Gabriela Hearst Spring Summer 2023 New York Runway. Story by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE.
Gabriela Hearst, creative designer of French brand Chloé, leading her own brand Gabriela Hearst. In 2015, Hearst launched this brand. The brand became known for its high-quality and fine use of garments. The collections are characterized by quality craftsmanship, high-end and innovative materials, such as the anti-radiation fabric that shields against the radiation emitted by mobile phones, or the ultra-fine 14.5 micron merino wool and the aloe-treated linen, a sustainable and utilitarian process that instantly softens the linen and gives the fabric the property to moisturize the skin. Also the production is very attentive to the environment and sustainability, including the use of wool coming from Hearst’s sheep farm in Uruguay, an end-to-end production cycle that helps minimizing the environmental impact.
In January 2019, LVMH Luxury Ventures, the fund launched by French luxury giant LVMH to support themost talented emerging brands, invested in Gabriela Hearst, allowing the brand to expand their presence around the world. Since the fund creation in 2017, this investment is the first in a creative label.
In January 2021 Hearst designed the dress worn by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for the 2021 presidential inauguration: an ivory dress representing the new administration’s message of unity that was embroidered with each of the 50 state’s flowers and that of D.C.
So for this Spring Summer season Gabriela Hearst presented a collection influenced by French and Italian brands. We can easily spot her inspirations: Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, Valentino. This collection is her artistic way to see the environment, and her reflection about big city and community.
“You may not know it, but the Ancient Greek poet Sappho shaped what you desire. She is the one who convinced you that it is better to contemplate the motion of light on a lover’s face than to care for power. She is the one who first recognized love as a bittersweet force. She is the one who understood that people who seek the good are those who turn out to be truly beautiful.
Sappho was a tastemaker. Her words changed the way people saw the world for she sung a different world, one that privileged self-knowledge, eros, and the inexhaustible ecstasy of nature, even the wonder of the unappreciated apple blushing on the end of a bough. She prioritized values that have become urgent today, and she did so without forgetting to explore humans’ maddening contradictions.
Sappho’s poems do not just remind us that our laborious search for enticing moments is not incompatible with the respect for the environment. They also shed light on the hardship women had to endure.
Of the nine books she composed, only one of her poems survives in full. The rest of her production exists only in fragments for misogyny is not a recent invention. But even those few—very few—verses are so incandescent to revitalize the most jaded reader. So it is unsurprising that they have ignited the imagination of those who sought to construct the world anew, from Gertrude Stein to Julie Mehretu, from Natalie Clifford Barney to Judith Chicago.”
Professor Emanuele Lugli teaches art history at Stanford University and writes about the history of painting, gender, politics, and science.
On April 5th, I made an abstract collage with gold and black. This image had been in my head for a few days and I knew I had to download it. I sent it to the team knowing that those would be the colors guiding the collection. On May 2nd, my daughter called me to let me know that she will be Sappho for Halloween. I immediately asked, “who is Sappho?”. Her quick answer, “you’re in for a treat Mom”.
On May 19th, we had Professor Emanuele Lugli do research and give us a lecture on Sappho. It was a treasure for the mind. On May 22nd, I went to Dia Beacon and saw the work of Imi Knoebel. It reminded me immediately of the collage. Not only the abstract shape but also the black and gold colors.
That showed me we were on track and we started following the signs.. I read “If not Winter, Fragments of Sappho” fascinated yet again by an artist and creator that invented and did so much for the Women’s cause, revered by the Greeks and Romans alike and whose works only exist as fragments. It makes me question if I would have heard of her if she had been born a man. But yet again the Hope and Joy lays in that Sappho is discovered again by another young female generation. That an artistic spirit such as hers, transcends time and appears when she is needed the most.
The “Tenth Muse” fueled the stream of consciousness that passes and passed through me. Images of garments started to appear, and I would draw or paint them on notebooks, my tools for each collection. The swirls that I doodle tirelessly and that have become a consistent pattern in our collections, are this time represented in the embroidery and multicolor crochet. I recently realized they represent the wind and air movement. Just look closely when a candle or an incense burn, these hypnotic patterns will be revealed.
My team is so loyal and I am so thankful for that trust, they go where I point.
On September 6th, a week before the show, I came to the realization of what just happened. I had an atypical rejection to the collection in a way. I had never felt before. Then when the trusted eyes of Camilla looked at it with affirmation, I realized then that I had just swam a little deeper this time. There is the vulnerability of feeling exposed but, yet again, there is nothing to hide.
The Resistance Revival Chorus (RRC) is a collective of women, and non- binary singers, who join together to breathe joy and song into the resistance, and to uplift and center women’s voices. Chorus members are touring musicians, film and television actors, Broadway performers, solo recording artists, gospel singers, political activists, educators, filmmakers, artists, and more, representing a multitude of identities, professions, creative backgrounds, and activist causes. The Resistance Revival Chorus centers women in music and addresses how historically marginalized women have been in the music industry.
“This Joy” (Commonly known as ‘This Joy I Have’) is a gospel song written by Pastor Shirley Caesar.
READY-TO-WEAR AND KNITWEAR TECHNIQUES
Contoured gold nappa on vachetta leather with raw distressed edges in dresses and knitwear combo. The leather is soaked in water and then draped over a form to create each individual piece.
Custom rose-gold metal bars framing double-breasted coats, blazers, and detailing dresses
Artisanal smocked leather on fitted bodices with dart structured sleeves
Artisanal swirl gold embroidery on textured linen. The swirl is also represented in the knitwear pieces, meticulously hand crocheted in cashmere inspired by Gabriela’s drawings.
Knit dresses with tiny pebble textured stitch, printed with a gold foil, using a water based glue that is eco certified
Ponchos handknitted in Uruguay, creating stripes with a chunky cashmere roving yarn and a fine merino yarn in between.
Gold is formed in quartz deposits deep in the earth. Gold nuggets are washed away through erosion from the “Mother Lode” and travel down rivers and streams. The movement of water tumbles the gold against the sand and rock. This is what give each nugget its own natural shape and texture. The larger the nugget, the rarer it is.
Custom rose gold circle buckles: cognac leather and black enamel details with moonstone, malachite, tigers’ eye, and lapis stones at the center.
Striker Sandal made of biodegradable EVA platform on a cuoio leather sole and multi –strap detail in premium Italian leather in a rich gold color
Raffia Thong Sandals with biodegradable EVA plateau outsole and rich cuoio insole. The raffia is woven by hand by traditional artisans in Morocco while the shoes are assembled in a traditional factory in France
Flatform Sandal and Mule with smooth leather straps on a lightweight flatform with a cork insole. Cork is a low impact material as you don’t kill the tree but shave the trunk instead
Cork Plateau Gladiator set on natural cork wedge heels
Fontaina Sneaker with a natural rubber outsole created from the milk of Hevea trees
Minimalistic Strappy Sandal with mini-cork wedge
Nina and Demi bags in gold foiled leather
Phoebe bag embellished this season with rose gold metal pieces
Diana with gold foiled leather accents
Treasure Chest bag with leather covered bottom half and two hinged doors secured by hidden magnets. The faceted sides are inlaid with leather panels attached using rose gold rivets
Structured leather bag with a rose gold clasp inlaid with leather and howlite stone
The carbon emissions from this show will be removed through Climeworks. Climeworks uses a technology called ‘direct air capture’ to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air. When removed air is combined with underground storage, it allows the permanent removal of excess and legacy CO2 emissions, which can no longer contribute to climate change.
Thank you to all my friends and the incredible people that participated in this show.
In loving memory of Joseph Karban (7/23/1954 – 9/08/2022)
Photo Courtesy: Gabriela Hearst