Batsheva Hay is no stranger to showing her collections in nontraditional formats, and fall 2023 was no different. For this season, Hay wanted to celebrate the joy of dressing with her presentation, which was held at downtown’s Bortolami Gallery.
As viewers entered the gallery space, they were greeted by racks of Hay’s fall 2023 collection of signature prairie dresses and old-fashioned prints that models were dressing themselves from. Once dressed, models walked around the space carrying signs they created themselves to express how they felt in the clothing. (“I feel like a kid again” and “Business Barbie” were among the descriptors). Models also inscribed their thoughts on a rack of plain white Batsheva dresses.
“I wanted to have a stress-free kind of [show] that felt fluid,” Hay said. “I also loved the idea of giving a voice to the people in the presentation who were wearing it, so the idea is that they should write down how they feel all over the place and it’s all a canvas. My dresses are a canvas for all of the reactions and it should feel like a whole experience.”
The look: A balance of modern and old-fashioned that worked for a multigenerational customer base.
Quote of note: “It’s very much the core of me,” Hay said about the collection and presentation format. “It all came from this idea of women sharing when they try things on, so oftentimes people will come into my studio, for example, these women from my synagogue were trying things on and they were laughing while trying on dresses together and I was like, there’s something about this type of clothing that just feels like my grandmother’s grandmother would have liked this stuff. It feels very me and I think that creates a sort of warmth that welcomes people and invites people to try.”
Key pieces: Hay designed much of the collection in prints and styles she’s used in previous collections, such as a spliced ballgown she explained is made from two previously designed ballgowns. The fall collection offers many of Hay’s go-to vintage-inspired floral prints in pieces such as an oversize blazer and a multipattern maxidress. The designer also gave a nod to Chanel with a retro, ’80s-inspired A-line dress featuring a pearl detailing.
The takeaway: Hay continues her knack of giving vintage fabrics a modern vibe with youthful silhouettes.