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NYFW SS23: Gabriela Hearst, Bach Mai, Markarian, and More

Eliza Jordan

15 September 2022

Wrapping up New York Fashion Week, we’re bringing you highlights from the Spring/Summer 2023 collections by Gabriela Hearst, Bach Mai, Markarian, ADEAM, and Peter Do.

Gabriela Hearst.

Photo by Greg Kessler, courtesy of Gabriela Hearst.

Gabriela Hearst hosted her eponymous label’s Spring/Summer 2023 presentation at the industrial Agger Fish Corp. building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Within the vast warehouse, a Bureau Betak-designed atmosphere welcomed guests from all over through an expansive opening, then gathering for a pre-show glass of champagne and a walk around the space. The lengthy sides of the gargantuan rectangular building were lined with two rows of chairs, greeting special attendees to a comfortable spot to view the show that unfolded shortly after. At first, as the backside of the warehouse slide open, a full choir dressed in white—the women and non-binary artist and activist-formed Resistance Revival Chorus—started to belt “This Joy,” a gospel song written by Pastor Shirley Caesar, created by Juan Campodónico, and produced by Danilo a Sueiro. (The activism-based choir is also currently raising funds for Act Blue, a New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF), and asks that anyone who can donate does so online.) To the unforgettable live performance, models charged forced with purpose in their steps. The brand’s casting was a true reflection of the world today, with models of all shapes, sizes, ages, skin tones, and impairments walking in the show. True to her focus, Hearst’s looks that followed looked—and certainly were—both craft and comfort, rich with history and art. The inspiration began in April when she created an abstract collage with gold and black; in early May when her daughter said she’d be Sappho for Halloween; in mid-May when Professor Emanuele Lugi lectured Hearst on Sappho; and in late May when she took a visit to Dia: Beacon to see the work of Imi Knoebel. The amalgamation of these touch points informed the collection’s emphasis on color—largely black, white, and gold—and materials. Seen on models, including Cecile Richards and a stunning amputee with gold replacement legs, were dresses, trousers, tops, and blazers that felt equally strong and sensible. Woven and crocheted sets in squiggled patterns were seen paired solid and sensible shoes and bags; dresses with mesh connectors held up seemingly separated tops and bottoms; and slim trousers paired with oversized blazers—and iconic Hearst look—reminded us that we can be serious, sophisticated, and sexy all at the same time.

Bach Mai.

Photo by Amber Gray, courtesy of Bach Mai.

Bach Mai showed his first on-model presentation at a nondescript building on 25th Street in Manhattan. Upon walking into the space, we were faced with opaque sheets of plastic draped from the ceiling, concealing bright white fluorescent lights and models spaced throughout various rooms. As we made our way through the divided space, women moved to a slowed-down remastered tune of Fleetwood Mac’s song “Dreams” with their lips, eyebrows, and eyelashes adorned in luminous colors. The collection—inspired by the designer’s immigrant father who wore blue coveralls on his way to work in Texas—communicated Mai’s early interest in fashion and couture, shaped by his family’s sacrifices to do so. Silhouettes drew from Yves Saint Laurent for Dior’s infamous trapeze shape, as well as those created by Cristobal Balenciaga; sheer materials were used to accentuate the body without tapering fabrics at the waist; and volume recalls both the relaxed fit of his father’s coveralls, as well as the grand nature of couture. At his presentation, Mai, with the tips of his hair dyed blue, shook our hand and thanked us very much for attending. “It means the world to me,” he said excitedly.

Peter Do.

Courtesy of Peter Do.

Peter Do showed his men’s and women’s collections in a fashion show created in partnership with SM Entertainment, Korea’s largest entertainment company. On some of SM’s biggest stars, we saw Do move into the world of menswear—a first for the brand, although men have been wearing Do for years—as well as K-pop sensationalism and expression through fashion with a concept devoted to time. Starting with personalized invitations that were presented as a memory box in the form of a cookie tin, guests were given disposable cameras to capture their favorite moments. The 60 looks that followed touched upon the brand’s past, which were reworked for the present and the future. Key silhouettes and wardrobe pieces were adapted for men, including ready-to-wear garments, shoes, and bags.  “This season, I was thinking about how we always seem to be running out of time in this industry,” Do said. “As a designer and brand, we are always living in the future and never in the present. This collection marks a period where, for the first time in a while, I feel present – where I’ve slowed down to savor those important moments in life.” Lightweight gowns, denim staples, hand-dyed jackets, pleated skirts, cashmere hoodies, and four-piece skirt sets were seen heightened by Do’s immaculate attention to tailoring.

Photo by Theo Wargo for Getty Images, courtesy of Adeam.

Adeam’s 10th anniversary collection was unveiled downtown at the Bowery Hotel in the form of a festive Japanese summer festival named matsuri. The fête’s ambiance was visually dotted with large, colorful paper lantern lights against the New York City skyline, embracing the looks that followed. Both traditional and contemporary, Adeam’s Spring/Summer 2023 line expressed the feeling of passion and excitement for the festival through floral prints that payed homage to the craftsmanship of Japan; pleating and textured materials; and a layered rendition on the historic kimono with a newly designed obi—a traditional Japanese belt—that is worn as a corset or as a harness skirt. Special attendees in the front row, including Carolyn Murphy and Princess Deena Ali Al-Juhani, enjoyed the looks that passed by while sipping on beverages provided by the female-founded Japanese matcha company, Matchaful.


Photo by Dan Lecca, courtesy of Markarian.

Markarian debuted its Spring/Summer 2023 collection at the Ukraine Institute of America on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with a regal presentation jam-packed with VIP attendees. Kicking off with a pre-show aperitivo hour with live piano music and overflowing Putnam and Putnam florals, the afternoon show was a treat for any and all that love designer Alexandra O’Neill’s special attention to feminine details. For the collection, inspiration was drawn from Italian Renaissance art, with themes and motifs derived from the work of Bernini and Botticelli. Reinterpreted for the modern woman with Markarian’s signature romanticism, we saw looks that merged the power of art, fashion, and the natural world with pieces embellished with vine-like embroideries, floral paillettes, sun-kissed yellow sequins, and various silhouettes. For the opening ensemble, a linen mini dress with a Watteau train and shimmering gold floral embroidery payed homage to Botticelli’s Primavera—a nod to renewal. What followed was a mix of majestic proportions and striking shapes dotted by hand-embroidered florals and draped fabrics, including a tangerine off-the-shoulder gown, a rose silk mini dress, and a calumnious pearl-embroidered black linen dress with a tight waist that honored Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It truly was Le Dolce Vita.



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