Fashion has had a historically fraught and uneasy relationship to Navajo culture, but Los Angeles-based designer Greg Chait handled it with utmost respect and care in his fall collection for The Elder Statesman.
He tapped Melissa Cody, a fourth-generation weaver and contemporary artist who grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Leupp, Arizona, to design a custom textile, which he brought to The Bowery Hotel for a preview of his latest lineup. Cody’s hand-woven rug featured traditional Native American motifs with a modern, subtly psychedelic twist. It was a vibrant and spectacularly crafted textile. Chait referenced it as a jumping-off point for fall, letting Cody’s work inform several of his luxe cashmere sweaters and blankets.
Chait rendered the design directly onto a dramatic, floor-length robe cardigan, a patchwork mishmash of colorful stripes, checks and geometric patterns. But other looks featured more subtle renderings, and not all of his looks showcased traditional Navajo motifs. One cropped cardigan, done in cream, was knit using a textural pile stitch with one of Chait’s most luxurious yarns.
“Imagine the inside of your comfiest pair of socks,” he said. (It was buttery soft to the touch.) Other sweaters featured graphic rainbow stripes, color-blocked squares and hand-painted checkerboard patterns. “There are a lot of pieces in this collection, and we’re not writing a book about each one,” Chait said. “There are many things that are just here because I love them.”
Indeed, sometimes a sweater is just a cool sweater. And there were plenty of those here.