Maria Cornejo divined her pre-fall creative juice from the desert, specifically Joshua Tree in California, where she squeezed in a half-day “inspiration trip” around trunk shows in June. The blue sky, sand and rocks led to her palette and prints: a fluid utility jumpsuit done in a soft Japanese indigo fabric, a tan leather jacket cut like a cocoon-peacoat hybrid and a dress in a “stone rose” print that looked like flowers, but was actually based on a photograph of rocks.

So there were literal desert references that Cornejo translated into her language of silhouettes and shapes — abstract with a contrast of voluminous structure and collapsed drape — but it influenced the collection’s overall attitude, too. “It’s about cool people who live in places like that,” said Cornejo, who imagined sophisticated free spirits wearing an ivory-and-black-striped blanket-tweed poncho over a matching pencil skirt, a look that achieved Baja chic.


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