“I didn’t get a dress until this morning! It was still on a machine,” Claudia Li exclaimed while noting how stressful putting together her fall presentation had been. Thankfully the dress in question — made of burnt orange sequins with contrasting graphic black lines — made it and was a clear bright spot in the lineup.
The designer has felt the weight of a gloomy social landscape this past year and wanted to put out a message of hope, which she did charmingly. There were vibrant pops of hot pink and cactus green balanced with cheerful prints and an aesthetic attitude that was more confident and elevated.
While researching stories about silence, Li came across Turkish fairy-tale, “The Silent Princess,” in which a cursed prince, even on the brink of death, finds the will to carry on. It was a potent message of resilience. “I felt like there is hope. You need to keep going and be determined. It’s about endurance.”
Season to season, Li displays a more mature hand. Indeed, this range felt more rounded out and approachable, with different brand “isms” like structure and playfulness applied in more minimal ways. Her penchant for volume was seen as exaggerated collars on tailored coats and double pleated skirts that swayed open dramatically when the models walked. The understated nature inherent in a loosely cut white sequined dress or twin set made of a custom mohair jacquard mirrored the designer’s own trajectory. “The collections are growing with me, I see that now.” Though the tone of the clothes was soft, the message of hope and joy was loud and clear.