Maria Cornejo’s clothes for Zero + Maria Cornejo were easy to figure out this season. And a pleasure to view. But her joyous narrative about the collection’s inspiration — the spirit of New Orleans — didn’t quite jibe with the final product. In fact, her decision to produce an all-white (with a few tan numbers) lineup for this week’s spring show seemed a screaming contradiction. Why? Because she had shown the originally colorful collection to buyers in June, and explained it was influenced by “the vibrant, hot-house flowers, sensual heat, Creole colors, Spanish influences, the music, the smells, the tastes” of NoLa.
So, while it was hard to reconcile the morph into all-white, Cornejo’s decision to strip everything of “the distractions of colors, patterns and shoes” — her models were barefoot — was an inspired one. It allowed one to see exactly what she wanted seen: simple and cleverly unconstructed shapes, minimal details and sensual proportions in sustainable fabrics she referred to as “bio raw material.”
Viscose with linen, acetate and jute, and a silk and viscose mix all had rich linen or canvaslike surfaces and moved in graceful silhouettes that were neither voluminous nor tight, but rather skimmed the body perfectly. She used them in cap- and long-sleeved jumpsuits; knee-length tunics over culottes or easy pants; and wrapped, strapless, empire or single-shouldered dresses. Cornejo added minimal yet charming details, such as a hint of hidden ruffles or untied side ribbons. She accomplished exactly what she intended with this great-looking, unfettered all-white approach — underscoring that old adage: “Less is more.”