Claudia Li’s playfully innovative collection, full of quirky design elements and colorful floral patterns, was born out of nostalgia. The New York-based designer was missing New Zealand, her mother and, noticeably for resort, the bedroom view of her mother’s garden. She developed a few floral prints that helped temper the yearning, including a garden print, an abstract confetti print that reminded her of falling petals, and a metallic print meant to resemble morning dew.
She splashed these onto innovative silhouettes, a trait of the young designer’s customers have come to expect. The cheekiest design update goes to hip enhancers, found on fit-and-flare dresses, tailored suit jackets, nylon skirts and even pants. Think of them as shoulder pads for your waist — removable by choice, but surprisingly subtle with just the slightest hint of volume. “I have no hips,” Li said at a walk-through. “It gives it more of a maternal shape, a feminine shape.”
She experimented with adjustability by adorning crew-neck T-shirts with long sashes that wrap in front and tie in back, and with short dresses that could be tightened on just one side for a half-cinched, half-flowy effect. For those inclined to classic notions of refinement, nothing was more chic than a water-resistant khaki set featuring a tailored skirt suit and dramatic matching cape. Practical and sophisticated? Check.