Hailing from the stylistic hinterlands of Chicago, Shane Gabier and Chris Peters of Creatures of the Wind are fashion nerds and proud of it. They proceed without embarrassment to “geek out” over fabrics and their access to the fashion archive at the Art Institute of Chicago, where Gabier teaches. The eccentricity and enthusiasm they pour into their work radiates from the clothes. This collection was yet another stellar example of the rare mix of imagination and execution that has caught the attention of fashion’s very important people.
The entry point to the season was fabric; Gabier and Peters have been working with couture mills in Paris, one of which produced a metal holographic brocade for them. They also got their hands on an excess of snake-print polyamide lamé from the Seventies, which was used for the show opener and finale — a daytime and dramatic evening look, respectively. From there, construction was key. Peters said they wanted to explore “the strength of femininity without making any masculine concessions.” Sixties couture shapes were a big reference — translated as light structure and volume that was natural and not costume-y. Tops, relatively simple in silhouette, were lavishly constructed in subtle trapeze shapes with crafty touches, such as colorful patchworks. Cheerful hues — pink, kelly green, buttery yellow — looked undeniably charming yet chic. A standout day look featured a black cotton and plastic raffia vest over an organza and cotton circle skirt embroidered with chunky floral beading. Evening was daring and unusual with frothy corset tops worn over double-layered floor-length skirts in bold tones.
With this lineup, the eccentricity for which Gabier and Peters are known became more controlled, less precious and more wearable to a broader range of people, something the designers said had been on their minds. Yet in evolving their collection, they’re retaining every bit of its essential personality and wonderfully distinctive spirit. We’ll inevitably see no shortage of the mundane over the course of this collections season. Cast in that light, Gabier and Peter’s spring show burned all the brighter.