Gabriela Hearst has a knack for choosing eclectic and brainy female style icons, from the “genius nun” Hildegard de Bingen who inspired her fall collection, to trailblazing New York art dealer Hester Diamond, who was her spirit guide for spring 2022.
A lifelong collector, Diamond went from modern art to Old Masters to minerals. “I’m also a geode freak,” said Hearst, who has a crystal dealer. Diamond was also marvelously age-defiant, or “bolder as she got older,” Hearst said, noting she married for the third time at 86 and died last year at 91.
The ingredients of Hearst’s collections, however, remain remarkably similar — intimate, arty details; sustainable materials, and handcraft from the Americas.
For spring, she collaborated with her beloved Manos del Uruguay as well as Madres & Artesanas Tex in Bolivia and weavers from the Navajo nation, some of whom were at the show on Thursday.
“It’s been an amazing experience, I didn’t know you can’t cut a Navajo weaving because they are sacred. So we had to give them the dimensions so they could weave it for the dress and the trench.” The resulting deep bordeaux suede coat with herringbone stitch framing the artwork, will surely be collectible itself.
Which is kind of the way Hearst seems to be approaching her collections: Never stray too far from the recipe of recycled wool cashmere suiting, merino dresses (once again with encased amethysts and macrame bibs), and ultra-luxe knitwear.
There were a handful of surprises, such as the doodles by a close friend in need of art therapy during the pandemic that became the basis for groovy lotus prints and appliqués on knit tanks and pants. And napa leather racer back tank dresses were more effortless and easy-to-wear than some of her pin-tucked leather shirtdresses have been in the past.
Fringe covered totes, cork sandals and raffia platforms made in collaboration with Robert Clergerie were enticing additions to her covetable accessories range, too.
Fashion may change, but style stays the same, an adage Hearst seems to have taken to heart, just like those eclectic female trailblazers she seeks out. It’s working, she said. There may be for-lease signs all around her, but business at her Madison Avenue shop is up over 2019: “People just want to enjoy.”