After last year’s presidential election, there was no doubt there would be collections making political statements, whether overt or obscure. Becca McCharen-Tran’s reaction to the results was one of anxiety, leading to thoughts of protection and survival in rough waters. Skilled as she is already at designing punchy, wide-ranging swimwear for women of all sizes, she had not tackled outerwear until now; rest assured, the larger-than-life inflatable jackets were well worth the wait as she managed to marry outwear and swimwear in a positively uplifting collection about buoyancy and staying afloat in the current climate.
It’s easy to speak first of the life jackets that outdoors company Klymit made especially for the show. McCharen-Tran cold-e-mailed the innovative Utah-based company about collaborating. It produces inflatable camping pads and an argon gas vest, but nothing as extreme or fashionable as it did today. The result was energetic high fashion with a purpose that didn’t seem outside the realm of McCharen-Tran’s sculptural library.
As expected, swimwear was great, featuring hardware, zippers and strappy embellishments. Elsewhere, military greens underscored activewear offerings. The tricked-out face jewelry came courtesy of Bijules.
It wouldn’t be a Chromat show without a diverse cast, which seemed more resonant than ever. “I feel that as scary as it is right now, we have each other and we’re doing this together, so that’s sort of the positive,” McCharen-Tran said backstage.