Kate Hundley appears to be getting into her groove.
After shelving her line in 2020 to take a “COVID[-19] break,” the New York-based designer resurfaced for resort 2022 with a splashier take on the Victorian-infused Americana she’s homed in on since her days working for Zac Posen and Ralph Lauren.
While that collection borrowed from Madonna’s blip of a Western glam phase in the early Aughts, the singer’s ability to reinvent herself stylistically saw Hundley plug back in for pre-fall. This time, her ‘80s new-wave sound hit the right note.
“For me, music is a mood ring for underlying feelings and conflict. Roe vs. Wade was overturned the day after my last presentation, so frankly I was feeling a little angry,” Hundley said.
Cue the fishnet, corsetry and leather.
The latter looked especially slick as an elongated moto jacket with laces. Elsewhere, it was cut into strips and pierced together using metal rings to form a car wash skirt and mini dress.
Inspired by Japanese armor she encountered at the Metropolitan Museum, Hundley said she used the technique to explore connection in times of crisis when people are “looking for support and control to create strength.” The designer who is trained in accessories carried the theme over into the construction of a patent leather top-handle bag, her first under her own name.
Softening things up were slips — one came with sequins, another in raspberry-colored jacquard, and the last in black viscose had grommets trailing the contours of the body.
Meanwhile, the collection’s woolen outerwear featured rounded midcentury lines save for a studded chore jacket. Worn over flared black trousers, it laid the groundwork for a more streamlined, cosmopolitan look Hundley should continue to lean into.
Strictly direct-to-consumer at the moment, she is making the collection available for pre-order via her website. And while other small designers might vie for the attention of retailers during fashion week, Hundley will not be on the calendar come February.
“The traditional months have just become so crowded… I don’t want to get lost in the rush of the current schedule,” she said, noting how the off-season allows her to better foster connections and gauge interest as she looks to expand to wholesale.