Raquel Allegra looked to Ghana, specifically the sankofa bird, for inspiration for her spring collection. Most often depicted with its head turned, looking back, the bird is a totem of remembrance and a gentle reminder to embrace the past. So Allegra mined her archives to come up with new interpretations of her early work. Cotton jersey, fragile gauze, seersucker, satins and silks were constructed into sensual silhouettes that both subtly flattered the form and, at times, highlighted the display of complex and vivid tie-dyes on which Allegra built her brand.
Allegra said she always starts with the tie-dyed fabrics — this time deep purple, red, peach and blue — to find her direction. Employing the intricate patterns on everything from cotton sweaters to silk caftans, she then layered in solid pieces to create artfully relaxed looks such as washed silk pants underneath a tie-dyed slip dress, gauze blouse, slouchy sweater and sensual trenchcoat. A checked cotton, inspired partly by African textiles and partly by the Vans worn by skater boys, was worked in red-and-black and blue-and-white suit separates and dresses that lent a more serious flair to other looks.
“I think layering isn’t intuitive for many people, so part of the reason for my presentations is education of sorts,” she said. “For me, it’s just playing with colors and textures. I wouldn’t know how to design a dress for a specific occasion.”
She also added new fabrications, including a piped-bird-patterned damask and a striped linen, to give the looks even more depth. She also added a tie-dyed beach towel that doubled as a wrap. It was perhaps a hint at a direction Allegra seems destined to go in: for her presentation at a friend’s Malibu house, she covered all the furniture in the same tie-dyed and checkered fabric as her clothes.