Designer Chris Leba has something to say: “I live in this world now where the environment and our national parks and all that are really beautiful and precious,” he said backstage. “We should fight to keep these.” So his eclectic fall lineup addressed environmental conservation in nuanced ways, from John Lennon’s “Power to the People” playing on the soundtrack, to models clad in animal prints and images from the Utah land grab protest in December.
Leba is continuously modernizing classic American fashion with a subversive thread, using the runway as a platform to make a statement. He doesn’t typically inject overt political messaging, but it was encouraging to see it done in a direct yet positive way.
The theme allowed ample room for eclectic pattern play. There were animal prints — as in cheetah, but namely wildlife images — superimposed on street-leaning silhouettes like oversize hoodies, boxy tailored blazers and hooded anoraks. Lighthearted images of bears, eagles and owls were balanced against camouflage and prints of protesters fighting to preserve national monuments.
Outerwear proved effortlessly cool in oversize renderings. Standouts included down coats referencing sleeping bags, which could be worn as jackets if they get too warm, and brightly hued utilitarian jackets with more pockets than you’d have use for. Though bold, they invited rather than intimidated. “It just feels good when you look at it and that was the whole intent,” Leba concluded.