Although Raquel Allegra’s fall collection is named “Topanga,” after the artsy canyon community where she lives, her designs were inspired by a recent road trip she took to Taos, New Mexico, to visit the Millicent Rogers Museum. It houses the Standard Oil heiress and fashion figure’s collection of Southwestern and Native American turquoise and silver jewelry and art. The theme of exploring unknown frontiers also came into play, with influences of the Gold Rush cowboys and the Chinese artifacts brought to America during the building of the Central Pacific Railroad.
Allegra is a master of layering colors and textures, using seasonless fabrics that can seem piled on top of one another while still appearing light and airy. She’s also terrific at combining masculine trenches and dusters with delicate dresses worn over fluid pants topped with a cozy sweater or sporty hoodie.
Her signature tie-dye, this time in New Mexico-inspired sunset pink and orange, appeared on a silk damask shirtdress or blazer, where it was paired with a reversible pin-striped suit lining. Navy and sun-faded red floral bandana print chiffon, cut into flowy dresses, was layered over striped fabric resembling mattress ticking or some rough-hewn fabric frontier settlers may have appropriated for clothing. To top everything off, she added hand-woven Peruvian wraps that evoked New Mexican blanket coats and California baja tops.
A light checkered gauze was employed for sportier pieces such as pull-on pants, boxy tops and hoodies, some featuring notched hems and softly frayed edges. Outerwear-weight gauze was fashioned into dusters and jackets perfect for California autumns. “The jersey and gauze pieces really speak to the summer deliveries, and the fall collection as a whole speaks to the buy-now customer, who can wear the pieces year-round,” she said.
Known for her deconstruction, Allegra worked cashmere sweaters in earth-colored color-blocked patches, and revived her early shredded knits, this time with hand-painted dyes.
On the flip side, she also explored a more sophisticated mood with matchstick print silk twill pantsuits and shirts that evoked an Americana vibe and ladylike silhouettes, such as a softly belted smoking jacket.