Everything Gabriela Hearst does is thoughtful. This much was evident when she presented her fall 2019 collection, from the sumptuous spread of farm-fresh vegetables, dips, cheese, honeycomb and dates lining several tables for guests as they waited for the show to start. When guests took their seats, they did so on plush pillows created by Hearst using sustainable materials and techniques. All of these elements: the thoughtfulness, the consideration, and the emphasis on sustainability would manifest in her fall collection.
The starting point for the collection was the Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. After reading her autobiography, Hearst said “it became clear to me that referencing the phenomenal Maya was a direct path to manifesting the ideas of the Autumn/Winter collection.” Hearst envisioned a wardrobe for Maya on her way to and from dance rehearsal at the Bolshoi (floor-length cashmere military coats over scoop neck leotard-tops and midi-length pleated skirts) and re-imagined the ribbed knit leg-warmers and wrap-sweaters dancers wear to warm-up as flattering color-blocked or striped dresses and sweaters and chunky scarves (or sweaters worn as scarves!). It’s the craft, construction and materials that put Hearst’s collections at a notch above the rest. Even as they whisk by on the runway you can tell the leather is supple and butter soft and has somehow been submitted into pleats; that the knits are carefully woven using the highest quality yarn. (Hearst works with the Manos del Uruguay, the Uruguayan women’s collective that creates and dyes yarn to benefit the local community.)
If it wasn’t clear by now that Hearst thinks deeply about the community around her and her place in it, each guest left with a packet of information about Our Children’s Trust, a non profit that “elevates the voice of youth around the globe to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate system.” In particular, it’s supporting the 21 young people suing the government for climate recovery. Sustainability is a buzzy word that can ring hollow when it’s thrown around a lot in the fashion world. But that’s not the case here.