Esteban Cortazar completed this collection early: specifically, back in July. In announcing that he would be expanding his namesake line beyond a successful collaboration with Net-a-Porter, Cortazar also revealed a new strategy in which he would present to retailers during the Resort market, then to press during the normal runway calendar, and then prepare his first delivery to select stores for mid-October. Today, moments before Hanne Gaby walked out in a multi-buckled evergreen suede jacket and little else, Cortazar was at ease. “It’s great to feel the business side is done,” he said, listing Barneys New York, Joyce, and Holt Renfrew among his stockists. “Now I get to show it to the world.”
As an odd twist, Cortazar already knew which pieces the buyers favored: a streamlined knee-length white dress in ottoman cady, and the leather miniskirts that put more emphasis on a gently jagged hemline than a glimpse of thigh. Buyers also gravitated toward his exploration of fringe, whereby elongated strips of technical organza, jersey, and chiffon were hand-affixed to jersey loops so that they floated to and fro like sea fronds. All good choices, and yet the exaggerated proportion of a white “poet” shirt or the undulations of two skirts rimmed in an interior horsehair structure were better gauges of Cortazar’s vision. The brilliant carmine lining bonded to his rigid leathers felt equestrian in origin (Cortazar has been riding horses since childhood); it will also feel nice against the body. The applause that swelled for the 30-year-old showed approval of his matured aesthetic. Surely, though, people were also acting off their gut instinct that the collection looks wearable. In a few weeks, when clothes go on sale, it’ll be known if that instinct was correct, which is part of what makes Esteban Cortazar 2.0 more than just a sophisticated and sensual progression of seasonless pieces.