“This is my first show. Can you tell?” said Batsheva Hay, wedged into a booth at the Square Diner, packed shoulder to shoulder with models wearing her signature puritanical prairie dresses and the guests ogling them. “I just couldn’t imagine so many people would come.”
Behold, the fairy dust of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, of which Hay is a current participant. She launched her collection two years ago based on one hyper-specific, love-it-or-hate-it silhouette, took up with CFDA/VFF and — poof — they turn out in droves to see it. The dresses are cut with high necklines and pouf-shoulder sleeves trimmed in ruffles, the bodies lean and long like a nightgown. For spring, Hay did them in ditzy florals, bright red-and-white tablecloth gingham, tiered pastel skirts and princess pink lamé.
It’s a dress line, not a proper collection, but there is something strangely compelling about Hay’s audacious treatment of a look that should have no place in modern society. “There’s always a tension in the clothing that’s almost over the top but almost urban,” she said. “That’s something that I try to make a joke of. It’s such a feminine dress, but it’s tough when you wear it with boots.”