Review of Gabriela Hearst Spring 2021 Fashion Show
From a Shell to a Dream Realized
By Long Nguyen
“My mother gifted a shell bracelet from Rapa Nahui, her favorite place on earth, made by a local friend. She is good at giving gifts. The shells were the start of the collection. In early January we were unaware of what the future held. Then the wave came, and we all stayed home. My grandmother visited me in my dreams, and in it, I made a dress for her, by knotting cloth on her back. The feeling of reassurance,” Gabriela Hearst said about the great and concise collection, a collection of clothes made with the insight and with the special care that had nurtured her five year olds eponymous line, at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.
From that Easter Island shell that Hearst received in January, she collected more shells and embroidered them on a long lean strap white silk dress with circular cut outs on each of the sides above the hip bones that appeared towards the end of the calm and control show with clothes geared towards comfort like the white silk wool cady dress paired with a multi cashmere hand knit cape with long train back and a great black nappa leather short sleeve long dress with pleated chiffon insert and cord knot details.
Hearst’s tailoring skills shone through in a black double face crepe blazer paired with a fine cigarette pants or in a black linen slub trench coat with geometric embroidery stitch details – these shapes of these tailoring while sharp did not make the jacket pantsuit or the coat feel a bit formal in any way.
Other outfits revealed Hearst’s commitment to recycling as a commonplace practice rather than exception. Here a black long dress with colorful knit fringe trims at the bottom is made from re-purposed double pleated worsted cashmere with hand braided silk yarn tassel and a white long linen dress has repurpose herringbone trims and hand knit cashmere crochet in the back of the dress. These clothes felt homemade.
Hearst who normally showed during the New York Fashion Week decided to move to Paris this season as the uncertainties of even the possibility of having a show in New York at the time. To offset the potential carbon footprint for such a move, Hearst is collaborating with EcoAct and donating to the Madre de Dios Peru in a Verified Carbon Standard project to help preserve the tropical rainforest near Machu Pichu in the Vilcabamba-Ambroso conservation corridor due to the construction of the inter-oceanic highway connecting with the mountainous country with Brazil.
Of so much talk on sustainability and all of the stuff that seemed to be made for quick marketing purposes, here is a small and independent company taking real actions and pervasive actions throughout the brand from initial concept to final execution of the making of its products.
It is amazing to see what Hearst has achieved versus giant luxury brands who are sitting in conference rooms and zoom meetings launching new divisions that accomplish nothing more than talking rather than real changes.
It indicates that changes must start at the top and that changes have to be permeating to everyone in the organization.
The time for endless discussions for the big brands is coming to a crossroad as consumer sentiments are shifting towards these conservation goals. Younger discerning consumers today no longer purchase products from brands especially luxury brands just based on looks or styles – they made their buys based on whether these brands share their values, values that reflect these youths’ worries about the environment and the devastating
That Gabriela Hearst has been ingratiating all these sustainable practices and values into her clothes since the very beginning testifies to the designer’s understanding of the changing values in society and among her customers. Hearst is leading with her small independent fashion business, yes small at the moment but with very large impact.