a biogas project in Vietnam.
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