Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin first laid eyes on Patricia Cronin’s heartbreaking installation, “Shrine for Girls,” at the Venice Biennale last year. (It just opened at New York’s Flag Art Foundation, just a few blocks from Tome’s studio.) The work, a meditation on trafficked women, features three fabric sculptures on top of shipping crates, with piles of clothes representing missing victims. “The emotional weight of clothing is something that Ryan and I always talk about,” said Lobo during a walk-through of the exhibit. “And to see an artist elevate that beyond what fashion can do is a really inspiring thing.”
Though it’s a heavy subject matter for a resort lineup, Lobo and Martin translated it in a way that worked seamlessly within Tome’s modern, feminine aesthetic. The tragedies Cronin highlights occurred in India, Nigeria and Ireland; Lobo and Martin paid homage to each with color, fabric and print references, resulting in richly textured looks grounded in oversize proportions. African-inspired geometric prints decorated a few tops and maxidresses, which were styled over colorful wide-leg trousers for a touch of tomboy chic. Cotton shirting also riffed on classic men’s styles, with one blouse featuring a ruffled neckline and bell sleeves made from a colorful, handwoven tweed — a fabric woven throughout several of the looks.
The duo run a charitable initiative that benefits Freedom for All, the nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking, so it’s no surprise that Cronin’s piece struck a nerve — and inspired their latest collection.