There’s a tribe-like quality to the crowd at a Maria Cornejo show. A lot of women turn up in clothes from recent seasons. (Today, Marisa Tomei and Jenna Lyons were among them.) They may be on the clock, but they’ve got camera phones in hand, ready to document the pieces they’d like to buy from the new lineup. Cornejo gave them a lot to contemplate for Spring with a fantastic, newsy collection. “I wanted things to be more pretty, more naive,” she said. “Fashion can be so super-vixen. And women have proven ourselves; we don’t have to look like men. It’s nice to be more feminine, more delicate. There’s a frill, would you believe?”
There was also baby pink. And a tile print lifted from the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London that read more innocent than edgy. This wasn’t exactly a role reversal; these clothes won’t alienate any of the designer’s loyalists. But her gals may find themselves hankering not after something black, the Cornejo crowd’s default color, but something white. An off-the-shoulder white top worn with trim black pants with one of those aforementioned frills suspended from the waist struck this reviewer as particularly new. Also a surprise: a white one-shoulder bias-cut dress with a deep sash of lace across the torso. The word that we wrote down about that one: sweet. Other thoughts: airy, billowy, light. An off-the-shoulder jumpsuit in indigo practically floated down the runway.
Backstage, Cornejo used the word nostalgia. London’s ICA was the site of her first show with her onetime designer partner John Richmond. Ironic that the act of looking back propelled her forward so much.